As part of an April 2 neighborhood rally to protest the arrival of a new Whole Foods store in the former location of the Hi-Lo supermarket in the Hyde Park section of Jamaica in Boston, a street theater performance depicted the history of the location’s owners, Knapp Foods, and its decision to offer a 20-year lease to Whole Foods. The video, shown here, has sparked somewhat of a mini-controversy when posted to the Whose Foods? Facebook page (a anti-Whole Foods site), as some commentators hinted that the performance was tinged with anti-Semitism.
As the Facebook comments state:
A hooked-nose, demonic figure taking people’s money. Is this a racist skit from Borat? What the hell is wrong with you people? I’m contacting the Anti-Defamation League for your portrayal of this Jewish family. You people are nothing but petty racists. “The shop-keeper Jew” stereotype, taking bags of cash… vile. You people are truly vile.
Wow. Right down to the traditional klemzer music playing in the background? Honestly, this is sick.
They literally have Jewish accordion music!!! Everyone’s protecting their turf from ‘the others’ these people aren’t professing, they’re old-fashioned thugs.
Other commentators on Facebook responded to these comments with the following:
Thanks for objecting to stereotypes. However, this is not an instance of stereotyping. I have no idea how any of these tireless neighbors working for civic engagement would have reason to believe anything about the Knapp’s identity. Also, these folks are working hard to break down the barriers to diversity that JP has suffered for a long time (certainly since I moved here nearly a decade ago).
Again thanks for your concern about stereotypes. In fact, though, the accordion music was a purely spontaneous addition to the show, because an audience member had an accordion and offered to play it right before the show began.
…the only people acting like bigots and bullies in this forum and others are you. I’ve now had to read the 3-4 really awful stereotypes that you just wrote that I don’t see in this video. The way you are commenting in this space is completely bullying. You are using words like “racist”, “sick”, and “vile” all of which create an atmosphere of extreme emotion and circumvent dialogue. You are using threatening language and dangling legal action. These are all tactics that bullies use to silence their opposition. Both of you are using bullying language all over the internet on this issue, and it has to stop. If you say you want to be uniters and not dividers, if you say that you care about respectful dialogue, I respectfully request you all shape up or take your extremely mean and comments elsewhere. There are many forums besides this page.
I have a hooked nose(or roman nose as i like to call it). that character does not have one, you may need glasses, as the chin is most protruding. call jay leno. as a 1st generation american who has dealt with anti-semitic remarks thrown my way, i encourage you to call the ADL, whom ive dealt with,but please record the meeting and post it. i think we could all use a laugh.