Ever since Rudolph Valentino, Ramon Novarro, Gilbert Roland, and Cesar Romero broke box office records in the early days of film, Latin actors have made their mark in Hollywood. Given the technical limitation of the primitive equipment at the time, dark hair and eyes simply showed up better on film. And equally importantly, Latins could more believably play a wider range of roles set in places around the globe. To cash in on the trend, studio executives even changed the name of a young Jewish actor with roots in Austria-Hungary to “Ricardo Cortez,” riding the wave of Latin popularity successfully at first. But his career stalled when disappointed fans learned that in fact he was not Latin at all but was born Jacob Krantz. Ironically, genetic testing is now revealing what perhaps should have been obvious all along — Jews from Austria/Germany look Hispanic because they are Hispanic.
The great migration of Jews out of Spain to many places including Austria and Germany started in 1492 with the Spanish Inquisition. Soon they took German names and their Hispanic heritage was all but forgotten. But many, like Edward Bernays 1891-1995 (the father of public relations/advertising and nephew of Sigmund Freud) are aware of being from Spain, although no one would ever know it with names like Bernays and Freud.
Even greater numbers of Jews from Spain fled to the New World and Mexico in particular. Although this has long been common knowledge, it is still surprising that far more of us (including myself) than anyone suspected are of Jewish descent. DNA testing reveals that there are perhaps 200 million genetic Jews today in Latin America, which is really news!
In a synagogue in Los Angeles while exploring my own Jewish roots I overheard a woman telling another woman to get her genome analyzed — she had just learned much to her surprise that her genetic makeup matches the genetic makeup of people living in Mexico. This supposedly white Jewish woman who had assumed herself to be Ashkenazic (descended from Yiddish-speaking European Jews, as opposed to the Sephardic Jews of Spain and the Arab countries) discovered to her great surprise she was genetically actually a Mexican woman!
That is just how Jewish Mexico really is, or how Mexican Jews really are!
No doubt Trump would never have made his “Mexicans are rapists” comment had he known science would soon reveal it to be an anti-Semitic statement.
Furthermore, I’ve discovered that many non-Hispanics misunderstand La Raza cosmica to be a racist pro-Hispanic notion, but nothing is further from the truth. Mexico and Latin America, like the US and Canada, are also great melting pots. Case in point, the ancestors of President Vicente Fox, Mitt Romney, and countless other Americans have joined La Raza. More Americans live in Mexico today than in any other country in the world. La Raza is the cosmic blending of all races without exception into the new Hispanic race; same as the old Hispanic race, which was a blend of Mediterranean cultures.
In conclusion, the larger point I suppose is that all nations of the world really are artificial constructs and are fairly new compared with how long humans have inhabited the planet. Consider that the oldest cultures in the world, Damascus and China, are a mere 5,000 years old. If we could trace our DNA back 50,000 years, perhaps it would be clear that we really are one human (or human-Neanderthal) family descended from Noah. Every culture has a version of Noah’s flood story, so perhaps we can speculate that the 3 different races resulted from the sons of Noah having wives of 3 different races. Like the idea of Jacob Krantz in fact being Latin, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility.
(Photo Caption: Detail from The Inquisition Tribunal (Auto de fe de la Inquisición)
by Francisco Goya, painted between 1812 and 1819.)