Re: Does DNA prove that Jews are a race? #dna


Eva Lawrence
 

Like some other people in the discussion group, when asked about my ethnicity on the census, I put 'other' and inserted 'Jewish', because that option wasn't given automatically. In an effort not to hurt any tender feelings, the British govermment is afraid to use the word 'race' at all or to admit that Jews are a race,  like other equally problematic categories which they list,  although we mostly feel that we are.  Most of us if we're honest, have a slightly different attitude to our own ethnic group than to any other.

I think of it as belonging to a family, which is an indefinable feeling, but a primitive animal instinct. Richard Dawkins' memorable title 'The selfish gene' says it all. This family instinct is the result of centuries of Jews marrying only other Jews from a similar background,  which differentiated them from their neighbours and still does. 
Though globalisation and assimilation  our ethnicity was disappearing, but I can see that this 'keeping slightly apart'  is coming back, both for Jews and for other minorities, in England, at least.  Each group is accusing other people of discrimination against them, and the acts of  protest unite them  in confirming their identity as 'other'  and separates them from what they see as the indigenous population. 'Identity' seems to be the word that is at issue today. 
I am of the controversial opinion  that centuries of marrying your own kind can be seen to affect many  characteristics of the group, mental and physical. The configuration of the brain isn't as easily studied as the length of ones legs or ones nose, but clearly is also inherited in the same way. It is no accident that there are musical families and dynasties of actors.   Not that either mental or physical traits  are  the same fot al individuals in a  group, but the mathematical centre of distribution is further to the left or to the right when one plots a population graph for any one trait, mental or physical in different  family groups - call them a race or an ehnicity or what you will.  Whether the left or the right side of the average of the graph is 'better' depends on one's point of view.   Sometimes it is simply a matter of fashion (shape of nose, type of hair) at other times of the 'acceptable' or 'unacceptable' use to which that particular trait is being put ( artistic, verbal, intuitive or mathematical talent). 

The smaller the intermarrying population the more marked the effect.  This may not be true in the future,  since it has been a declining trend but it is still in evidence  today.  We all turn into our mothers, but our granddaughters are unlikely (in the statistical sense) to be as similar to their grandmothers as was the case  before the industrial revolution replaced shank's pony with the railway,  unless, of course the epidemic shuts down easy travel permanently.


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Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.

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