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Hybrid HateJews, Blacks, and the Question of Race$
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Tudor Parfitt

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190083335

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190083335.001.0001

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Polygenists, Black Jews, and the Proofs for the Disunity of Man

Polygenists, Black Jews, and the Proofs for the Disunity of Man

Chapter:
(p.99) 6 Polygenists, Black Jews, and the Proofs for the Disunity of Man
Source:
Hybrid Hate
Author(s):

Tudor Parfitt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190083335.003.0006

Charles White set the scene for the insertion of Jews, blacks, and black Jews into the great origin debate from a polygenist perspective. The polygenist “American School” of race theorists tried to destroy the monogenist argument based on the existence of a color change among Jews by arguing that all black Jews were racially not Jews at all. The immutability of race became a key feature of polygenist thinking. One of the proofs for immutability was perceived in the images found in ancient Egyptian and Assyrian art. Nott’s Types of Mankind analyzed not only black but also Jewish racial specificity. The Jews had a mark on them, and blacks were marked by the “mark of Cain”—their color. The heresy of the black Jew was attacked time and again by the polygenists. Agassiz agreed that Jews and blacks were marked out and distinguished from other races. In France Joseph Arthur, “Comte” de Gobineau combatted the idea that black Jews proved the impact of climate on racial groups, and the single origin of humankind. Gradually the polygenist argument started to suggest that purity of race among Jews could be shown by the fact that all Jews were of a dark, dusky coloring. Beddoe developed an index of nigrescence, on which the Jews scored 100 percent. Russell, co-creator with Darwin of the concept of natural selection, took issue with the concept of multicolored Jews and so, more ambiguously, did Richard Burton. Burton thought that the Jews were racially unique, like blacks.

Keywords:   Charles White, Josiah Nott, Josiah Clark Nott, Samuel George Morton, John Campbell, Comte de Gobineau, John Beddoe, Henry Hotze, Jean Louis Agassiz, Charles Hamilton Smith

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