Workshop context:

Student: not everyone who lived in Ghettos was poor. Jews [in Venice] were money lenders so they were rich.

This was from an obviously middle-class privileged white guy. I didn't go into the history of money-lending, that Jews were money-lenders because they were banned from any trade and basically most other ways of making a living. But it is interesting how it has stuck.(Shakespeare has a lot to answer for...) Partly because, as I gathered during the rest of the workshop, the stereotype of the rich Jew is still alive and well. I didn't tell anyone until the very end that I am Jewish so they felt free to voice whatever they believed on some level.

The workshop didn't just expose Jewish stereotypes - they were all there - all the myths - among this group of educated white middle-class people. Some of the people even seemed to believe that thinking about 'race' and ethnicity was a 'Politically Correct' thing to do. If pressed, they knew what the 'right' thing to say is, but only as some kind of self-censorship. I don't think any of them had actually considered why racism, in itself, might be problematic for themselves or for society. I think they had only really considered racism as a bad thing to seem: 'people like us' are not racist.

NB: Like all my entries, this is subjective, from my point of view. Others may record these events differently.

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