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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/79

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73
ARE THE JEWS A "PURE RACE"?

the intermingling proceeds by chance, that there are neither artificial accelerations nor restrictions. Admit, however, that the mingling does not go on by chance, that there is a much more powerful tendency for kind to mate with kind than for intermarriage, and admit, further, that all the children of mixed marriages are drained off into one of the groups, leaving after the second or third generation none in the other, and you have a totally different result. Your smaller group, from which the offspring of intermarriage are drained off into the larger, will remain pure for ages, and a more interesting problem than of the purity of the smaller group arises, viz., the extent to which its constant losses have leavened the larger group.

It has been suggested by Professor Ripley that the Jewish type, if not due to racial continuity, may be due to choice, or, in other words, to sexual selection. Others have pointed out that in the principle of sexual selection we have an explanation for the resemblance between the Jews and the gentiles in every country where they live together. The gentile type being the dominant one, it becomes a distinction and a social advantage for a Jew to be of the gentile type. The gentile type of manhood and of beauty, commonly bolder, freer and happier than the Jewish, excites the admiration and envy of the victims of oppression. Hence, the gentile features are prized, selected and preserved. Dr. Fishberg agrees with Professor Ripley as to the effectiveness of sexual selection, but he denies that the gentile type would be the one selected. He contends that the Ghetto Jew abhors the gentile type. On this point we have only his own unsupported opinion. When it suits his purpose, Dr. Fishberg sees nothing but the Ghetto. He seems to forget the very considerable periods of comparative freedom the Jews have enjoyed in Europe. And what becomes of his thesis at this point? How could the intermarriages that he is so sure have taken place if there had always existed an abhorrence for the gentile type?

Dr. Fishberg finds nothing racially distinctive in any of the commonly alleged vital, social or moral characteristics of the Jews. Their great "tenacity of life" has often been spoken of. Statistics from the United States Census confirm the opinion as to their lower mortality. In the census for 1900 it is shown that their death rate is astonishingly below that of other people living under the same conditions. In three of the most crowded wards of New York city the mortality of the Jews was 17 per thousand; whereas the mortality of the Germans living under the same conditions was 22, of the Irish 36, and of the native Americans 45. Dr. Fishberg remarks upon this phenomenon that what we have here is not a racial characteristic. The low death rate of the Jews is not due to "tenacity of life"; in fact, adult Jews die as soon as other adults. The figures of the census merely indicate the fact of a low infant mortality, and this is due not to any racial peculiarity but to the