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RACE, A Historical Perspective

From pseudo-scientific dogma to social construct.

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The ancient belief that a person’s character or personality can be determined from their outer appearance was ascribed to Aristotle, and the observation of skin color to categorize humans had nothing to do with inferiority or superiority. (Photo: Supplied)

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When I am called from an emergency room to see a new patient, after presenting the nature of the injury, the consulting physician will describe the patient to me. The patient’s age, ethnicity, preferred language, level of education, co-morbid factors, and other identifying genetic and/or environmental qualities that will assist me in providing the best possible care and optimize the patient-physician relationship.  

The patient’s perceived and arbitrarily assigned “Race” has no relevance. As Maimonides said, “In the sufferer let me see only the human being.”

The term “Race” has served only one group well, racists.

Today, race is defined as a non-scientific socially constructed archaic system of classification. “Race differences are relative, not absolute.”

(Rieger, R.; Michaelis, A.; Green, M. M. (1968). A glossary of genetics and cytogenetics: Classical and molecular. New York: Springer-Verlag. ISBN 9780387076683).

Non-Jews have and continue to view our identity in all kinds of different ways based on the fictitious classification that Jews are a race. In the 1930’s, Europeans viewed us as a race of Palestinians. Three decades later, the Palestinians viewed us as a race of Europeans. Today’s Ivy League lunatics and pseudo sophisticated solons see us as an un-aligned occupying race whose right to our ancestral homeland is verboten.

What all these Antisemites have in common is ignoring our ethnicity: The Nation of Israel. 

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CASE AND POINT:

Adolf Hitler presented his argument in his 1919 letter, “There is living amongst us a non-German, foreign race. There are three general types of races, the culture creators (the pure Aryan race), the culture sustainers (races with substantial Aryan blood), and the culture destroyers (the Jews).”

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/adolf-hitler-s-first-anti-semitic-writing

To add insult to injury, Whoopi Goldberg presented a dissenting opinion a century later. “How can you say it’s about race when you’re fighting each other?” During her casual reference to the worst genocide in human history, Whoopi proclaimed, “Well, this is white people doing it to white people. Y’all go fight amongst yourselves.” An early advocate of using intersectionality to dilute antisemitism.

In the Wonderful World of Whoopi, race is defined as, “… being something that I can see.” According to the Whoopi hypothesis, those afflicted with impaired vision are incapable of racism.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2022/02/01/whoopi-goldberg-holocaust-race-apology/

In 2018, to solidify the rejection of “race” as a scientific system of classification, 67 scientists from a broad range of disciplines stated that the “robust body of scholarship recognizes the existence of geographically based genetic variation in our species but shows that such variation is not consistent with biological definitions of race”.

“How Not to Talk About Race and Genetics”. Buzzfeed News. 30 March 2018”.

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RACE: From benign to bigotry

The ancient belief that a person’s character or personality can be determined from their outer appearance, i.e., Physiognomics, was ascribed to Aristotle, and the observation of skin color to categorize humans had nothing to do with inferiority or superiority. The Greeks and Romans provided the fullest description of blacks. “The Africans’ color was regarded as their most characteristic and most unusual feature.”

Frank M. Snowden, Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks, Harvard University Press, 1991

“Face reading” was also practiced by Siddhars in ancient India as well as in healers in ancient China (mianxiang).

Up until the 17th Century, “race” as a system of grouping was harmless. The re-designation of race as a pseudo-scientific system of classification based on superiority and inferiority began in 17th Century Europe. The concept stemmed from the false notion that “white” people were inherently smarter, more capable, and more human than non-white people. This classification system justified European colonization and enslavement of people from Africa and the barbaric treatment of, “savages” by explorers in “The New World.”  

https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race/topics/historical-foundations-race

This was not the only emblem of conflict between reason, dogma, and science born in Europe at the time. The 17th Century “Galileo affair” culminated with the condemnation of Galileo for his ridiculous assertion that the Earth was not the center of the universe. The physicist was forced to recant his claims, and he remained under house arrest until his death in 1642. It took 350 years for The Vatican to acknowledge its error.

It took just as long to disqualify the term “race” as a useful classification system for human beings.

During the late 19th century, Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants in the USA were referred to as separate races. Today in America, members of those groups are classified as White. The dissenting viewpoints in America today come from White supremacists who, based on race, deny our whiteness, Black Hebrew Israelites who deny our Jewishness, and “progressives” in our streets and on our college campuses who have aligned with Islamicists to deny our indigenous attachment to our ancestral homeland. 

The word Racism was created in 1891 at the Lake Mohonk Conference in New York where a group of wealthy white philanthropists met to discuss American Indian policies. (Photo: Supplied)

DEFINING RACISM

The word racism is not an ancient term. A neologism at the time, the word Racism was created in 1891 at the Lake Mohonk Conference in New York where a group of wealthy white philanthropists met to discuss American Indian policies. At the conference, Richard Henry Pratt criticized government policy toward Native Americans by railing against the evils of racial segregation. He said, “Association of races and classes is necessary to destroy racism and classism.” Pratt, a classic racist by today’s standards said, “Kill the Indian. Save the man.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/magazine/the-easiest-way-to-get-rid-of-racism-just-redefine-it.html

“Racism,” not considered to have negative connotations, was first cited in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1902. It was defined as “…the theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race”. The same dictionary termed racism a synonym of racialism: “belief in the superiority of a particular race”.

Among the earliest scholars adopting and disseminating the term ‘racism’ as a bad thing was pioneering American anthropologist and folklorist Ruth Benedict (1887 –1948). Her book, “Patterns of Culture” (1934) was translated into fourteen languages and was the standard at American Universities.

Benedict defined racism as “the dogma that one ethnic group is condemned by nature to congenital inferiority and another group is destined to congenital superiority.”

Her legacy includes Benedict College at Stoney Brook University, The Ruth Benedict Prize awarded annually by the American Anthropology Association, a Great Americans series postage stamp in her honor, and her induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Benedict

As a result of the Civil Rights movement and its aftermath, the term “racism” in America was redefined as a simple, ‘black and white’ issue. (Photo: Supplied)

REDEFINING RACISM

The tables have turned from early irrational thought that whites are superior, to presently promoted propaganda that white people are a flawed race.

As a result of the Civil Rights movement and its aftermath, the term “racism” in America was redefined as a simple, ‘black and white’ issue. In reality, there is nothing simple about racism and it is the grey areas that loosely define it. Even smug intellectual elitists promoting, “critical race theory” have failed to reach a consensus on the definitions of and distinctions between race and ethnicity, except when used to promote their racist agenda.

The same racist mentality that gave rise to pogroms, destruction, death, and the holocaust was repeated during the Black Lives Matter riots. To further the Antisemitic overtones, the vague concept of intersectionality allowed pro-Palestinian antisemites to jump on the BLM Bandwagon. “From Ferguson to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime”, became their rallying cry, causing Jewish students to hide their pro-Israel and Jewish identities to ‘get along’ in this hostile environment.

Ziva Dahl, “‘Intersectionality’ and the Bizarre World of Hating Israel,” Observer, (March 15, 2016).

According to Russell A. Shalev, an Israeli lawyer at the International Legal Forum, Critical Race Theory systematically erases the uniqueness of Antisemitism and places Jews at the peak of white privilege and supremacy. Equally heinous, Critical Race Theory views attacks on Jewish self-determination and self-identification as anti-racist.

(Shalev, Russell A:  America’s Perfect Anti-Jewish Storm: Anti-Zionism and Critical Race Theory https://mckinneylaw.iu.edu/events/_docs/T-3B_Shalev.pdf)

When a “white man” is donning a kippah, his “race” is perceived as Jewish, with all the tropes associated with his “race.” (Photo: Supplied)

Despite the fact that Physiognomy is a pseudoscience, assumptions, judgements, and prejudices regarding others’ racial and ethnic identities continue to be based on nothing more than a fleeting glance at a stranger’s face.

“Marginalized practices”. The Cambridge History of Science: Eighteenth-century science. Vol. 4 (illustrated ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 495–497. ISBN 978-0-521-57243-9.

“Lay beliefs in physiognomy explain overreliance on facial impressions” https://osf.io/preprints/psyarxiv/8dq4x

According to Nancy López, professor of sociology and director of the Institute for the Study of Race and Social Justice at the University of New Mexico, we continue to stereotype and judge a stranger’s qualities based on their appearance. We continue to view race irrationally and archaically as biology and genetic ancestry. Lopez coined the phrase, “street race” to define the phenomenon as to the “race” that people see us as when we are out in public.

https://race.unm.edu/what-is-street-race.html

When a “white man” is donning a kippah, his “race” is perceived as Jewish, with all the tropes associated with his “race.” A dark man in a turban is perceived as an Arab, all too often linked to unjustified stereotypes. The bigoted observer is blind to the facts of their genetic make-up, personality traits or country of origin. The Jew might be a “Jew-by-choice,” born in France with a Christian father. The turbaned male could be a Sikh from Mumbai promoting human rights and harmony.

What we can all agree on is we are a nation of Judean ethnicity, The Nation of Israel. We may be among the smallest of nations, but we are among the largest of families. (Photo: Supplied)

Classifying Jewishness

The task of attempting to classify Jewishness can be futile. Jews view their own identity in all kinds of different ways.

What we can agree on is that Jewishness is a question of personal identity that cannot be minimized to a checkbox on a form. When Jews must choose, some check “WHITE.” Others check “OTHER.”  Black Jews check “BLACK.” I (being a proud unapologetic Zionist who thrives on controversy), am emboldened to write in bold in all caps, “JEWISH.”

What we can all agree on is we are a nation of Judean ethnicity, The Nation of Israel. We may be among the smallest of nations, but we are among the largest of families. We share an origin, ancestry, homeland, history, cultural heritage, genetic commonalities, language, dialects, religion, mythology, folklore, rituals, cuisines, and “styles.”  

When the Jewish People were forced to disperse, most Jews settled in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries and later, throughout Europe. We remained the same Jewish nation ethnically but dispersed geographically. We adapted and adopted the languages and traditions of our new neighbors, but we kept our culture and our gene pool, often under the threat of savage suffering and demonic death.

We were evicted from Spain (800 years ago), blamed for the Black Death Plague (650 years ago), and subjected to the Cossack’s sabers (150 years ago). Between the 1930’s and 1950’s, 259,000 Jews were banished from Morocco, 140,000 from Algeria, 100,000 from Tunisia, 75,000 from Egypt, 38,000 from Libya, 135,000 from Iraq, 55,000 from Yemen, 34,000 from Turkey, 20,000 from Lebanon, 18,000 from Syria, and 25,000 from Iran.

Mark Twain eloquently elaborated in 1899: 

“The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.

All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

(Twain, Mark. “Concerning the Jews” Harpers Magazine September 1899)

Despite Twain’s refreshing optimism, we subsequently endured cruel Communist oppression and narrowly survived savage Nazi Aggression. Today, demonic Islamicists burned and beheaded our children, gang-raped our women, and turned a peace-loving music festival into a macabre inferno of hell.

We owe it to all those who perished and those who survived to proudly carry on the genes, languages, customs, and traditions of our Judean Ethnicity: The Nation of Israel.

We are not victims. We are survivors. We will dance again.

AM YISRAEL CHAI

Gary S. Branfman, MD studied radio, television, and film at New York City’s Queens College. Following a career in communications, he returned to school and became a board-certified plastic surgeon at the age of 38. He is the president of Congregation B’nai Israel in Victoria, Texas.

Dr. Branfman has appeared on various news organizations including “The Stream” on Al Jazeera, CBS evening news with David Begnaud and presently produces the podcast, “Never Again Live” with Meir HaLevi Weinstein.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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