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Race and Fraud: Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish

Ruth Benedict and Gene Weltfish

In this installment we examine two specific characters and one significant contribution they made to the larger anti-”racist” fraud. These two women were students of Franz Boas and their efforts represent only part of the long-term team effort to carry on the crusade Boas began: to derail race science and replace it with cultural narrative, to decouple academic investigation and understanding of human beings and human relations from biology and change the focus instead to sentimentalism and moralizing. To replace clarity with obfuscation. That project, reduced to a word, is anthropology.

Kevin MacDonald’s The Boasian School of Anthropology and the Decline of Darwinism in the Social Sciences, on the anti-science of anthropology:

An important technique of the Boasian school was to cast doubt on general theories of human evolution, such as those implying developmental sequences, by emphasizing the vast diversity and chaotic minutiae of human behavior, as well as the relativism of standards of cultural evaluation. The Boasians argued that general theories of cultural evolution must await a detailed cataloguing of cultural diversity, but in fact no general theories emerged from this body of research in the ensuing half century of its dominance of the profession (Stocking 1968, 210). Because of its rejection of fundamental scientific activities such as generalization and classification, Boasian anthropology may thus be characterized more as an anti-theory than a theory of human culture (White 1966, 15).

“It’s all so confusing!!!”, is the suggestion, and that’s exactly what is produced – confusion, doubt and demoralization. Hand-waving and smoke-blowing are other terms for such tactics.

Ruth Benedict, Wikipedia:

Ruth Benedict (born Ruth Fulton, June 5, 1887 – September 17, 1948) was an American anthropologist and folklorist.

She was born in New York City, and attended Vassar College and was graduated in 1909. She entered graduate studies at Columbia University in 1919, studying under Franz Boas, receiving her Ph.D and joining the faculty in 1923. Margaret Mead, with whom she may have shared a romantic relationship,[2] and Marvin Opler were among her students and colleagues.

Benedict’s father died when she was 2 or 3.

She developed a close friendship with Boas, who took on a role as a kind of father figure in her life – Benedict lovingly referred to him as “Papa Franz”

Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict are considered to be the two most influential and famous women anthropologists of their time.

Benedict died of a heart attack in 1948

Her major work:

Benedict’s Patterns of Culture (1934) was translated into fourteen languages and was published in many editions as standard reading for anthropology courses in American universities for years.

The essential idea in Patterns of Culture is, according to the foreword by Margaret Mead, “her view of human cultures as ‘personality writ large.’”

In other words, culture is a collective expression, reflecting the tastes and personality traits of the people creating it. Culture is an expression of race but anti-”racists” simply deny it.

Benedict, in Patterns of Culture, expresses her belief in cultural relativism. She desired to show that each culture has its own moral imperatives that can be understood only if one studies that culture as a whole. It was wrong, she felt, to disparage the customs or values of a culture different from one’s own. Those customs had a meaning to the people who lived them which should not be dismissed or trivialized. We should not try to evaluate people by our standards alone. Morality, she argued, was relative to the values of the culture in which one operates.

Indeed, as noted previously, morality is relative to the group it concerns, who/whom, who is concerned about whom.

Boasian anti-”racism” is a disparaging, dismissmive, and trivializing criticism of Western culture – openly and approvingly acknowledged by anti-”racists” as a radical challenge to long-standing Western cultural norms. When it comes to the West, the anti-”racist” criticism is not constrained to our culture either, but is aimed also at the supposed moral and mental flaws of White people.

The root of this hypocrisy, which is especially visible in jew-dominated Boasian anthropology, is the jewish “culture of critique”. Jews are the most acid critics of everyone else, who cry foul when anyone criticizes them, and by extension oppose any White criticism of non-Whites.

The anti-”racist” critique is based on fraud – lies and hypocrisy, universalist and scientific sounding language disguising a pursuit of narrower loyalties and motives (both ethnic and ideological).

When Boas retired in 1937, most of his students considered Ruth Benedict to be the obvious choice for the head of the anthropology department. However, the administration of Columbia was not as progressive in its attitude towards female professionals as Boas had been, and the university President Nicholas Murray Butler was eager to curb the influence of the Boasians whom he considered to be political radicals. Instead, Ralph Linton, one of Boas’ former students, a WWI veteran, and a fierce critic of Benedict’s “Culture and Personality” approach was named head of the department.[14] Benedict was understandably insulted by Linton’s appointment and the Columbia department was divided between the two rival figures of Linton and Benedict, both accomplished anthropologists with influential publications, neither of whom ever mentioned the work of the other.[15]

More on Benedict’s motives for taking up Boas’ crusade:

Ruth Benedict, columbia.edu:

In 1921, Dr. Franz Boas waived the admission requirements and admitted Dr. Ruth Benedict as a Ph.D. candidate in the Columbia University anthropology program. Dr. Boas was extremely important to Dr. Benedict, who wrote to him in 1940, “I can’t tell you what a place you fill in my life.”

She did field reserach with American southwestern tribes, with the Serrono of California and the Blackfoot of Canada.

Wikipedia’s description of The Races of Mankind:

One of Benedict’s lesser known works was a pamphlet “The Races of Mankind” which she wrote with her colleague at the Columbia University Department of Anthropology, Gene Weltfish. This pamphlet was intended for American troops and set forth, in simple language with cartoon illustrations, the scientific case against racist beliefs.

the writers explicate, in section after section, the best evidence they knew for human equality. They want to encourage all these types of people to join together and not fight amongst themselves.

Gene Weltfish, Wikipedia:

Gene Weltfish (Born Regina Weltfish) (August 7, 1902 – August 2, 1980) was an American anthropologist and historian working at Columbia University from 1928 to 1953. She studied with Franz Boas and was a specialist in the culture and history of the Pawnee people. Her 1965 ethnography The Lost Universe is considered the authoritative work on Pawnee culture to this day.

She is also known for the 1943 pamphlet for the U.S. Army called The Races of Mankind, which she co-wrote with Ruth Benedict, meant to teach military personnel about the cultural differences between the peoples of the world. In the text they argued that perceived differences between the races are cultural rather than biological. Among the data used in the text was an IQ study that had found higher scores among some northern Blacks than among some southern Whites. The pamphlet was not widely circulated within the army, and eventually it was banned as subversive. Weltfish was engaged in social activism and attracted the attention of the FBI which suspected her to be a communist.

One of two daughters born into a German Jewish family in New York’s Lower East Side, Gene Weltfish grew up speaking German as her first language, taught by a German governess hired by her grandfather. Her father, to whom she was very close, died when she was 13.

One of Weltfish’s minor works, cowritten with Ruth Benedict, had a surprisingly great effect. Published in 1943, The Races of Mankind was a pamphlet intended for American troops. It set forth, in simple language with cartoon illustrations, the scientific case against racist beliefs.[7] The publication of this pamphlet and the subsequent political furor that it caused, when it was decried as a piece of socialist propaganda, attracted the attention of anti-Communist authorities.[8]

The pamphlet represented the Boasian way of thinking about race which later became the standard view in anthropology and was endorsed with a 1948 UNESCO declaration, but at the time this was politically controversial, especially in the American South, where Jim Crow was still in rigor.[9] Weltfish herself described her motivations for writing the pamphlet:

“During the first four years of my graduate training at Columbia, Hitler rose to power in Germany, bolstering his heinous operations with racist theories developed from distorted anthropology. The books of Franz Boas were burned in Germany. In 1942, after [Boas'] death, Ruth Benedict, my senior colleague in the Anthropology Department, and I felt that we should carry the banner on the race question. In 1943, Ruth Benedict and I collaborated on a pamphlet, “The Races of Mankind,” published by the Public Affairs Committee. The pamphlet was originally written at the request of the U.S.O. for distribution to the men in the armed forces who had to fight side by side with allies such as the Huks in the Philippines and the Solomon Islanders. “The Races of Mankind” was used, not only for orientation by the army, but in the de-Nazification program in Germany after the war.”
—(Memo by Weltfish, October 24, 1967, quoted in Pathe 1989:375)

Far-right political groups in the US and elsewhere still consider Weltfish’s work to be part of a conspiracy by Boas and his students to eliminate the study of race in psychology and anthropology in “preparation for the defeat of ‘White Civilization’ by the Jews”.[10]

Basic facts about Benedict and Weltfish’s The Races of Mankind:

  • “intended for American troops” (both wikis)
  • first published in 1943 (both wikis)
  • “had a surprisingly great effect” (Weltfish wiki)
  • made “the scientific case against racist beliefs” (Weltfish wiki)
  • “The pamphlet was not widely circulated within the army, and eventually it was banned as subversive.” (Weltfish wiki)
  • “used, not only for orientation by the army, but in the de-Nazification program in Germany after the war” (according to Weltfish)

More biographical information on Gene Weltfish at webster.edu:

Despite its widespread use until then, “The Races of Mankind” was banned from armed forces libraries in 1944. It continued to be translated and read around the world. There was a dispute over whether or not the pamphlet showed northern blacks as smarter than southern whites.

The original pamphlet price was 10 cents. A used copy on Amazon is priced at $20.

A variant of the original work is In Henry’s Backyard: The Races of Mankind, also at Amazon, published in 1948:

A cheerfully illustrated little story about fighting the “green devils” of prejudice and recognizing all races are equally human.

Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature, at Google Books, includes a copy of In Henry’s Backyard, and in the Editor’s introduction includes more information about the original pamphlet:

debunked racial myths spread by fascists abroad and racists at home

Benedict was the author of Race: Science and Politics (1940) and coauthor of Race and Cultural Relations: America’s Answer to the Myth of a Master Race (1942)

Using science to prove that we are all “one human race” and that culture (not nature) accounts for differences among peoples was controversial in the 1940s.

to be distributed through the USO. But Kentucky congressman Andrew May objected

May persuaded the army to stop distributing the pamphlet, his act inspired public protests, garnered media coverage, and boosted sales. The Races of Mankind sold nearly a million copies in its first ten years, and was translated into French, German, and Japanese.

In 1945, United Productions of America (UPA) made the book into an animated cartoon, Brotherhood of Man.

UPA was an innovative animation studio founded by Dave Hilberman, Zack Schwartz, Steve Bosustow, and John Hubley, all former Disney employees – and ex-Communists – who took part in the 1941 strike. (Disney’s reponse to the strikers was to fire them.) Hubley and Phil Eastman – another ex-Disney-striker and ex-Communist – animated the cartoon, and future Hollywood Ten member Ring Lardner, Jr., cowrote the script. (The UPA studio would go on to produce the Academy Award-winning cartoon Gerald McBoing Boing and the Mr. Magoo cartoons.)

More on this topic in the next installment.

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One Response

  1. The best thing about Tan’s work is that I can TRY to slip it to my college aged daughter (poisoned by her Jew-loving, White hating Liberal mother) as academic work. Tan, keep rocking it, brother.

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