Lothrop Stoddard Theodore - Racial Realities In Europe


Author : Lothrop Stoddard Theodore
Title : Racial Realities In Europe
Year : 1924

Link download : Lothrop_Stoddard_Theodore_-_Racial_Realities_In_Europe.zip

NOT long ago a well-known British scientist was showing me his collection of Egyptian antiquities. Up and down the long museum hall we strolled, gazing at the innumer able relics of a remote past. Safely ensconced in glass- covered cases, these exiles from the sunny land of the Pharaohs looked strangely alien in the gray light of a London afternoon. Presently the scientist halted before a show-case. "Here," said he, tapping the glass with his forefinger - "here is something which to a student of racial matters like yourself will be of peculiar interest." I looked. The case was filled with little heads and busts made of burnt clay, or terra-cotta. There were more than a hundred of them, neatly arranged in long rows. "These little busts," went on the scientist, "were made to represent the different types of foreigners residing in the city of Memphis shortly after the Persian conquest of Egypt, about 2,500 years ago. Apparently made for the purpose of being carried in some sacred procession, they were deposited in a shrine which was recently discovered by our excavators." I looked closer - and was filled with astonishment. Those ancient busts, modelled after men in their graves these 2,500 years, were strangely familiar. Many of them looked exactly like men who walk the earth today. There were Arabs not at all different from the Arabs whom I had seen sitting beneath their black Bedouin tents or swaying upon camels crossing the desert sands. There were Armenians indistinguishable from Armenians whom I had viewed by thousands in refugee camps throughout the Near East. There were negroes just like Georgia cotton-pickers, and there was a Jew who might have stepped in off Broadway. Furthermore, there were busts representing historic racial types such as Greeks, Persians, and Babylonians - races which no longer exist, yet whose appearance is known to us from statuary and kindred relics come down to us from ancient times. Those old Greeks and Persians depicted in the busts were instantly recognizable as the same breeds of men sculptured on the friezes of the Athenian Parthenon and on the bas-reliefs of Persia's ruined capital, Persepolis. On the contrary, the busts did not in the least resemble modern Greeks and Persians - peoples which, though bearing the same names, have practically none of the ancient blood. Lastly, there were a few busts depicting racial types which have perished without leaving even a historic memory, so that to-day we have no idea of who they were or whence they came. To my mind that series of little heads and busts, fashioned by the deft fingers of old Egyptian craftsmen, is a most striking illustration of the mighty drama of man's racial life athwart the ages. Just think of it! Here we have a series of statuettes showing the various types of foreigners who walked the streets of an ancient Egyptian city. Pass 2,500 years, and what do we find? We find that some of those race types still survive relatively unchanged; that others have perished, leaving their names but not their blood; and that still others have vanished so utterly that not even a memory of them remains. And all this in 2,500 years! What rapid changes! Does that last remark sound strange? Let us, then, remember that man has probably existed for something like 500,000 years. Comparing man's race life with man's individual life, what signifies a couple of thousand years? Yes, for 500,000 years men have walked the earth - men of all sorts and conditions, of the most varied appearance and capacity. And for untold ages men have been divided into sharply marked races, ranging all the way from types so primitive that they looked like apes up to types such as the ancient Greeks, who were certainly handsomer and probably much more intelligent than any human stock now alive. And the great drama of man's race life still unfolds, never more intensely than to-day. More and more we are coming to realize the fundamental importance of race in human affairs. More and more we see that the racial factor lies behind most of the world's problems. This is not solely an academic matter to be left for the consideration of scientists and historians; on the contrary, it is about the livest, most practical subject that can engage the attention of thinking men and women to-day. A general understanding of racial matters is necessary for an intelligent appreciation of current events. Would you understand what is happening in the world, why nations act as they do, what their relations are to America, and what our policy should be toward them? You cannot fully understand these things unless you have some general idea of the racial factors involved. And, unless you thus understand, you cannot act so successfully and efficiently in your own every-day activities, whether you be banker, manufacturer, politician, farmer, professional man or wage-earner. Directly or indirectly, these things touch us one and all, both in our common capacity as citizens and in our private capacity as individuals. Especially do we need to regard the racial factor when considering Europe, because hitherto in considering European affairs that factor has been disregarded. When we look at other parts of the world, racial distinctions leap to the eye and the racial factor obtains proper recognition. Who can think of China, India, Mexico, Africa, without instantly sensing the significance of race? When we turn to Europe, however, we do not at first glance get any such clear-cut impression. Of course we may realize in a general way that inborn distinctions exist between the inhabitants of various European countries, that Swedes differ markedly from Spaniards, say, or Russians from Englishmen. Still, even then, we are apt to think of such differences not so much in terms of race as in terms of other things, like nationality, language, religion, and culture. We look at the political map of Europe and there find a continent divided into a number of national states with sharply defined political frontiers, jealously independent of one another, emphasizing their respective policies, languages, manners, and customs. We see them engaged in bitter rivalries and fighting bloody wars over just such things. What wonder if we come to feel that those are the things which really matter, that by comparison other elements in Europe's problems may be relatively disregarded? And yet, is this true? Are there not other factors, deep-seated but powerful, working behind the scenes? Assuredly there is one such - race. The discoveries of modem science reveal more and more clearly the fundamental importance of race in human affairs. Of course there are other basic factors to be considered, like climate and soil. Yet even these are not so universal in their effects as race, which subtly but inevitably influences every phase of human existence. Whoever begins looking at Europe from the racial angle is astonished at the new light thrown upon its problems, at the apparent mysteries that are explained, at the former riddles that are solved. Europe's seemingly tangled history grows much simpler, while present-day conditions become more understandable. Look at a race map of Europe. How it differs from the political maps we are accustomed to see! Gone are all those intricate national frontiers. Instead of a Europe split into many states, we see a Europe inhabited by three races. These races are known as the Nordic race, the Alpine race, and the Mediterranean race. They have all been in Europe for thousands of years, and to them the great bulk of Europe's present inhabitants belong. Only in Eastern Europe do we find a perceptible admixture of Asiatic elements, while in Southern Europe we discover certain infusions of negroid African blood. Both these alien elements have, however, entered Europe in relatively recent historic times. ...

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