Culture, Identity, Peoplehood

Return of the Jew Moneylender 2011

Meet Les Gold. Mr. Gold is the patriarch of American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit. His family business is the subject of Hardcore Pawn, a new reality television show on the TruTV channel. The show is a window onto the type of Jew we’ve come to associate with the Rhineland in the 17th century more than the American Midwest in 2011. The family that runs the shop is Jewish, not only in the plain meaning of the word, but also in the symbolic, nasty sense of the idea – The Golds are sometimes benevolent, sometimes nasty moneylenders serving a predominantly impoverished, black clientele in the middle of Detroit.
With over two million viewers, Hardcore Pawn is often compared to Pawn Stars, a History Channel reality TV show that, like a blue-collar Antiques Roadshow, presents a gang of Vegas hacks appraising antique soda machines and the Civil War currency. Yet, in reality, Hardcore Pawn isn’t really interested in appraising anything but the fraught relationship that one Jewish family has to the black ghetto in America in our own times. It’s ethnic and racial antagonism presented in documentary style, where the Jews try to pay as little as they can for gold and electronics from a population mired in stress and aggression, with a little bit of tenderness if the need arises.
The show demonstrates a few scenarios. An angry black woman arrives to pay off her interest, only to find out that after waiting 45 minutes in line, she doesn’t have enough money to retrieve her child’s video game console. In another, a poor, elderly black man brings in a ring so he can pay his rent, only to be told that his last valuable possession is worth about ten dollars to Les Gold’s son, Seth. In another, an aryan-looking white woman brings in what she says is Eva Braun’s swastika-bedazzled bracelet. Les Gold says he’ll buy it if its authentic, stating that he’ll use it to teach his grandkids what the Gold family endured during the Holocaust. (Nevermind the bracelet is a fake.)
What an embarrassment.

36 thoughts on “Return of the Jew Moneylender 2011

  1. I am appalled. I could say more, but I’m afraid of what I might say. Which should tell you something as I’m not normally shy about this sort of thing.

  2. There are still black people in America? Didn’t americans exchange them for mexicans already? Or was that only on an emotional level?

  3. This show is drecht compared to Pawn Stars. These characters are garbage and treat their customer as such, that is why they are on trueTV. I would compare them to guests on the Jerry Springer show. At least the folks on Pawn stars treat their clientele with some respect.

  4. The Hardcore Pawn show is a bad idea, and truly does reinforce old negative stereotypes about Jews. And the fact that most of their customers are poor Black people, who often act out because they feel they’re being ripped off by the Jewish pawnshop owners, just makes the show more controversial and even worse for the imagery of Jews in general. I wish someone would step in and put a stop to this show already!

  5. Look, these people return the attitude that they receive. I’ve never seen them disrespect anyone who hadn’t done the same to them already. Mr. Gold worked his way to where he is now. The fact that it is predominantly the black population who use the store is based on location and the economic state of the area. It really doesn’t matter what ethnicity the owners of a successful pawn shop are, everybody makes money at something that know how to do.

  6. Seth and Ashley are a bit cocky but what kid is not when his parents a well off. I think they will grow out of it. Les is a good man and is willing to help people when they are genuinely need help. Stereotype? Just because a son is doing what his father did and what his father before did and his father before…. You gotta remember that commerce and tirade where the only profession of suitable income that was allowed to Jews in Europe for centuries. So stereotype – yes. But whatever. I agree with DeeDee. People work hard to prosper and no one is forcing any one to be a customer of this place – you don’t like it you go elsewhere.

  7. This is ABSOLUTELY shocking how these “pawn brokers” or money lenders pray on these poor mostly black people from low socioeconomic areas. There is no mistaking the fact there are a few good jews around (few being the operative word) but these sneaky filthy greasy jews working in this shop make my stomach turn, the father with his beady eyes, long nose, hunched shoulders, and magnifier around his neck for the ever needing repugnant necessity to have to constantly be looking at gold and jems is the prime example of your A typical jew.
    But besides the fact that they are what they are, soulless creatures with an insatiable appetite for money (and it doesn’t matter how they get it ! blood money/drug money/stolen goods money/ human organ money..Yes they do this too, ect ect ect) it’s these poor communities that are suffering, in one episode you see all these people mostly African Americans lining up… AT a bear minimum of an hour On the first day of the month (when they have receive their social security payment) to collect their microwave (they need for cooking), or to pay a loan they had to get because they are forever in a deadly cycle of debt, which leads them back to the store approximately half way through the next month.
    illuminati teach the Family a lesson. SAGe

  8. Wow. After watching the way these Jewish slime bags rip off everyone I actually had a dream about them, this is the impact it had on me. I had a dream I was in Detroit and was with some people, they looked like dudes that would fit the Aryan Brotherhood kind of image, anyway we some how managed to capture the owner on his way home (remember it was only a dream) and took him somewhere where he was treated bad to say the least, after that somehow we arrived at the store where we got him to open it up and once inside we went to the safe and took every piece of gold and all the cash, while we were bagging all the loot the owner les was sobbing and mumbling out loud, it occurred to me he was rehearsing what it was he was going to say to the insurance company, he was kind of delirious because of the way he had been roughed up, and completely exaggerated out loud and while crying the amount of money that had been taken, one of the skin heads in the dream corrected him and he (les) starts foaming at the mouth yelling NO NO NO over and over, after this they made him call someone and have them come to the shop next second (once again remember it was only a dream) I hear gun fire and les the owner somehow gets rope and throws it over a part of the roof and hangs himself. weird I know, this is when I woke and was thinking what the F%#K it was just so strange, I have never had a dream so vivid that even comes close to this, for that matter I hardly ever dream at all, wonder what it means if anything at all, maybe I need to be nicer to these Jewish money lenders because they will ultimately go to hell and while here on earth it’s not my job to feel hate for how they wrong the community.

  9. Oh MY GOSH!
    Ok, I am already breaking the rules by posting (because I am white, people, white as SNOW, IRISH SNOW TO BE PRECISE) but I could NOT help myself here: I HAD NO IDEA THESE PEOPLE WERE JEWISH! And I say, SO WHAT? It just proves to ME, yet AGAIN, that I couldn’t tell you the difference between an Aryan and A Jewish person… SO, while this “character” earlier enjoyed his little “dream” I wonder: HOW DOES ONE LOOK LIKE AN ARYAN? Because I sure had NO clue about the Gold’s race nor do I think it matters. I don’t believe it endorses ANY type of stereotype! Ok, so they are successful Jewish pawn brokers and yes, they deal with a predominately black community. It’s EIGHT MILE! Tell me that none of you so-called Aryan worshipers haven’t seen Eminem’s Eight Mile and I will laugh you right out of a room! It’s the area, its the economy, and its LIFE! You KNOW when you are going to the PAWN SHOP you may be LUCKY to get one fourth of what your merchandise actually COST YOU (and/or you are usually DESPERATE)BUT IT IS BECAUSE THEY WANT YOU TO COME BACK AND GET IT! Just because an item may possibly sell FOR MORE doesn’t mean that it will. And then there are extra expenses that we never see. Plus the cost of his 45 plus employees that he has in addition to his son and daughter. And I want to know why it is suppose to be a predominately Jewish trait for a family to hand down what belongs to them to the next generation. I grow up in coal company and many fathers and sons have mined together. I know about poverty and being RIPPED off but you know WHAT? I don’t try to sell anything I truly VALUE at them either. It’s business, plain and simple, and I HOPE people watch this show because I believe it shows people how insane working and dealing with the public can be. I have seen a few deals that didn’t set well with me BUT HELLO! If you have a really incredible RARE item or something of WORTH, it’s called the INTERNET, people. Take the TIME and work out a way to get ALL YOU CAN. But, if you are down and out and you REALLY need that loan, you will be shaking Mr. Gold’s hand and beaming a SMILE when you leave. IT IS, simply, BUSINESS. I didn’t see the episode where he didn’t purchase the bracelet but I read that his wife’s family was at one time, reportedly, in Auschwitz so I can’t really see them trying to be insensitive to that issue. I know that such an item in itself would be DEPLORABLE, I wouldn’t want to touch it OR anything but we MUST have these reminders so IT IS NEVER FORGOTTEN. Perhaps, as a white person, I don’t understand the entirety of that statement and that is true. I really have NO idea what it is like to be Jewish on any type of level. But I do KNOW what it is like to be discriminated against as both an Irish and a female person I can at least empathize if I really have no clue. I say, cut the Gold’s some slack! It’s not as if they don’t WORK for a living. They do EARN their money, one way or the other, and if it wasn’t them, it would be someone else. Plain and Simple. Thank you! For your time!

  10. if these people feel mistreated why is there a line out the door all the time,and you here them say “I’ve been doing business here for 20 yrs.” ?? YOU go in to any store of your choice and start cussing and being a complete ASS and see how your treated.WISE UP CRETIN.

  11. Wow, such naive posters, I could smell these jews even through the TV set. I came to this webpage to confirm what I could already smell. Of the 3 the female is a typical jew, the other two could pass as italian for a short time, but eventually will trigger the jewdar.

  12. I’m from Detroit and I’m Jewish. I’m about the same age as Les Gold, not saying I know him from my youth, but he does look familiar.
    I remember quite a few pawn shops in Detroit and Pontiac, just about all of them were in the inner city (except 1 I remember 8& Wyoming on the Royal Oak Twns side), yes mostly owned by Jewish businessmen, but NOT ALL OF THEM. I do know people in the pawn business and I believe they all operate pretty much the same way.
    We are watching a TV reality show, if it weren’t for drama it probably would’t last long for the viewing audience. We do not see the entire day’s operation but segments with the heaviest drama.
    Jewish people probably support not only their own charities, but charities of all kinds as much if not more than any other ethnic group.

  13. Its a show. But above that its a business. They can run their multi-million dollar bussiness anyway they choose. People bring it complete shit sometimes, and if they bought it out of pity, they’d be out of bussiness in no time. Get over it.

  14. This is a refreshing show. A true dose of reality! I wonder if it’s a little over dramatized for the viewers/ratings. Preying on people’s ignorance or desperation is not a crime (it may be immoral to some). With all the information available on the internet, and who hasn’t heard of Ebay? Last time I looked you can access the internet at most libraries for free. I have never been to the 8 Mile area, but is it that bad they don’t have Libraries? Remember the Bill Gates initiative to get everybody internet access? I can’t believe I saw one episode were Les was doubting the power of the internet. If I could get the job of selling all that crap on line at his disposal I would be freaking RICH$$

  15. All these negative comments just seem like ignorance mixed with jealousy. Everyone is greedy for money. EVERYONE and if you aren’t. Get lost you hippie asshole.

  16. Is Seth gay. No, he is married. So was Rock Hudson. I mean before Gomer.

  17. I grew up in the Detroit Area, people really do act like this. I don’t blame The Gold Family for how they react.

  18. I was shocked when I read yesterday that pawn stars family patriarch was jewish. I watched all of those episodes with full entertainment value thinking that this was your typical family establishment. After reading they’re of the jewish heritage, it took me only 5 or so minutes to see that the real motivation behind Mr. Gold’s (your real name please???), show is to wreak a buck off each and every customer to better velvet your own pockets!!!

  19. I wish I could explain that I’m a typical white woman not suspecting anything much besides what I see in front of my face. Instead, I must confess, I have been influenced by the social effects influenced by those within my social circle. The above is a brief example of what I gained from objective viewing.

  20. I’m a christian and I enjoy this show. Do I feel that the Gold family in this show is acting sterotypical? Yes, as a matter of fact I do. I have a number of Jewish friends, and I’m more a sterotypical Jew (again: I’m Greek & I’m Greek Orthadox) than my friends. I’m the one who is cheap and some times underhanded, while my friends can be quiet friendly and lend money freely not expect payment.
    I personally believe that because this is a television show, that the Gold Family reacts the way they do for ratings. But I’m also aware than Les Gold is a buisness man and trying to do what is best for his business. So him being a little cheap is understandable, God knows how many non-jewish business owners I’ve met try to lowball me. I enjoy this show at face value, and don’t take it serious enough to find it sterotypical or degrogatory to the proud Jewish people. That’s my two cents.

  21. I think The Gold’s deal with people reasonably well and get nasty only when the customer goes haywire. Sometimes they suffer abuse. But they definitely do low ball the customer. everything can’t be worth $10 haha some stuff has got to be worth more. Having majored in business I completely understand them needing to make a profit. But I think they could raise the prices for items so they can buy items at higher prices from people.

  22. This is just how people act. These are American stereotypes.
    Sadly, I grew up in a ghetto. A lot of people really act this way. High-pitched accent, low temper, the clothing, use of heavy slang to a point where you can’t understand it, etc. Not surprised. This is Detroit, not Baldwin Hills.

  23. No they don’t Stu, they just claim they do. I’ll give Jews one thing though, they are great storytellers.

  24. Has it ever occurred to any of the viewers that because the show has become so popular that many of the people that watch this show at home, want to be on television and they go into the store knowing the more ridiculous they act the more likely they will be put on TV.

  25. Once again the anti semites rear their ugly heads. Jews equate to money. How freakin ignorant. Im from Toronto and drove through Detroit today, It is one of the most depressing places I have ever seen. Any business that is successful around there is lucky. Get a life and an education you low life anti semites.

  26. The Golds are disgusting remnants of Shakespeare’s stereotype. They ought to be ashamed of themselves. Even when the Golds demonstrate some redeeming qualities, they are still disgusting.
    I am ashamed to share their name.

  27. Once again, we have an attack on a successful business person who just happens to be Jewish. My mother’s side of the family is German and Jewish. I live in Metro Detroit and invest and operate many rental properties in the City of Detroit. Like Les Gold, I try to provide a service–housing–for lower income people in Detroit. I have done numerous evictions over the years, and have been called a racist. These name callers shout up after I remind them that I am Jewish and Hitler murdered 6 million plus Jews. When will all Jews be able to live in peace? Why are they always under attack by others?

  28. Oh the jew bashers once again. There are pawnshops all over America but this successful one happens to be run by a jew. So what. He has something like over 40 employees, some of them black. When are you low lives going to smarten up and stop blaming everything on jews, You are probably the unemployed ones that like to sit in front of your computer and jew bash rather than looking for a job. Some of you are really disgusting

  29. Imagine you went to Best Buy and wanted to purchase an item (or better yet, you were on but than you realized that you didn’t have enough money for the item; however, you have a few good stories that may be pervasive to the right individual. So you figure, Ill go to best buy, at least there I’ll meet a person and maybe they’ll listen. Yet again, amazon is generally cheaper.
    What are your thoughts about this person’s though process?
    The pawn shop is a business like any other in the world. The only difference is, the customers (you) are the shop keeper.
    This is a business. No one is making anyone sell or buy anything.
    Your twisted story about how they are “taking advantage of black people” is a lie and simply proves the validity of your website. You have a false sense of compassion by lying to your readers.
    Try going to the apple store with a sob story – they’ll through you ass out in a second. Apple!!! How dare they take advantage of poor black and hispanic people by not giving them the iPhone 5 at a discounted rate?
    It’s all in the packaging.
    The author of this article is a self destructive jew. Instead of being proud that a Jewish family is running a business, employing tens of people in a city that is financially suffering and gives lots of charity (except the kind you want to see – free stuff at the door) all you see if your false sense of compassion.
    Business comes down to one thing – honesty. As long as all details are on the table (he’s not buying a real necklace, and telling them its really fake so he’ll give them $20) it’s all good.
    I’m sure you don’t give free stuff in your business, and if you do, I am certain you have limits.

  30. Thank you so much for articulating so well what I’ve been telling people about this show. I remember as a child, watching the News when Son of Sam was apprehended. My mother was terrified that the serial killer was a Jew, due to the fuel on the fire that might give anti-semites. In other words, my mother felt that every Jew bore some responsibility to groom our collective public image.
    Unfortunately, Les Gold and his poorly bred progeny could bring another holocaust upon The Children of Israel all by themselves!
    Their predation upon the poor Schvartzes of Detroit is a mockery of not only those unfortunate ghetto dwellers, but a deeply negative portrayal of the Jew Moneychanger. It’s nice that the Gold family reaps financial reward from this exploitation, but at what cost? These philistines fuel the fire on modern day antisemitism. Irresponsible, irreprehensible, ill-advised ilk…

  31. So typical Jewish, you anti-semites say. So what do you say about the doctor in Chicago this year who lost his own life rescuing two children, not his own, from drowning in Lake Michigan? He was Jewish. I could tell you a bunch of stories and you would tell me that they were all “exceptions” so it’s not worth it. The deal is that when a person goes to a pawn shop they are trying to get a little more than the item is really worth and the negotiater is trying to pay what he think is reasonable, taking into account how long this piece is going to have to sit on the shelf, how likely it will be redeemed or will be sold – there’s a lot of that goes into it, including, realisticly, how likely it is for the shop to be broken into aand robbed, with the attendant amount of people hurt or killed and destruction of property, as in the dream wish of the writer above. My husband’s cousins are teachers, designers of dog shelters, etc. My family have also a number of helpers and private charitable givers. Those who understand, nod. Those who hate, will never understand.

  32. I love the show and I would love to work for Les. He knows his stuff and I like his style. As for the show reinforcing “Jewish stereotypes” let me tell you that the last experience I had in a pawn shop was with a rude redneck goyim employee. Ever been to any large city and observed how blacks act? As William Burroughs once said, “They don’t know when to stop asserting themselves.”

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