The Charlotte News
SUNDAY, JULY 4, 1937
Scoffs At Hitler's Talk Of "Race" In
Study Of Man
-- Review By W. J. Cash
Site ed. note: As with his previous editorial, "Papa Franz Boas" - July 12, 1936, a year earlier, Cash, by virtue of reviewing such books and providing further commentary on the topic of racial equality, brings to his readers concepts which were obviously not accepted, and in some cases not acceptable, generally within the white community of 1937 (and in some lonely bunkers still not acceptable)--and such would have been true virtually anywhere in the country in 1937, not just the South. The difference, of course, was that the concept of white superiority and maintenance of the divisions in society premised thereon had its most virulent supporters in the South. Nevertheless, Cash scrupulously persisted against the wind. Here, he mirrors at an acute angle white-superiority adherents once again, as in "Europe's Ku Kluckers" - September 5, 1937, as the practical equivalent of Nazis--and both Klucker and Nazi he consistently labels as one--"white trash".
They don't get a good deal of notice, save when now and then they dig up a new prehistoric man, like those recently found in China, and some idiot writes a story about "the missing link," but the anthropologists are still among the most important of all thinking and writing folk. In the struggle to save ourselves from being engulfed by emotion-thinking they are invaluable aids. There is the idea of race for instance, which is playing such hob with the Germans who were once upon a time among the most civilized of nations but who today are rapidly receding all the way to savagery.
Ralph Linton in his "Study of Man: An Introduction," just published by Appleton at four dollars, pays a good deal of attention to the problem, and what emerges from it--not anything perfectly clear and indisputable unfortunately, save only that such notions of "race" as Hitler and his barbarians are propagating are romantic myths with not a whit of fact to back them up. The heart of the problem of race and the differences of races Dr. Linton points out, is the problem of relative intelligence. And here the evidence is inconclusive. Yet of various studies in the field on the whole and despite the conflict, evidence tends to point to the belief that there is little or no real difference in the native intelligence of the various great races--that certainly there is none as between the Nordic and the "The Latin"--and that even our boasting superiority to the "inferior" groups of Asia and Africa rest finally and simply upon the fact that,
"Whatever happens, we have got The Maxim gun and they have not."
Dr. Linton directs attention to the fact that there is no ground to believe in any evolutionary superiority of the white race to others since the achievement of the superior position in the world is relatively a very recent thing for the whites. If the white man's superiority arises from innate qualities, he says that we must suppose a mutation which took place not earlier than the Fifteenth century, for down to that time the white man was always on the defensive as against the hordes swinging out of Asia. And of course, as he says, everyone knows that what we call civilization was invented and worked out not by Europeans but by Asiatics. It used sometimes to be said that Greece was the mother of all good things, but we know now that it was really Egypt and Babylonia which played that role.
However, he declines to be too dogmatic about it. Discussing the prospects opened by the question when considered from either side, he says:
"If all races have very much the same innate abilities, it is safe to assume that modern civilizations will spread to all parts of the world. It is impossible that this would ever result in a dead uniformity of culture. For example, the housing, clothing, and food which were suited to tropical life would not be suited to life in Northern Europe. However, it would mean a universal familiarity with modern techniques of production and a levelling of most of the present economic differences. This, in turn, would remove the main incentives for conquest and political domination. If colonies did provide markets for the surplus manufacturers of their owners they would not repay the cost of administration. The various races of mankind would thus be put in the position of practical equality out of which social equality could easily develop. If, on the other hand, there are certain races which are innately incapable of accepting modern civilization, such races are doomed to extinction or to endless economic servitude and social inferiority."
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