Race Prejudice and Discrimination: Readings in Intergroup Relations in the United States

By Arnold M. Rose | Go to book overview

the physical type of the Eastern European races. This can best be seen among the Jewish immigrants to the United States.

Next to dress and deportment, the Jew in Eastern Europe has often a peculiar attitude of the body which is distinctly characteristic. The inferior hygienic, economic, and social conditions under which he was compelled to live in the ghettos have left their mark on his body; he is old prematurely, stunted, decrepit; he withers at an early age. He is emaciated, his muscles are flabby, and he is unable to hold his spinal column erect (the "ghetto bend"). . . . As an acquired character it is not transmitted by heredity. . . .

It is not the body which marks the Jew; it is his soul. In other words, the type is social or psychic. . . . Centuries of confinement in the ghetto, social ostracism, ceaseless suffering under the ban of abuse and persecution have been instrumental in producing a characteristic psychic type which manifests itself in his cast of countenance which is considered as peculiarly "Jewish." The ghetto face is purely psychic, just like the actor's, the soldier's, the minister's face.16


44. The Physical Appearance and Character of Peoples *

Robert E. Park

[ In one of his most brilliant articles, the late Professor Robert E. Park examined the consequences of the fact that man is always playing a social role. The group role assigned to all its members by the minority group determines both the character of the minority member and the perception of him by the outsider.]

Present differences between the Orient and the Occident are largely concerned with what the Chinese call "face."

In China's earlier negotiations with Europe, Chinese diplomacy invariably emerged with a sense of triumph whenever it was possible to find a formula which saved China's face, no matter what the material loss. But in her more recent encounters with foreign devils, China has suffered losses that no diplomatic formulae can explain away. The shock and humiliation of repeated defeats is reflected in the rising tide of nationalism.

The whole present situation between Japan and the United States, likewise, is largely a matter of etiquette. Japan had lost the battle in America before the passage of the Exclusion Law of 1924.

____________________
*
From "Behind Our Masks," Survey Graphic, 56 ( May, 1926), 135-9. Copyright 1926 by Survey Graphic. Reprinted by permission of Survey Graphic.
16
Fishberg, op. cit., pp. 162-66.

-456-

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