Racism/discrimination of Jews in United States 22 March 2013 Although with a common region of origin, Jews represent a group of people with collective religious beliefs as opposed to a distinct race or ethnicity…
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As a result, there was mass migration as they sought settlement to countries that they could live, achieve and participate as equal citizens. America offered such opportunities welcoming all immigrants owing to its developing industrial capabilities. There was a surge of Jewish immigrants from in mid-nineteenth century following a new era of violence and anti-Jewish sentiments in most regions of Europe. The interactions between Americans and immigrants was characterised by inclusion and assimilation where the immigrants adopted a new culture in order to fit into the new country (Klinger n.d).This was guaranteed by the American legal system, which acknowledged that all men were created equal and as such, they deserved equal opportunities in America. This is as opposed to the European version that described Jews by appearance, cultural, social and religious positions. Moreover, legal impositions in Europe by the majority Christian population were vastly strict against the Jews. However, the tranquillity that existed ceased in its roots as a court case legally established that the separation and discrimination were synonymous. This established ground for open discrimination against fellow Americans based on the colour of their skin as opposed to what they can do. In other words, the court assertion made discrimination legal thus legalising bigotry. This marks the beginning of racism and discrimination against Jew living in America (Foner, 2012). Arthur Miller’s novel is set in New York as the Second World War ends to be a direct confrontation to American anti-Semitism. The book focuses on Lawrence Newman, an American of English descent, and the personnel manager in large company who quits his job citing mistreatment. This owes to his resemblance to Jews after acquiring glasses, a sentiment shared by his mother. He shares prejudices of his neighbours who seem determined to confront a Jewish candy storeowner until he is on the receiving end of similar prejudices. Miller highlights discriminatory acts against Jews living in America in his time, which involves hiring procedures, residential places, political participation among others. Jews were denied employment opportunities in most establishments and applicants had to under vigorously screening to edge out Jewish candidates. The tactics used in denying such opportunities include exclusion, tokenism and quota system especially private industries with executive and management levels (Glock, 1979).As such, the Jews had difficulty in obtaining or maintaining positions in places of employment. This is echoed in Focus as Miller, describes how Newman has difficulty in landing a new job following his resemblance to Jews. Ironically, when he gets one, he is employed in a Jewish establishment that seems to embrace all. Similarly, the public generated negative sentiments towards the presence of Jewish residents within their neighbourhood. As such, extreme groups such as the Christian Front sought to engage violently their Jewish neighbours in a bid to scare them off the neighbourhood. The negative attitude towards Jews left no room for tolerance, which saw residents attached for their religious beliefs. This is no different in Miller’s book when alliances are forged against Jews ‘elements’ in the Focus neighbourhood. Jews were also not admitted in social clubs such as country clubs among other public places on a regular basis. This can be attributed to the social status of the members who were accorded respect depending on the company
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