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Why do so many Ashkenazi Jews look white?
Topic Started: Sep 1 2012, 06:12 AM (7,193 Views)
JewFist
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I just went through a bunch of pictures of famous Israeli/American Ashkenazi Jews and......many of them really DON'T look Middle Eastern. Like, AT ALL. You'd think that a group that is allegedly a hybrid of Levantine and South Mediterranean would actually exhibit MENA traits with more frequency than they do but nope, most of the ones I've seen over the past hour or so look completely white (save for the nose).

Honestly, I don't really get it. Is there something I'm missing here? Why does a Middle Eastern group with Southern Mediterranean admixture come out looking even more pale than most Italians and Greeks?
Edited by JewFist, Sep 1 2012, 06:12 AM.
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Vicente Maximiano
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I could swear this was a topic made by 7eleven when I saw the title. But it is actually you lol. :P
Aren't Ashkenazis Levantines + Northern Europeans?

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JewFist
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For the record, I know that there are many who DO look the part. But if admixture was so uncommon in Central and Eastern Europe, then there must be other factors at play.
Vicente Maximiano
Sep 1 2012, 06:14 AM
I could swear this was a topic made by 7eleven when I saw the title. But it is actually you lol. :P
Aren't Ashkenazis Levantines + Northern Europeans?

No, they're not. They're Levantines + South Europeans with minor Central/East European. I'm just trying to figure this out because it doesn't make any sense. 7eleven, on the other hand, does exhibit some extremely obvious MENA traits so it's not like he'll be able to take this as some sort of self-validation.
Edited by JewFist, Sep 1 2012, 06:19 AM.
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Vicente Maximiano
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Don't know about this fairly obvious stuff.

Post ashkenazis examples that look european.
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JewFist
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Vicente Maximiano
Sep 1 2012, 06:21 AM
Don't know about this fairly obvious stuff.

Post ashkenazis examples that look european.
Ok, be right back.
Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

But now that I think about it, it's probably the same reason why so many Latinos are white, despite having Amerindian admixture.


Edited by JewFist, Sep 1 2012, 06:43 AM.
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stonesheep
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Even some Levantine/Euro mixes turn out looking fully European.

This guy is half Syrian half Anglo-American, would you have guessed it?

Posted Image
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cloxias
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^^It does not really surprise me with Levantines, because alot look more European than non-European.

Even if some are mixed with Europeans or not still can look like this.

I even knew a half Lebanese and half Syrian person and they looked more European.

Edited by cloxias, Sep 1 2012, 10:53 AM.
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JewFist
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stonesheep
Sep 1 2012, 09:37 AM
Even some Levantine/Euro mixes turn out looking fully European.

This guy is half Syrian half Anglo-American, would you have guessed it?

Posted Image
Good point. I can't see anything MENA about him.

Come to think of it, I don't look MENA either, but I am. I suppose I just expected the Middle Eastern features to be more.....common, I guess. As far as I can see, families like mine are the exception, not the rule.
Edited by JewFist, Sep 1 2012, 01:07 PM.
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Beast
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JewFist
Sep 1 2012, 01:05 PM
Come to think of it, I don't look MENA either, but I am.
*you want to be MENA. You're part MENA at best, and that doesn't mean you will necessarily look like them. Same for the average Ashkenazim I guess?
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JewFist
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Vortex
Sep 1 2012, 01:09 PM
JewFist
Sep 1 2012, 01:05 PM
Come to think of it, I don't look MENA either, but I am.
*you want to be MENA. You're part MENA at best, and that doesn't mean you will necessarily look like them. Same for the average Ashkenazim I guess?
So according to you, anybody who falls short of being purebred (and let's face it, nobody is) is not really MENA? That is rather absurd. Although I like being MENA a lot, it's not something I aspire to. It's simply part of what I am.
Edited by JewFist, Sep 1 2012, 01:31 PM.
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Beast
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JewFist
Sep 1 2012, 01:28 PM
Vortex
Sep 1 2012, 01:09 PM
JewFist
Sep 1 2012, 01:05 PM
Come to think of it, I don't look MENA either, but I am.
*you want to be MENA. You're part MENA at best, and that doesn't mean you will necessarily look like them. Same for the average Ashkenazim I guess?
So according to you, anything short of being pure MENA (which, let's face it, nobody is) is not really MENA? That is rather absurd. Although I like being MENA a lot, it's not something I aspire to. It's simply part of what I am.
You're not even predominantly MENA when you're 1/2 Irish, 1/4 Ashkenazi (probably not pure MENA) and 1/8 Arab, so I (and 99% of normal people) would say you're simply mixed European, I don't know what your obsession with identifying with a minor part of your ancestry is but that seems pretty common among mixed people so yeah whatever suits you.
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JewFist
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Vortex
Sep 1 2012, 01:39 PM
JewFist
Sep 1 2012, 01:28 PM
Vortex
Sep 1 2012, 01:09 PM

Quoting limited to 3 levels deep
So according to you, anything short of being pure MENA (which, let's face it, nobody is) is not really MENA? That is rather absurd. Although I like being MENA a lot, it's not something I aspire to. It's simply part of what I am.
You're not even predominantly MENA when you're 1/2 Irish, 1/4 Ashkenazi (probably not pure MENA) and 1/8 Arab, so I (and 99% of normal people) would say you're simply mixed European, I don't know what your obsession with identifying with a minor part of your ancestry is but that seems pretty common among mixed people so yeah whatever suits you.
1/2 Irish, 3/8 Ashkenazi (which is basically MENA), and a little less than 1/4 Arab, the rest being Greek and Italian. So that makes me NW European, Mediterranean, and West Asian, with a little North African. Either way, I don't see what the big deal is if I feel much closer to one side of my heritage over another.
Edited by JewFist, Sep 1 2012, 01:50 PM.
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New Englander
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Holocaust killed most Ashkenazim. The ones that lived mingled and were more inbred than ever before. Recessive genes became dominant.

Environmental factors from living in Northern Europe for 30 Generation may have also helped the Recessive genes take root.

Also, Yes they are like 10%-15% North East Euro ( whom are the lightest Euros ), but Many southern Euros can have light features ( more so then the original Jewish population ).

BTW the 3ed dude you posted looks Jewish too me....and I also thought 7eleven was the OP hahaha.
Edited by New Englander, Sep 1 2012, 08:28 PM.
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7eleven
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Wow finally you're listening to me, most Ashkenazim dont look Levantine at all and many couldnt even pass in southern Europe. Instead of thinking of Ashkenazim as some sacred herd fresh out of the ancient Levant, it makes much more sense that they are a religious group who are made up of many different peoples and ethnic groups.
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nomar34
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New Englander
Sep 1 2012, 08:27 PM
Holocaust killed most Ashkenazim. The ones that lived mingled and were more inbred than ever before. Recessive genes became dominant.

Environmental factors from living in Northern Europe for 30 Generation may have also helped the Recessive genes take root.

Also, Yes they are like 10%-15% North East Euro ( whom are the lightest Euros ), but Many southern Euros can have light features ( more so then the original Jewish population ).

BTW the 3ed dude you posted looks Jewish too me....and I also thought 7eleven was the OP hahaha.
You made sense. Bar Rafaeli looks Russian or Eastern Euro because she probably has some ancestry from these regions.
Also many light haired and light eyed Jews during WWR2 passed as locals in Poland,Russia,and the Baltics. Their light features saved them from the Nazi's .
I knew the Schwartz family who owned a local furniture store. They survived wwr2 and both were blue eyed and fair skin and light haired Hungarian Jews.
Edited by nomar34, Sep 1 2012, 09:04 PM.
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JewFist
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7eleven
Sep 1 2012, 08:48 PM
Wow finally you're listening to me, most Ashkenazim dont look Levantine at all and many couldnt even pass in southern Europe. Instead of thinking of Ashkenazim as some sacred herd fresh out of the ancient Levant, it makes much more sense that they are a religious group who are made up of many different peoples and ethnic groups.
*sigh* I knew you would do this. Genes, culture, and phenotype to a lesser extent (there are still many who do look MENA) still say they are collectively a Middle Eastern group, not a European one. In fact, I was only trying to find out why there were so many purely European phenotypes, because I know for a fact that we're more MENA than anything else.

The others in this thread made some very good points that I seem to have overlooked somehow, which does help to explain the disparity. Another thing I forgot was that many modern Jews are immigrants from Communist Russia, where intermixing was far more common. That explains why modern day Russian Jews are usually closer to Russia than to their Jewish/Middle Eastern roots.
Edited by JewFist, Sep 2 2012, 12:39 AM.
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Rasko
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Is it likely that Ashkenazim underwent some selection for light pigmentation and more European features? Being able to pass as white may have been of some advantage and even a small increase to Darwinian fitness can have a large effect over many generations. Also bear in mind that at around 40% European and 60% Middle Eastern they'd be pretty white looking anyway even without added selection.
Edited by Rasko, Sep 2 2012, 12:40 AM.
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JewFist
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Rasko
Sep 2 2012, 12:40 AM
Is it likely that Ashkenazim underwent some selection for light pigmentation and more European features? Being able to pass as white may have been of some advantage and even a small increase to Darwinian fitness can have a large effect over many generations. Also bear in mind that at around 40% European and 60% Middle Eastern they'd be pretty white looking anyway even without added selection.
True. But as you saw, my family isn't all that white looking (except for my aunt) despite being predominantly Ashkenazi. Another thing I've noticed is that most pre-WWII photos of Ashkenazi Jews have strong Middle Eastern physical features, which I suppose helped the Nazis identify them as Jews (or Gypsies, who were also targeted by the regime) much easier than they otherwise would have.
Edited by JewFist, Sep 2 2012, 12:44 AM.
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7eleven
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I believe Ashkenazim have a strong Greco-Roman and even French base to their genetics which is why they look way whiter than Middle Easterners.
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JewFist
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7eleven
Sep 2 2012, 01:20 AM
I believe Ashkenazim have a strong Greco-Roman and even French base to their genetics which is why they look way whiter than Middle Easterners.
Greco-Roman? Yes. French? No.

They tend to cluster near French in some studies as a result of some fairly recent Central/East European ancestry which will pull them further north on a PCA chart. But in general, they plot roughly in between Europeans (including Southern Europeans) and Middle Easterners, with a slight pull towards the former (again, a result of recent admixture). Your average Ashkenazi Jew ranges between a little less than half to a little less than 4/5 Middle Eastern. Our ethnogenesis is in the Middle East, where the majority of our ancestry comes from.
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