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Race and Anthropology – Part 2

Reading from Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race, Or, The Racial Basis of European History:

xxviii INTRODUCTION TO FOURTH EDITION

“The Passing of the Great Race,” in its original form, was designed by the author to rouse his fellow-Americans to the overwhelming importance of race and to the folly of the “Melting Pot” theory, even at the expense of bitter controversy. This purpose has been accomplished thoroughly, and one of the most far-reaching effects of the doctrines enunciated in this volume and in the discussions that followed its publication was the decision of the Congress of the United States to adopt discriminatory and restrictive measures against the immigration of undesirable races and peoples.

Another of the results has been the publication in America and Europe of a series of books and articles more or less anthropological in character which have sustained or controverted its main theme. The new definition of race and the controlling role played by race in all the manifestations of what we call civilization are now generally accepted even by those whose political position depends upon popular favor.

There exists to-day a widespread and fatuous belief in the power of environment, as well as of education and opportunity to alter heredity, which arises from the dogma of the brotherhood of man, derived in its turn from the loose thinkers of the French Revolution and their American mimics. Such beliefs have done much damage in the past and if allowed to go uncontradicted, may do even more serious damage in the future. Thus the view that the Negro slave was an unfortunate cousin of the white man, deeply tanned by the tropic sun and denied the blessings of Christianity and civilization, played no small part with the sentimentalists of the Civil War period and it has taken us fifty years to learn that speaking English, wearing good clothes and going to school and to church do not transform a Negro into a white man. Nor was a Syrian or Egyptian freedman transformed into a Roman by wearing a toga and applauding his favorite gladiator in the amphitheatre. Americans will have a similar experience with the Polish Jew, whose dwarf stature, peculiar mentality and ruthless concentration on self-interest are being engrafted upon the stock of the nation.

Recent attempts have been made in the interest of inferior races among our immigrants to show that the shape of the skull does change, not merely in a century, but in a single generation. In 1910, the report of the anthropological expert of the Congressional Immigration Commission gravely declared that a round skull Jew on his way across the Atlantic might and did have a round skull child; but a few years later, in response to the subtle elixir of American institutions as exemplified in an East Side tenement, might and did have a child whose skull was appreciably longer; and that a long skull south Italian, breeding freely, would have precisely the same experience in the reverse direction. In other words the Melting Pot was acting instantly under the influence of a changed environment.

What the Melting Pot actually does in practice can be seen in Mexico, where the absorption of the blood of the original Spanish conquerors by the native Indian population has produced the racial mixture which we call Mexican and which is now engaged in demonstrating its incapacity for self-government. The world has seen many such mixtures and the character of a mongrel race is only just beginning to be understood at its true value.

It must be borne in mind that the specializations which characterize the higher races are of relatively recent development, are highly unstable and when mixed with generalized or primitive characters tend to disappear. Whether we like to admit it or not, the result of the mixture of two races, in the long run, gives us a race reverting to the more ancient, generalized and lower type. The cross between a white man and an Indian is an Indian; the cross between a white man and a Negro is a Negro; the cross between a white man and a Hindu is a Hindu; and the cross between any of the three European races and a Jew is a Jew.

In the crossing of the blond and brunet elements of a population, the more deeply rooted and ancient dark traits are prepotent or dominant. This is matter of every-day observation and the working of this law of nature is not influenced or affected by democratic institutions or by religious beliefs. Nature cares not for the individual nor how he may be modified by environment. She is concerned only with the perpetuation of the species or type and heredity alone is the medium through which she acts.

Israel Zangwill popularized the Melting Pot meme:

Zangwill was born in London on January 21, 1864 in a family of Jewish immigrants from Czarist Russia, to Moses Zangwill from what is now Latvia and Ellen Hannah Marks Zangwill from what is now Poland. He dedicated his life to championing the cause of the oppressed. Jewish emancipation, women’s suffrage, assimilationism, territorialism and Zionism were all fertile fields for his pen.

Zangwill married Edith Ayrton, a gentile feminist and author

The use of the metaphorical phrase melting pot to describe American absorption of immigrants was popularised by Zangwill’s play The Melting Pot,[3] a hit in the United States in 1909-10.

“Melting Pot celebrated America’s capacity to absorb and grow from the contributions of its immigrants.”[5] Zangwill, who had already left Zionism, was writing as “a Jew who no longer wanted to be a Jew. His real hope was for a world in which the entire lexicon of racial and religious difference is thrown away.”

After having for a time supported Theodor Herzl and the main Palestine-oriented Zionist movement, Zangwill broke away from the established movement and founded his own organization, called the Jewish Territorialist Organization in 1905. Its aim was to create a Jewish homeland in whatever possible territory in the world could be found (and not necessarily in what today is the state of Israel). Zangwill died in 1926 in Midhurst, West Sussex after trying to create the Jewish state in such diverse places as Canada, Australia, Mesopotamia, Uganda and Cyrenaica [[the eastern half of what's called Libya today]].

Back to Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race:

In dealing with European populations the best method of determining race has been found to lie in a comparison of proportions of the skull, the so-called cephalic index. This is the ratio of maximum width, taken at the widest part of the skull above the ears, to maximum length. Skulls with an index of 75 or less, that is, those with a width that is three-fourths of the length or less, are considered dolichocephalic or long skulls. Skulls of an index of 80 or over are round or brachycephalic skulls. Intermediate indices, between 75 and 80, are considered mesaticephalic. These are cranial indices. To allow for the flesh on living specimens about two per cent is to be added to this index and the result is the cephalic index. In the following pages only long and round skulls are considered and the intermediate forms are assigned to the dolichocephalic group.

This cephalic index, though an extremely important if not the controlling character, is, nevertheless, but a single character and must be checked up with other somatological traits. Normally, a long skull is associated with a long face and a round skull with a round face

The use of this test, the cephalic index, enables us to divide the great bulk of the European populations into three distinct subspecies of man, one northern and one southern, both dolichocephalic or characterized by a long skull and a central subspecies which is brachycephalic or characterized by a round skull.

The first is the Nordic or Baltic subspecies. This race is long skulled, very tall, fair skinned with blond or brown hair and light colored eyes. The Nordics inhabit the countries around the North and Baltic Seas and include not only the great Scandinavian and Teutonic groups, but also other early peoples who first appear in southern Europe and in Asia as representatives of Aryan language and culture.

The second is the dark Mediterranean or Iberian subspecies, occupying the shores of the inland sea and extending along the Atlantic coast until it reaches the Nordic species. It also spreads far east into southern Asia. It is long skulled like the Nordic race but the absolute size of the skull is less. The eyes and hair are very dark or black and the skin more or less swarthy. The stature is distinctly less than that of the Nordic race and the musculature and bony framework weak.

The third is the Alpine subspecies occupying all central and eastern Europe and extending through Asia Minor to the Hindu Kush and the Pamirs. The Armenoids constitute an Alpine subdivision and may possibly represent the ancestral type of this race which remained in the mouutains and high plateaux of Anatolia and western Asia.

The Alpines are round skulled, of medium height and sturdy build both as to skeleton and muscles. The coloration of both hair and eyes was originally very dark and still tends strongly in that direction but many light colored eyes, especially gray, are now common among the Alpine populations of western Europe.

While the inhabitants of Europe betray as a whole their mixed origin, nevertheless, individuals’ of each of the three main subspecies are found in large numbers and in great purity, as well as sparse remnants of still more ancient races represented by small groups or by individuals and even by single characters.

These three main groups have bodily characters which constitute them distinct subspecies. Each group is a large one and includes several well-marked varieties, which differ even more widely in cultural development than in physical divergence so that when the Mediterranean of England is compared with the Hindu, or the Alpine Savoyard with the Rumanian or Turcoman, a wide gulf is found.

In zoology, related species when grouped together constitute subgenera and genera and the term species implies the existence of a certain definite amount of divergence from the most closely related type but race does not require a similar amount of difference. In man, where all groups are more or less fertile when crossed, so many intermediate or mixed types occur that the word species has at the present day too extended a meaning.

Eye color is of very great importance in race determination because all blue, gray or green eyes in the world to-day came originally from the same source, namely, the Nordic race of northern Europe. This light colored eye has appeared nowhere else on earth, is a specialization of this subspecies of man only and consequently is of extreme value in the classification of European races. Dark colored eyes are all but universal among wild mammals and entirely so among the primates, man’s nearest relatives. It may be taken as an absolute certainty that all the original races of man had dark eyes.

One subspecies of man and one alone specialized in light colored eyes.

Blond hair also comes everywhere from the Nordic subspecies and from nowhere else. Whenever we find blondness among the darker races of the earth we may be sure some Nordic wanderer has passed that way.

It must be clearly understood that blondness of hair and of eye is not a final test of Nordic race. The Nordics include all the blonds, and also those of darker hair or eye when possessed of a preponderance of other Nordic characters. In this sense the word “blond” means those lighter shades of hair or eye color in contrast to the very dark or black shades which are termed brunet.

While the three main European races are the subject of this book and while it is not the intention of the author to deal with the other human types, it is desirable in connection with the discussion of this character, hair, to state that the three European subspecies are subdivisions of one of the primary groups or species of the genus Homo which, taken together, we may call the Caucasian for lack of a better name.

The existing classification of man must be radically revised, as the differences between the most divergent human types are far greater than are usually deemed sufficient to constitute separate species and even subgenera in the animal kingdom at large. Outside of the three European subspecies the greater portion of the genus Homo can be roughly divided into the Negroes and Negroids, and the Mongols and Mongoloids.

The environment of the Alpine race seems to have always been the mountainous country of central and eastern Europe, as well as western Asia, but they are now spreading into the plains, notably in Poland and Russia. This type has never flourished in the deserts of Arabia or the Sahara, nor has it succeeded well in maintaining its early colonies in the northwest of Europe within the domain of the Nordic long heads. It is, however, a sturdy and persistent stock and, while much of it may not be overrefined or cultured, undoubtedly possesses great potentialities for future development.

The Alpines in the west of Europe, especially in Switzerland and the districts immediately surrounding, have been so thoroughly Nordicized and so saturated with the culture of the adjoining nations that they stand in sharp contrast to backward Alpines of Slavic speech in the Balkans and east of Europe.

The Mediterranean race, on the other hand, is clearly a southern type with eastern affinities. It is a type that did not endure in the north of Europe under former agricultural conditions nor is it suitable to the farming districts and frontiers of America and Canada. It is adjusted to subtropical and tropical countries better than any other European type and will flourish in our Southern States and around the coasts of the Spanish Main. In France it is well known that members of the Mediterranean race are better adapted for colonization in Algeria than are French Alpines or Nordics. This subspecies of man is notoriously intolerant of extreme cold, owing to its susceptibility to diseases of the lungs and it shrinks from the blasts of the northern winter in which the Nordics revel.

The brunet Mediterranean element in the native American seems to be increasing at the expense of the blond Nordic element generally throughout the Southern States and probably also in the large cities. This type of man, however, is scarce on our frontiers. In the Northwest and in Alaska in the days of the gold rush it was in the mining camps a matter of comment if a man turned up with dark eyes, so universal were blue and gray eyes among the American pioneers.

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