Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/273

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269
JEWISH PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
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psychoses exactly equals that of the Jews admitted for dementia prsecox. Now, dementia præcox is classed as one of the insanities depending upon a constitutionally inferior mental make-up, as is like- wise manic-depressive insanity. These two constitutional inferior groups which are universally agreed to rest upon a bad heredity, alone account for over 55 per cent, of the insanities among the Jews in the above table. Statistics could be multiplied almost indefinitely to show similar results.

Among the frankly feeble-minded, the Jews stand next to the top of the list of those immigrants who are deported on this account. The report of the Commissioner General of Immigration for 1911 shows that the French are the only ones who surpass them. In this connec- tion it is well to note that over one half of the French immigrants for the year 1911 was recruited from the ranks of the French Canadians, who are a notoriously inbred and defective stock.

If it be objected that the foregoing table represents one year alone and can not be properly used to aid in drawing such wholesale con- clusions, the answer is two-fold. In the first place this was a year in which the general average of Hebrew defectives was proportionately smaller than in other years. For instance, in 1907 nearly one third of those certified at Ellis Island as mentally defective were of this race, although they did not average over 14 per cent, of the total number of arrivals.

In the second place the number of feeble-minded children in the public schools of New York City is disproportionately large among the Jews. Thus of 317 mentally defective children selected at random from ungraded classes, Miss Anna Moore in 1911 found that there were 130 Hebrews, 40 Italians, 35 Germans, 20 Irish and 9 negroes.[1]

An attempt has been made to deny the ethnic or racial relation with the greater prevalence of feeble-mindedness and insanity, which the foregoing data would naturally seem to indicate. Thus it has been said that the birth-rate among the Jews being lower than that of the general population, there is consequently a larger proportion of adults among this race as compared with others, and insanity being chiefly a disease of adults, it follows that its greater prevalence among the Jews is apparent rather than real.

To explain the large number of feeble-minded the argument runs in this wise : Although the birth-rate among the Jews is low, Jewish parents take better care of their children than others, consequently more survive those illnesses which result in mental deterioration.

The chief fallacy in this argument lies in the fact that those who

use it neglect to state that feeble-mindedness is overwhelmingly a dis-

  1. Miss Anna Moore, Report published by State Charities Aid Association, 1911.