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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/77

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71
ARE THE JEWS A "PURE RACE"?

constitute eighty per cent, of all the Jews in the world. Does this uniformity indicate unity of race? Not at all, according to Dr. Fishberg. The gentiles in these regions, who, we know, are of different races, also have remarkably uniform heads. It follows that the Jews acquired their uniformity of head-shape by fusion with their non-Jewish neighbors. That is to say: When Jewish heads are various in shape, it proves that the blood of various races flows in their veins, and when their heads do not vary much in shape, the same thing is proved. On one page Dr. Fishberg writes as if head-form were an unchangeable racial characteristic—on that page, since the heads of Jews in Europe, Africa, and Asia vary—the Jews are not a race. On another page, the Jews are not a race for the opposite reason, namely, because eighty per cent, of them have heads of the same shape—since it happens that the many gentile races living in the same part of the world also have similar heads!

Dr. Fishberg introduces his table showing how much alike are the heads of the Jews in eastern Europe with a remark from Professor Kipley's "Races of Europe." "The perfect monotony and uniformity of environment of the Russian people," says Ripley, "is most clearly expressed anthropologically in their head-form." If the environment is clearly expressed in the head-form of the gentiles, why is it not also expressed in the head-form of the Jews? The Jews have lived in that environment for the last ten centuries, at least. Would Dr. Fishberg suggest that Jewish heads alone are impervious to environmental influence? That environment has an effect upon head-form has been confirmed by the recently published measurements of Professor Boas on 30,000 immigrants and their descendants. These measurements show that, "The head-form undergoes far-reaching changes due to the transfer of the races of Europe to American soil. The east European Hebrew, who has a very round head, becomes more long-headed; the south Italian, who in Italy has an exceedingly long head, becomes more short-headed; so that both approach a uniform type in this country so far as roundness of the head is concerned. . . we are compelled to conclude that when these features of the body change, the whole bodily and mental make-up of the immigrants may change." Environment, it thus appears, may act directly upon Jewish heads as well as upon Russian or Italian.

Head-form has been regarded by anthropologists as the most stable of racial characteristics. If that, together with "the whole bodily and mental make-up of immigrants, may change," one need hardly be surprised to find that color of eye and hair too are modifiable by environment. Dr. Fishberg does not, however, allow such a possibility to disturb the serene course of his argument. You may mix colors by intermarriage of races, but nothing else can affect their everlasting fixedness.