Critique [of Asians, Jews, and the Legacy of Midas by Alan Spector]

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12, Vol: 12, Issue: 0, Page: 29-30

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Gold, Steve
Critique; Jewish studies; Race and Ethnicity
article description
In reading Alan Spector's paper, I was reminded of British sociologist Christie Davies' cross-national analysis of ethnic jokes. In it, she argues that majority members of a society stereotype others in order to reduce their own anxiety about social position. Davies found that such jokes tend to fall into either one of two catagories [categories]. The first and most common type of ethnic joke addresses those groups who live below one's own station in life.[1] By referring to them, one can elevate his/her own status and hence feel a bit more secure. A second type of joke ridicules groups who appear to be especially successful. By showing overachieving groups in a negative light, the average member of society can feel a bit better about his/her own lack of achievement. The "superachievers" are depicted as so inhuman, immoral, work-driven or tight-fisted that their acccomplishments[accomplishments] are pointless. Spector's paper draws important parallels between the experience of Asians and Jews, two groups most often depicted as "negative successes" in popular stereotypes.