Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

CHAP. VI The national traits of the Japanese seem queer to us, and here

if anywhere one is attempted to appeal to race. But it has been made clear that such Japanese peculiarities as self-immolation in battle, ritual suicide and exaggerated politeness are products of the severe feudal compression from which they have only re

cently escaped. What

Races certainly appear to differ in the strength of their native Appears to krovo propensities. There is an imposing stock of facts which seem to Inequality of Propen. prove that the Negro has a fiercer sex appetite than other men, sity May Be Due to

that the South Italian has a bent for murder, that the Irishman Inequality has an uncommon taste for fighting, the Jew for money-making, tives to

the gypsy for wandering, the Levantine for lying, the Slav for Inhibit Propensity anarchy, the Frenchman for gesticulation, the Yankee for asking

personal questions. The trait is there to be sure; but is it because the owner has a stronger proclivity than we, or because he lacks the idea or social standard which prompts us to inhibit our proclivity?' The Yankee has seen no reason to repress his inquisitiveness, the Slav lacks the social experience which generates reverence for law, the Jew is not heir to leisure-class ideals, the Frenchman has developed no standard which excludes gesticulation, the Negro like all primitives has not canalized his sex appetite.

DIFFERENCES IN RACE PSYCHE

Neverthe Nevertheless, after making due allowance for the moulding of less, there Are Con- a people's psyche by the products of its social evolution, there genital Race Dir.

remain veritable differences in race mind. There is a mountain ferences

of evidence that the Northern peoples of Europe (Irish, Scotch, Scandinavians, Slavs) and most nature peoples are more intemperate than Southern races like the Portuguese, Spaniards, Italians, Greeks and Semites. The latter have known strong drink for some thousands of years and their members possessed of an uncontrollable love of vinous exhilaration drank themselves to death long ago. If the physical environment can thus mould the appetite it is likely that other contrasts have been produced by processes we do not yet understand.

Before the immigration boards of inquiry the emotional inEmotional stability of the South Italians stands out in the sharpest contrast Instability of the

to the self-control of the Hebrew and the stolidity of the Slav. South Italians

They gesticulate much, and usually tears stand in their eyes.

Indications of

When two witnesses are being examined, both talk at once, and CHAP. VI their hands will be moving all the time. Their glances fit quickly from one questioner to the other and their eyes are the restless uncomprehending eyes of the desert Bedouin between walls. Yet for all this eager attention, they are slow to catch the meaning of a simple question and often it must be repeated.

Mindful of these darting eyes and hands, one does not wonder Explosivethat the Sicilian will stab his best friend in a sudden quarrel Sicilian

Tempor over a game of cards. Other nationalities shun railroad camps with many Italians. Contractors are afraid of them because the whole force will impulsively quit work, perhaps flare into a riot, if they imagine one of their number has suffered a wrong.

The principal of a school with four hundred Sicilian pupils observes that on the playground they are at once more passionate and more vindictive than other children. The teacher "has to sit on the lid all the time." Their restlessness keeps the truant officer busy and their darting flickering attention denies them

Lack of concentration and the steady telling stroke. For all their seem- Ballast ing alertness, when at fourteen they quit school, they are rarely beyond the third or fourth grade. These people are not primitives. Their ancestors were civilized when ours went in skins. Yet if such people had populated the American colonies is it likely they would ever have given the Declaration of Independence to the world? :

3 " The Northerners seem to surpass the South Europeans in innate etiscal er:dowment. Comparison of their behavior in marine disasters shows that discipline, sense of duty, presence of mind, and consideration for the weak are much more characteristic of North Europeans. The Sth Europeans, on the other hand, are apt, in their terror, to forget d.sirline, duty, women, children, everything but the saving of their own Inves. In shipwreck, it is the exceptional Northerner who forgets his duty are the exceptional Southerner who is bound by it. The suicide of the Itaan officers on board the doomed Monte Tubur, the Votice, and the A1516, is in striking contrast to the sense of responsibility of the Northerers mn charge of the Cimbria, the Geiser, the Strathcona, and the City

Paru. Compare the mad struggle for the boats among the South Eueans on La Bourgogne, the silsa, and the l'topia, with the selfDecegion of the Scandinavian emigrants on the Il'aesland and the Demo =ark, and the consideration for women and children shown on the sinking Whegan, the l'acsland and the Titanic." Ross, The Old Il'orld in the SOT, R. 205.

11 the difference be attributed to inhibition by traditional social standards, how shall we account for the excellent behavior of American negroes in some of the disasters above mentioned?

tiveness in

but not in Kechuas

OHAP. VI

On the Andean uplands all observers are impressed by the Solf-Asser. self-assertion and strength of character of the Aymará Indians Aymarás of Bolivia as compared with the Kechuas of Peru at about the

same level of culture. The latter experienced the Inca civilization and perhaps their long subjection to the patriarchal régime of the Incas had the effect of taking the iron out of their blood. The self-assertive individuals sooner or later bumped up against the established order and came to grief, while the pliant and

docile survived and multiplied. Esthetic

As one goes about in Japan and notes the indefatigable striving ness of the for beauty among even the common people, whereas the Chinese, Japanese

the authors of the civilization the brown people borrowed, make
no great sacrifices for beauty's sake, one infers that the Japanese
inherit a specific sensitiveness to beauty. The only white people
which can be compared with them in esthetic endowment is the
French. It is perhaps significant that peoples gifted esthetically

.
are extraordinarily vibrant to sex.

Sensitive

[blocks in formation]

Long a sceptic, I have concluded that the famed “ Celtic temperament is no mere literary myth. Celtic mythology is to Norse mythology what an Orinoco jungle is to a Yukon forest. In the Sagas of Iceland the fancy never runs riot as it does in the legends of Connemara or Brittany. Compare the American-born Scandinavians with the Irish born here. Professors notice that lads of the former breed are slow to grasp the principles of the machinery explained in the college of agriculture and need a diagram to supplement oral description of a ventilating system. A physical director working among Scandinavians observes that his boy scouts can not “ size up" a camp

site till the brush had been cleared from it. His gymnasts could vian Sluggishness of not "get the hang” of the new gymnasium till the scaffolding Imagina

was down. The Scandinavian merchant is said to put little visualizing into his advertising. As business man he is a "stand patter” lacking the American's power to anticipate developments and to foresee a business where none exists. As farmer he lacks vision of the future of his soil. As investor he is unspeculative, for large remote profits do not appeal to him. As labor leader he lacks vision and idealism. As advocate he makes a hard

tion

Dess

headed plea without sentiment and as after-dinner speaker he CHAP. VI basks wit and fancy.

Scandinavians care little for the social side of their labor animns. They do not warm up to the employer who treats them "right" As teachers they do not attach their pupils to them. These unsociable sons of the North do not shine as bar tenders, salesmen, canvassers, commercial travellers or life insurance Sulicitors. Compare now the careers of those of Irish blood in the same Celtic

Fancy and American city. With their Celtic imagination as a magic glass Intuitive they see into the human heart and know just how to touch its srir.gs. No one can wheedle like an Irish beggar or “blarney de an Irish ward boss. Not only do the Irish furnish stirring crators, persuasive stump-speakers, moving pleaders, and delightbu after-dinner speechmakers, but they shine as salesmen, commercial travellers, foremen, executives, army officers, politicians, teachers and labor organizers. They succeed as trial lawyers because they can play upon the jury and are quick in thrust and garry. They abound in newspaper offices because their imaginaIyon enables them to keep“ in touch” with their readers.

If in a common environment far from their home lands these *0 stocks lead such different careers and make such different pressions upon impartial observers, there must be something in the "Celtic temperament." I believe that the innate mental azerences between Celtic Irish and " John Bull” English or beinern Bretons and Normans exceed those between the Chinese chlorth China and the old Americans.

RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN BRAIN POWER hatever be their differences on the affective side, no one can

Races Dir.

fer in InSobe that races differ in intellectual ability. Otherwise why tellectual

Power -d most unbiassed observers rafe the Chinese intellectually abuse the Japanese, the Chinese of Fokien above those of Hupeh, e la fians of Peru above the Indians of Ecuador, the Senegalese above the Guinea Negroes, the North Italians above the South Dans, the Russian Jews above the Slavic Russians, the ArTerians above the Kurds, the Arabs above the Turks? Some se these contrasts may be due to opportunity, stimulation or soSinheritance, but surely not all. Of course every stock has • enough to meet its conditions of existence, else it could not

CHAP. VI have survived; but our morons survive without aid and it may

be that some races are as far apart in capacity as the normals and the morons in our own population.

HOW WINTER PUTS A PREMIUM ON BRAINS

Winter an

It would be strange, indeed, if races were equal in intellect. Eliminator of the Un It is significant that thinking man does not develop in the humid thinking

tropics. Superior brain power appears not where Nature spreads the board but where the basis of subsistence is artificial and food getting is interrupted by winter. Among men forced off into harsh climates those would best survive who possessed the foresight and self-control to hoard stores of food to carry them thru the cold season when food was not to be collected. Those who did not foresee late-winter starvation or, foreseeing it, could not control their appetites or their laziness sufficiently to provide for meeting it, were eliminated.

LUCK AND HISTORY

The Situa tion of Peoples at the Moment Is no Safe Clue to the Comparative Brain Power of Races

This is not to endorse the doctrine of the intellectual superiority of all whites over the rest of humanity. This claim has some plausibility just now but it would have seemed absurd when the Saracenic civilization reached its climax under Harounal-Raschid or when the Chinese flowered under the Sung dynasty. Fortune has something to do with the fate of peoples. Persians and Arabs were overwhelmed by the Mongols. The Chinese have been out of luck since the Middle Ages. The Russians were held back by their exposure to the invasions of Asiatic nomads. The Armenians have had no fair chance since they fell under the Turkish yoke. The Aryans of India long ago came on evil days. Each race, then, should be appraised according to its performance at its zenith.

But on the subject of the comparative brain power of races there is nothing final to be said yet for we are on the eve of perfecting tests of mental ability and applying them on a large scale. In a few years the fog which now shrouds this question ought to be dispelled.

PUBLIC POLICIES WHICH AFFECT RACE BALANCE

Meanwhile we cannot dispense with judgments as to the relative worth of races because what we nationally do or refrain

« ForrigeFortsæt »