Eugenics and Mongrelization [Letter and Response]

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Letters, Media Archive, United States on 2011-11-28 03:57Z by Steven

Eugenics and Mongrelization [Letter and Response]

The Eugenics Review
Volume 32, Number 1 (April 1940)
pages 28-30

To the Editor, Eugenics Review

SIR, In order that the eugenics movement shall advance successfully, the eugenics organizations must dissociate their endeavours from the widespread propaganda for race amalgamation and mongrelization. There is little wisdom in breeding selectively among individuals if the results are to be nullified by indiscriminate mixing of the races. Nearly all the arguments against the existence of different races are coming from spokesmen for races that desire admixture to, and absorption by the white race, or Aryan race, using the name in the newer adapted sense. The arguments have utterly failed to change the truth that there are at least three great races-the whites, or Aryans; the Mongolians; and the Negroes. The Jews may be regarded as a sub-race that in some degree, or at least in some countries, may be absorbed by other races.

There has been vastly less race mixture in the northern hemisphere than the amalgamation exponents contend. The United States is not a nation of mixed races, as some writers allege. There has been a small admixture of American Indian and Mexican in some of the western states, and a small admixture of Jews in some of the cities. There are about twelve million Negroes, who have a small fraction of widely diffused white blood, due mainly to miscegnation on the southern plantations before the Civil War. But there is practically no Negro blood in the one hundred and ten million whites, who are almost purely of European descent and have absolutely no intention of amalgamating with the Negroes.

The white race is unquestionably uniquely beautiful and is in many respects of superior intelligence. To mix the white features with other races would destroy the white beauty for ever. The white race should maintain its purity and should further develop its characteristics…

…The mixing of races would produce mongrels lacking the distinctive qualities and values of all races. Eugenics means, not only breeding from the superior and eliminating the unfit among individuals, but also similar procedure as between the races. The white race idealizes a pure white race and further development of its characteristics. There can be no idealization of a mongrel humanity, except among races that desire admixture with whites and thus acknowledge a belief in their own inferiority. This has been the almost universal attitude of the white race, at least in the United States. The cruel persecution of the Jews in Germany caused a temporary reaction in favour of race solidarity, but with the adjustment of the Jewish problem in some manner, the real attitude of the white race will become more outspoken and unmistakable. The eugenics organizations must act along these lines, else their efforts will fail and new organizations will be formed to strive for the true eugenic ideals.

1510 Lincoln Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio, U.S.A.

[Response from the Editor]

Some of the statements in the above letter must not be allowed to pass without comment. The implication in the first sentence, that the eugenics movement associates its endeavours with “propaganda for race amalgamation and mongrelization” is, as far as this country is concerned, a travesty of the facts. We should be much surprised to learn that it is true of the eugenics movement in any country. The views of this Society, as set forth in its Statement of Aims and Objects, is  “that further knowledge of the results of such crosses is needed in order to distinguish between the effects of unfavourable hereditary and environmental influences and to frame a practical eugenic policy.” This does not mean that we do not share Mr. Eshleman’s disquietude at the “indiscriminate mixing of the races,” but we should regard it as a nice question whether that is any more undesirable than the indiscriminate mating of persons belonging to the same race.

The assumption in the second paragraph would almost certainly be rejected by most competent anthropologists to-day. The plain fact that there is no such thing as an Aryan race is in no way altered by the device of using “Aryan” in its ” newly adapted sense.” The only assemblage of human beings to which this purely linguistic term may be applied is the heterogenous body of ethnic and national groups who share the common peculiarity of speaking the Aryan or Indo-European languages. The “great white race” represents in fact a somewhat elastic conception, but however arbitrarily its limits are defined it is difficult to see how they could exclude the majority of Jews. The fact, however, that they would certainly not include the indigenous Jewish communities which exist in both Abyssinia and China is an indication of how far-to quote Huxley and Haddon—”the term Jew is valid more as a socio-religious or pseudonational description than as an ethnic term in any genetic sense.”

The claim that “there has been vastly less race mixture in the northern hemisphere” than is sometimes alleged, may be questioned in the light of some data which have been submitted to us for publication by Mr. J. C. Trevor, formerly one of the Eugenics Society’s Darwin Research Fellows and now University Lecturer in Anthropology at Cambridge. In Mr. Trevor’s paper, for which we hope to find room in our next issue, the ratio of mixed bloods (i.e. persons of partly European and partly non-European stock) to the total population of the United States is given as slightly over 7 per cent, Admittedly this figure can at best be only an approximation, but including as it does in its basis Kuczynski’s statement that to count 6o per cent of the negro inhabitants of that country as mulatto would be “a most conservative estimate,” it is more likely to understate the facts than overstate them. It is noteworthy that according to an eminent American scholar, the number of negroes of full blood was unduly exaggerated in the 1920 U.S. census, the last in which an attempt was made to assess the mulatto element by itself. And it need hardly be added that the familiar phenomenon of “passing for white,” with its inevitable consequences, must not be overlooked in examining the contention that “there is practically no negro blood in the one hundred and ten million whites.”…

Read the entire letter and response here.

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