10

The laws applied to not only Blacks but also Asians. At one time I think Chinese in the USA could not effectively marry at all due to immigration policy. Jews could legally be discriminated against in housing and employment. Hotels also did openly discriminate against Jews. But as far as I know, there were no laws that prevented intermarriage. Is this correct?

9

"Of Mongrels and men. The shared ideology of anti-miscegenation law, Chinese exclusion and contemporary American neo-nativism" by Geoffrey Neri, is a 40 page long study of anti-miscegenation laws in the US. The "religious basis" for these laws is listed (pages 8-9) as

As authority for these convictions, anti-miscegenation proponents cited the Bible, specifically the Old Testament, employing a literal interpretation of its text. The theory of monogenism—origin from a single source—held that all humans descended from a single pair of ancestors, Adam and Eve, and were therefore of the same species. Despite this initial unity, according to the monogenists, the races had degenerated in various degrees from their original state of perfection—whites had degenerated the least and were thought to be closer to the original divine plan. The monogenist argument relied heavily on Biblical genealogy, particularly that of Noah and his three sons — Ham, Shem, and Japheth. Adhering to a fundamentalist interpretation of the Biblical story of the great flood destroying all of humanity save Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives, the monogenists reasoned that all modern humans are descended from these three sons. Asians and Africans were classified as Hamitic, Arabs and Jews as Shemitic, and Caucasians as Japhethitic.

Thus, in principle anti-miscegenation laws could have been applied to Jews as well. The paper lists various state laws and court decisions which were based on this doctrine. These legal documents (I presume) are in the public domain, so if you are sufficiently motivated, you can read them and see if these laws and court decisions were applied to Jews.

I also looked through:

  1. Julie Novkov, Racial Constructions: The Legal Regulation of Miscegenation in Alabama, 1890-1934, Law and History Review, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 225-277.

In her article Jews are never mentioned.

  1. James R. Browning, Anti-Miscegenation Laws in the United States, Duke Bar Journal (1951) p. 26-41.

In this very detailed paper, comparing the anti-miscegenation throughout the country (his state-by-state tables list affected ethnic groups and the Jews are not there), Browning only mentions the Jews in the following passage (pp. 32-33):

The opportunity of assimilation, which in the ultimate sense must include amalgamation, has been extended to Jewish, Italian and other white minorities; but colored groups - Black, Brown, Yellow and to a lesser extent Red - are considered unassimilable, and are denied intermarriage with whites.

From this, it is reasonable to conclude that anti-miscegenation laws were not applied to the Jews in the United States, however, given the "theory" under which such laws were enacted, they could have ben applied to the American Jews. One cannot say for sure, though, without looking at the state laws one-by-one, which would make (a part of) a nice PhD thesis but is inappropriate for the stackexchange.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.