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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Police Officials and Procedures > Anderson, Sir Robert

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  #11  
Old 05-28-2011, 07:34 AM
ChrisGeorge ChrisGeorge is offline
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Hi Errata

I think Sir Robert Anderson was a product of his time, with the type of attitudes of the day, but also speaking as he was as someone who had held an exalted position in Scotland Yard. I would suggest that the generalization that he makes about poor Polish Jews is similar to the statements that Littlechild makes about sexual deviants: in effect saying, "this is the way they are, I know." There's a kind of certainty there that you also see in Macnaghten's writing: declarations spoken by a man who has held a high position in the police.

All the best

Chris
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  #12  
Old 05-28-2011, 08:07 AM
Steven Russell Steven Russell is offline
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The questions I was trying to ask in post #1 are: Did Anderson already have his mind made up that the Ripper was a Polish Jew before he had even heard of his suspect (the man identified by Swanson as "Kosminski") and did this cause him to give whatever evidence existed more weight than it deserved because it agreed with a theory he had already formed? That's what I meant by "confirmation bias".

Best wishes,
Steve.

PS Chris, I've only just read your posts on the Seaside Home thread and hope you didn't think I was nicking your ideas.

Last edited by Steven Russell : 05-28-2011 at 08:22 AM.
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  #13  
Old 05-28-2011, 08:23 AM
jason_c jason_c is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Errata View Post
I have no doubt he genuinely believed it. Why on earth would he lie about such a thing?

The question is, if he believed something that is false, then why did he believe it to be true?

Now it could be that he experienced a radical skewing of the statistics on these things, and one does hear about that happening. A friend of mine has somehow always lived next door to French people, which there arent a lot of around here. Now of course he realizes not all neighbors are French, but he experiences a statistical anomaly. So it's possible.

Anderson clearly makes some statements about Jews that are less culturally sensitive than one would like, but that could easily be a function of the times he lived in. He also makes statements using stereotypes and broad generalizations, or accepts the stereotypes and generalizations told to him as true. Now as a somewhat professional gatherer of information, I would not question a report of these assumptions. The question arises because he shares them.

As for his attitude towards poor people, well, I admit I have not read his entire works. I have read The Lighter Side of My Official Life. He lacks compassion for poor men and women. I don't specifically recall any mentions of his impressions of poor children. I would like to think he could manage compassion for impoverished children. He certainly would not be the only man of his class or profession who could not. He is derisive, sanctimonious and intolerant in his own stated views on poor people.

That's why I think he doesn't like poor people. And you know what? That doesn't make him a bad person. It doesn't even make him wrong in his conclusions. It makes his conclusions suspect. It makes his reasoning faulty. A person can build an equation of untrue things and still come to the right answer. More likely a wrong one, but still...

Am I generalizing? Aren't we all? None of us knew the guy. I look at what he wrote. I come to conclusions based on the verity of his own words. I assume prejudice. I could assume ignorance, or complicity, or a desire to inflame. I see no evidence of any of that. He is a Victorian man, and as much as it may pain you, that comes with a certain amount of arrogance and intolerance. But I see it as flaw, not a mortal sin. I don't think the man was an idiot. And I don't think he was some caricature of racist evil. I think he had prejudices that led him to some unfortunate conclusions.

Apologies about my previous post. It came across rather more ill mannered than I had meant.

I agree with both you and Chris George. Anderson was a man of his times. He would appear intolerant to us today. This intolerance doesnt make him wrong.

And I believe stereotypes often have some basis in fact. An example of this stereotyping is Macnaghten's claim of "a large colony of Italians who are mostly ice-cream vendors by day, &, not infrequently, stabbers & shootists by night."

Is this an unfounded stereotype? Or is it a legitimate claim about an Italian community by a police official employed to tackle crime?

Last edited by jason_c : 05-28-2011 at 08:25 AM.
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  #14  
Old 05-28-2011, 11:32 AM
The Good Michael The Good Michael is offline
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Irish immigrants in America were reluctant to turn in other Irish immigrants to authorities in the 19th century. So were Italians. Why not low-class Eastern Europeans?

I think anyone who thinks that any immigrants wouldn't protect each other is not living in the real world. It happens each and every day. It happens in the UK. It happens in the USA with Mexicans and Mexican -Americans. It happens and has always happened, and murder is no barrier to that protection.

Mike
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  #15  
Old 05-28-2011, 01:57 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Good Michael View Post
Irish immigrants in America were reluctant to turn in other Irish immigrants to authorities in the 19th century. So were Italians. Why not low-class Eastern Europeans?

I think anyone who thinks that any immigrants wouldn't protect each other is not living in the real world. It happens each and every day. It happens in the UK. It happens in the USA with Mexicans and Mexican -Americans. It happens and has always happened, and murder is no barrier to that protection.
Yes, and this doesn't just apply to immigrants. Protecting members of your family must be one of the most basic of human instincts.

But surely the problem with Anderson is that he was saying this characteristic was unique to Polish Jews - to the extent that the police were able to deduce that the killer must be a Polish Jew, starting only from the supposition that he had been shielded by his family.
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  #16  
Old 05-28-2011, 02:08 PM
ChrisGeorge ChrisGeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Russell View Post
The questions I was trying to ask in post #1 are: Did Anderson already have his mind made up that the Ripper was a Polish Jew before he had even heard of his suspect (the man identified by Swanson as "Kosminski") and did this cause him to give whatever evidence existed more weight than it deserved because it agreed with a theory he had already formed? That's what I meant by "confirmation bias".

Best wishes,
Steve.

PS Chris, I've only just read your posts on the Seaside Home thread and hope you didn't think I was nicking your ideas.
Hi Steve

I have a feeling that for Anderson, as for the modern-day profilers, Kosminski ticked the right boxes. Yes his stereotyping of Jewish behavior might have factored into it, but I think he had an expectancy that it would be a Jew like Kosminski or someone much like him. The fact that Kosminski was a lunatic and of a low class similar to the "degraded" women the killer was murdering, fit an expectancy often expressed by the police and others, that the killer must be a madman and himself of the lower classes.

All the best

Chris
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  #17  
Old 05-28-2011, 02:24 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
The fact that Kosminski was a lunatic and of a low class similar to the "degraded" women the killer was murdering, fit an expectancy often expressed by the police and others, that the killer must be a madman and himself of the lower classes.
Aaron Kozminski's family were respectable - and in one case quite prosperous - working people. I really can't see that they were of a similar class to the Ripper's victims. Or if they were, you'd have to say that nearly everyone who lived in the East End was.
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  #18  
Old 05-28-2011, 02:33 PM
ChrisGeorge ChrisGeorge is offline
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Aaron Kozminski's family were respectable - and in one case quite prosperous - working people. I really can't see that they were of a similar class to the Ripper's victims. Or if they were, you'd have to say that nearly everyone who lived in the East End was.
You make a good point, Chris. Thanks. Yes the Kozminskis did own businesses, and the family were not as degraded as the women who were the victims, so you are absolutely correct. Possibly though from the lofty position of Anderson there was a similarity, or else as you indicate perhaps the fact that they were all from the low class East End lent them an association, undeserved or not. We still come back to Anderson's characterization of Kozminski as a "low class Polish Jew" don't we?

Chris
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  #19  
Old 05-28-2011, 02:34 PM
jason_c jason_c is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris View Post
Yes, and this doesn't just apply to immigrants. Protecting members of your family must be one of the most basic of human instincts.

But surely the problem with Anderson is that he was saying this characteristic was unique to Polish Jews - to the extent that the police were able to deduce that the killer must be a Polish Jew, starting only from the supposition that he had been shielded by his family.
Or more pronounced in Polish Jews. Anderson wouldnt have vast knowledge of differing immigrant populations. Irish and Jewish being the vast majority of incomers to the city.

And to come second to the Irish would be no mean feet when considering its Anderson judging them.
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  #20  
Old 05-28-2011, 02:39 PM
jason_c jason_c is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
You make a good point, Chris. Thanks. Yes the Kozminskis did own businesses, and the family were not as degraded as the women who were the victims, so you are absolutely correct. Possibly though from the lofty position of Anderson there was a similarity, or else as you indicate perhaps the fact that they were all from the low class East End lent them an association, undeserved or not. We still come back to Anderson's characterization of Kozminski as a "low class Polish Jew" don't we?

Chris
They perhaps arrived as low class. With hard work and skill they were becoming more respectable each passing year. Its the story of thousands of immigrant families.
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