So I've been reading about this macklemore fiasco today and I keep coming across comments such as "you're racist for thinking that is a Jewish costume" and similar. Is this clearly a stereotypical caricature or is there room for interpretation here? I ask because honestly I'm not well versed in what is or isn't a jewish stereotype.
Regardless of his claim that he just randomly picked a few unrelated elements and turned it into a costume, Macklemore dressed up as a long-standing and very well-known caricature of a Jewish man.
To be clear, I know a lot of Jewish men and Macklemore’s not dressed the way Jewish men look; he’s dressed the way anti-Semites portray Jews:
My guess is that somewhere between 99% and 100% of Jews would immediately recognize this costume, as would between 99% and 100% of anti-Semites.
Now, it’s possible that he’s clueless about this. But it’s hard to believe that he’s surrounded by an untold number of clueless people.
And presuming he’s totally clueless, after people made him aware of it, all he needed to do is tweet, “I’m so sorry for my costume. I wasn’t thinking and I made a terrible mistake. I wish I’d caught myself and changed my outfit, but I didn’t and that’s my fault.” Instead, he tweets that it’s not what we think it is.
A final point that’s important, regarding the original question about racism and caricatures. Elle Deau correctly notes “that one is NOT racist for being able to identify racism. Recogniz[ing] & identifying racist imagery/words does not make you racist. But suggesting [that] it does is a common tactic used by racists [to] defer their own responsibility.”