Alleged Felon A 'Fagin'?

Download Audio

It's probably happened to you. You're stopped at a traffic light and a teenager in a brightly-colored T-shirt approaches the car window, asking for a donation to some worthy-sounding cause. Maybe to help kids with HIV, or cancer, or money for the Boys & Girls Club.

Boston police say they've busted a racket in which teenagers solicited donations for precisely those causes and then pocketed the proceeds. They've also arrested the adult alleged ring-leader: Forty-six-year-old Rodrick Pendleton, of Dorchester.

Media outlets are referring to Pendleton as a "modern-day Fagin." What's that mean? Fagin is a character from Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" who, like Pendleton, organizes kids in a life of crime. He's also Jewish, and, in Dickens' original version, an embodiment of 19th-century England's negative Jewish stereotypes. So, in 2010, is it OK to call anyone a "Fagin?"


More from Radio Boston

Listen Live