Cross-cultural understanding

For my devil course, we read Trachtenberg’s The Devil and the Jews, which traces the origins of modern anti-Semitism to medieval associations between Jews and demonic forces. Among the many crazy accusations medieval Christians levelled at Jews was that they kidnap Christian children and drink their blood.

Reflecting on this situation, I wondered how things might’ve turned out differently if there had been well-meaning, level-headed liberals back then. They could’ve sat everyone down and said, “Look, I know some people are always going to be uncomfortable with the fact that Jews are stealing Christian babies and drinking their blood. Understandably so! But we can’t let our gut-level reaction keep us from recognizing and respecting the fact that this practice is an important part of Jewish culture.”

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5 Responses to “Cross-cultural understanding”

  1. Adam Kotsko Says:

    A specifically American version: “I hate that you kidnap babies, but I’ll fight for the death for your right to do it.”

  2. Brad Johnson Says:

    Reminds me of that god-awful Awl post from Thursday about tolerance.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    (Just so everyone’s clear — for me the center of this joke is that the liberal doesn’t understand that Jews don’t really kidnap babies, much less drink their blood.)

  4. Toadmonster Says:

    Well, you’re still a racist (because you’re white).

  5. Earnest O'Nest Says:

    “I hate he’s a racist but I’ll fight to the death for his right to be one.”, damned, people actually say that – specifically the non-liberal ones.


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