In this essay Melnick plots a "hidden" history of Black-Jewish relations organized around the alternating currents of homerotic attraction and homophobic repulsion. Focusing on Chester Himes's underappreciated novel Lonely Crusade, this essay invites readers to move beyond the more traditional alliance-building narratives of Black-Jewish relations that have dominated critical studies.
Micheaux, Oscar, 1884-1951, dir. Murder in Harlem [film]
Frank, Leo, 1884-1915 -- Trials, litigation, etc.
Phagan, Mary, d. 1913.
African Americans -- Relations with Jews.
This article examines how pioneer African American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, in his 1935 film Murder in Harlem, radically altered the traditional understanding of the 1913 murder of Mary Phagan and the ensuant trial, conviction, and lynching of Leo Frank. By rejecting the accepted—racist—preconceptions of the case, and by using the genre of the detective story to retell, and reexamine, this material, Micheaux made a unique and vital contribution to how issues of racism as well as antisemitism affected not only the Leo Frank trial but the literature surrounding it as well.
Music -- United States -- Latin American influences.
Jews -- Music -- History and criticism.
Latin Americans -- Music -- History and criticism.
"Bagels, Bongos, and Yiddishe Mambos" focuses on Jewish-Latin recordings of the 40s–60s. Arguing that standard models of understanding Jews and race are inadequate in thinking about the mid-century Jewish-Latin interchange, this essay suggests that Jews were drawn to Latin music neither to demonstrate their whiteness, nor to pretend to be Latin, but rather to find new ways of being Jewish.
Asian Americans -- United States -- Public opinion.
Stereotype (Psychology) -- United States.
Public opinion -- United States.
Jewish- and Asian-Americans have recently found themselves classed as "model minorities," examples of upward mobility allegedly achieved through thrift, family cohesion, and educational achievement. This ascription has a long history, one dating back at least to nineteenth century America, when Asians—especially Chinese—and Jews were viewed in strikingly similar terms. Defined as outsiders to the black/white binary that governed American race ideology, Jews and Asians were also constructed as money-mad traders and outsiders to assertive norms of Anglo-Saxon masculinity. These negative stereotypes gradually turned, in the last years of the twentieth century, into positive ones: first Jews and then Asians came to model economic self-sufficiency and braininess as means to social success (albeit also as de-masculinized neurotics). But for many Asian-American intellectuals, these comparisons proved—and prove—irritating, and a number of contemporary South- and East Asian-American writer writers like Bharathi Mukherjee and Gish Jen have engaged with the tropes and narrative structures of Jewish-American fiction in order to contest these identifications. No writer has done so more successfully than Lan Samantha Chang, and the essay concludes with a reading of her novella Hunger as a critique of the narratives of aspiration and achievement that fuel the model minority mythos for both Jews and Asians living in the U.S.
If the imaginary Indian, from the moment of the nation's founding, served as a flexible figure through which to work out questions of "American" identity, Indianness came to serve in the early twentieth century as a category through which Americans could also define what it meant to be modern. American modernism had nativist and nationalist inflections; American moderns demonstrated their commitment to a national artistic culture through their "Indianness," which was cast as fundamentally opposed to Jewishness. This discussion seeks to address Jewish American literary response to this nativist modernism through a discussion of Nathanael West, whose ambivalent relationship with both Jewishness and aesthetic modernism continues to preoccupy and vex his critics. This essay reads West's preoccupations with Indians, Jews, and the marketplace through the unfixable Jewishness dramatized in his 1934 novel A Cool Million, whose modernist parody of racial and ethnic typologies succeeds in thoroughly undermining them.