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Boas, Franz. Race, Language and Culture – T01


Race and Progress 1

Permit me to call your attention to the scientific aspects of a problem
that has been for a long time agitating our country and which,
on account of its social and economic implications, has given rise to
strong emotional reactions and has led to varied types of legislation. I
refer to the problems due to the intermingling of racial types.

If we wish to reach a reasonable attitude, it is necessary to separate
clearly the biological and psychological aspects from the social and economic
implications of this problem. Furthermore, the social motivation
of what is happening must be looked at not from the narrow point of
view of our present conditions but from a wider angle.

The facts with which we are dealing are diverse. The plantation
system of the South brought to our shores a large Negro population.
Considerable mixture between White masters and slave women occurred
during the period of slavery, so that the number of pure Negroes was
dwindling continually and the colored population gradually became
lighter. A certain amount of intermingling between White and Indian
took place, but in the United States and Canada this has never occurred
to such a degree that it became an important social phenomenon. In
Mexico and many parts of Central and South America it is the most
typical case of race contact and race mixture. With the development of
immigration the people of eastern and southern Europe were attracted
to our country and form now an important part of our population.
They differ in type somewhat among themselves, although the racial
contrasts are much less than those between Indians or Negroes and
Whites. Through Mexican and West Indian immigration another
group has come into our country, partly of South European, partly of
mixed Negro and mixed Indian descent. To all these must be added the
East Asiatic groups, Chinese, Japanese and Filipinos, who play a particularly
important rôle on the Pacific Coast.3

The first point in regard to which we need clarification refers to the
significance of the term race. In common parlance when we speak of
a race we mean a group of people that have certain bodily and perhaps
also mental characteristics in common. The Whites, with their light
skin, straight or wavy hair and high nose, are a race set off clearly from
the Negroes with their dark skin, frizzly hair and flat nose. In regard to
these traits the two races are fundamentally distinct. Not quite so
definite is the distinction between East Asiatics and European types,
because transitional forms do occur among normal White individuals,
such as flat faces, straight black hair and eye forms resembling the East
Asiatic types; and conversely European-like traits are found among
East Asiatics. For Negro and White we may speak of hereditary racial
traits so far as these radically distinct features are concerned. For Whites
and East Asiatics the difference is not quite so absolute, because a few
individuals may be found in each race for whom the racial traits do not
hold good, so that in a strict sense we cannot speak of absolutely valid
hereditary racial traits.

This condition prevails to a much more marked extent among the
different, so-called races of Europe. We are accustomed to speak of a
Scandinavian as tall, blond and blue-eyed, of a South Italian as short,
swarthy and dark-eyed; of a Bohemian as middle-sized, with brown or
gray eyes and wide face and straight hair. We are apt to construct ideal
local types which are based on our everyday experience, abstracted from
a combination of forms that are most frequently seen in a given locality,
and we forget that there are numerous individuals for whom this description
does not hold true. It would be a rash undertaking to determine
the locality in which a person is born solely from his bodily
characteristics. In many cases we may be helped in such a determination
by manners of wearing the hair, peculiar mannerisms of motion,
and by dress, but these are not to be mistaken for essential hereditary
traits. In populations of various parts of Europe many individuals may
be found that may as well belong to one part of the continent as to another.
There is no truth in the contention so often made that two Englishmen
are more alike in bodily form than, let us say, an Englishman
and a German. A greater number of forms may be duplicated in the
narrower area, but similar forms may be found in all parts of the continent.
There is an overlapping of bodily form between the local groups.
It is not justifiable to assume that the individuals that do not fit into
the ideal local type which we construct from general impressions are
4foreign elements in the population, that their presence is always due to
intermixture with alien types. It is a fundamental characteristic of all
local populations that the individuals differ among themselves, and a
closer study shows that this is true of animals as well as of men. It is,
therefore, not quite proper to speak in these cases of traits that are
hereditary in the racial type as a whole, because too many of them
occur also in other racial types. Hereditary racial traits should be shared
by the whole population so that it is set off against others.

The matter is quite different when individuals are studied as members
of their own family lines. Racial heredity implies that there must
be a unity of descent, that there must have existed at one time a small
number of ancestors of definite bodily form, from whom the present
population has descended. It is quite impossible to reconstruct this
ancestry through the study of a modern population, but the study of
families extending over several generations is often possible. Whenever
this study has been undertaken we find that the family lines represented
in a single population differ very much among themselves. In isolated
communities where the same families have intermarried for generations
the differences are less than in larger communities. We may say that
every racial group consists of a great many family lines which are distinct
in bodily form. Some of these family lines are duplicated in neighboring
territories and the more duplication exists the less is it possible
to speak of fundamental racial characteristics. These conditions are so
manifest in Europe that all we can do is to study the frequency of occurrence
of various family lines all over the continent. The differences
between the family lines belonging to each larger area are much greater
than the differences between the populations as a whole.

Although it is not necessary to consider the great differences in type
that occur in a population as due to mixture of different types, it is
easy to see that intermingling has played an important part in the history
of modern populations. Let us recall to our minds the migrations
that occurred in early times in Europe, when the Kelts of Western
Europe swept over Italy and eastward to Asia Minor; when the Teutonic
tribes migrated from the Black Sea westward into Italy, Spain
and even into North Africa; when the Slav expanded northeastward
over Russia, and southward into the Balkan Peninsula; when the Moors
held a large part of Spain, when Roman and Greek slaves disappeared
in the general population, and when Roman colonization affected a
large part of the Mediterranean area. It is interesting to note that
5Spain's greatness followed the period of greatest race mixture, that its
decline set in when the population became stable and immigration
stopped. This might give us pause when we speak about the dangers of
the intermingling of European types. What is happening in America
now is the repetition on a larger scale and in a shorter time of what
happened in Europe during the centuries when the people of northern
Europe were not yet firmly attached to the soil.

The actual occurrence of intermingling leads us to consider what the
biological effect of intermixture of different types may be. Much light
has been shed on this question through the intensive study of the phenomena
of heredity. It is true we are hampered in the study of heredity
in man by the impossibility of experimentation, but much can be learned
from observation and through the application of studies of heredity in
animals and plants. One fact stands out clearly. When two individuals
are mated and there is a very large number of offspring and when furthermore
there is no disturbing environmental factor, then the distribution
of different forms in the offspring is determined by the genetic
characteristics of the parents. What may happen after thousands of
generations have passed does not concern us here.

Our previous remarks regarding the characteristics of local types
show that matings between individuals essentially different in genetic
type must occur in even the most homogeneous population. If it could
be shown, as is sometimes claimed, that the progeny of individuals of
decidely distinct proportions of the body would be what has been called
disharmonic in character, this would occur with considerable frequency
in every population, for we do find individuals, let us say, with large
jaws and large teeth and those with small jaws and small teeth. If it is
assumed that in the later offspring these conditions might result in a combination
of small jaws and large teeth a disharmony would develop.
We do not know that this actually occurs. It merely illustrates the line
of reasoning. In matings between various European groups these conditions
would not be materially changed, although greater differences
between parents would be more frequent than in a homogeneous population.

The essential question to be answered is whether we have any evidence
that would indicate that matings between individuals of different
descent and different type would result in a progeny less vigorous than
that of their ancestors. We have not had any opportunity to observe
any degeneracy in man as clearly due to this cause. The high nobility
6of all parts of Europe can be shown to be of very mixed origin. French,
German and Italian urban populations are derived from all the distinct
European types. It would be difficult to show that any degeneracy that
may exist among them is due to an evil effect of intermating. Biological
degeneracy is found rather in small districts of intense inbreeding. Here
again it is not so much a question of type, but of the presence of pathological
conditions in the family strains, for we know of many perfectly
healthy and vigorous intensely inbred communities. We find these
among the Eskimos and also among many primitive tribes among whom
cousin marriages are prescribed by custom.

These remarks do not touch upon the problem of the effect of intermarriages
upon bodily form, health and vigor of crosses between races
that are biologically more distinct than the types of Europe. It is not
quite easy to give absolutely conclusive evidence in regard to this question.
Judging merely on the basis of anatomical features and health conditions
of mixed populations there does not seem to be any reason to
assume unfavorable results, either in the first or in later generations of
offspring. The mixed descendants of Europeans and American Indians
are taller and more fertile than the pureblood Indians. They are even
taller than either parental race. The mixed blood Dutch and Hottentot
of South Africa and the Malay mixed bloods of the Island of Kisar
are in type intermediate between the two races, and do not exhibit any
traits of degeneracy. The populations of the Sudan, mixtures of Mediterranean
and Negro types, have always been characterized by great
vigor. There is also little doubt that in eastern Russia a considerable
infusion of Asiatic blood has occurred. The biological observations on
our North American mulattoes do not convince us that there is any
deleterious effect of race mixture so far as it is evident in anatomical
form and function.

It is also necessary to remember that in varying environment human
forms are not absolutely stable, and many of the anatomical traits of
the body are subject to a limited amount of change according to climate
and conditions of life. We have definite evidence showing changes of
bodily size. The stature in European populations has increased materially
since the middle of the nineteenth century. War and starvation
have left their effects upon the children growing up in the second decade
of our century. Proportions of the body change with occupation. The
forms of the hand of the laborer and that of the musician reflect their
occupations. The changes in head form that have been observed are
7analogous to those observed in animals under varying conditions of life,
among lions born in captivity or among rats fed with different types of
diet. The extent to which geographical and social environment may
change bodily form is not known, but the influences of outer conditions
have to be taken into consideration when comparing different human

Selective processes are also at work in changing the character of a
population. Differential birth-rate, mortality and migration may bring
about changes in the hereditary composition of a group. The range of
such changes is limited by the range of variation within the original
population. The importance of selection upon the character of a population
is easily overestimated. It is true enough that certain defects are
transmitted by heredity, but it cannot be proved that a whole population
degenerates physically by the numerical increase of degenerates.
These always include the physically unfit, and others, the victims of circumstances.
The economic depression of our days shows clearly how
easily perfectly competent individuals may be brought into conditions
of abject poverty and under stresses that only the most vigorous minds
can withstand successfully. Equally unjustified is the opinion that
war, the struggle between national groups, is a selective process which is
necessary to keep mankind on the onward march. Sir Arthur Keith,
only a week ago, in his rectoral address at the University of Aberdeen is
reported to have said that “Nature keeps her human orchard healthy
by pruning and war is her pruning hook.” I do not see how such a
statement can be justified in any way. War eliminates the physically
strong, war increases all the devastating scourges of mankind such as
tuberculosis and genital diseases, war weakens the growing generation.
History shows that energetic action of masses may be released not only
by war but also by other forces. We may not share the fervor or believe
in the stimulating ideals; the important point is to observe that they
may arouse the same kind of energy that is released in war. Such a
stimulus was the abandonment to religion in the middle ages, such is
the abandonment of modern Russian youths to their ideal.

So far we have discussed the effects of heredity, environment and
selection upon bodily form. We are not so much concerned with the
form of the body as with its functions, for in the life of a nation the
activities of the individual count rather than his appearance. There is
no doubt in my mind that there is a very definite association between
the biological make-up of the individual and the physiological and psychological
8functioning of his body. The claim that only social and other
environmental conditions determine the reactions of the individual disregards
the most elementary observations, like differences in heart beat,
basal metabolism or gland development; and mental differences in
their relation to extreme anatomical disturbances of the nervous system.
There are organic reasons why individuals differ in their mental behavior.

But to acknowledge this fact does not mean that all differences of
behavior can be adequately explained on a purely anatomical basis.
When the human body has reached maturity, its form remains fairly
stable until the changes due to increasing age set in. Under normal
conditions the form and the chemical constitution of the adult body
remain almost stable for a number of years. Not so with bodily functions.
The conditions of life vary considerably. Our heart beat is different
in sleep and in waking. It depends upon the work we are doing,
the altitude in which we live, and upon many other factors. It may,
therefore, well be that the same individual under different conditions
will show quite different reactions. It is the same with other bodily
functions. The action of our digestive tract depends upon the quality
and quantity of the food we consume. In short, the physiological reactions
of the body are markedly adjusted to conditions of life. Owing
to this many individuals of different organic structure when exposed to
the same environmental conditions will assume a certain degree of
similarity of reaction.

On the whole it is much easier to find decided differences between
races in bodily form than in function. It cannot be claimed that the
body in all races functions in an identical way, but that kind of overlapping
which we observed in form is even more pronounced in function.
It is quite impossible to say that, because some physical function,
let us say the heart beat, has a certain measure, the individual must be
White or Negro — for the same rates are found in both races. A certain
basal metabolism does not show that a person is a Japanese or a White,
although the averages of all the individuals in the races compared may
exhibit differences. Furthermore, the particular function is so markedly
modified by the demands made upon the organism that these will make
the reactions of the racial groups living under the same conditions
markedly alike. Every organ is capable of adjustment to a fairly wide
range of conditions, and thus the conditions will determine to a great
extent the kind of reaction.9

What is true of physiological function is equally true of mental function.
There exists an enormous amount of literature dealing with mental
characteristics of races. The blond North-Europeans, South Italians,
Jews, Negroes, Indians, Chinese have been described as though
their mental characteristics were biologically determined. It is true,
each population has a certain character that is expressed in its behavior,
so that there is a geographical distribution of types of behavior. At the
same time we have a geographical distribution of anatomical types, and
as a result we find that a selected population can be described as having
a certain anatomical type and a certain kind of behavior. This, however,
does not justify us in claiming that the anatomical type determines
behavior. A great error is committed when we allow ourselves to draw
this inference. First of all it would be necessary to prove that the correlation
between bodily form and behavior is absolute, that it is valid
not only for the selected spot, but for the whole population of the given
type, and, conversely, that the same behavior does not occur when the
types of bodily build differ. Secondly, it would have to be shown that
there is an inner relation between the two phenomena.

I might illustrate this by an example taken from an entirely different
field. A particular country has a specific climate and particular geological
formation. In the same country is found a certain flora. Nevertheless,
the character of soil and climate does not explain the composition
of the flora, except in so far as it depends upon these two factors.
Its composition depends upon the whole historical evolution of plant
forms all over the world. The single fact of an agreement of distribution
does not prove a genetic relation between the two sets of observations.
Negroes in Africa have long limbs and a certain kind of mental behavior.
It does not follow that the long limbs are in any way the cause of their
mental behavior. The very point to be proved is assumed as proved in
this kind of argumentation.

A scientific solution of this problem requires a different line of approach.
Mental activities are functions of the organism. We have seen
that physiological functions of the same organism may vary greatly
under varying conditions. Is the case of mental reactions different?
While the study of cretins and of men of genius shows that biological
differences exist which limit the type of individual behavior, this has
little bearing upon the masses constituting a population in which great
varieties of bodily structure prevail. We have seen that the same physiological
functions occur in different races with varying frequency, but
10that no essential qualitative differences can be established. The question
must be asked whether the same conditions prevail in mental life.

If it were possible to subject two populations of different type to
the same outer conditions the answer would not be difficult. The obstacle
in our way lies in the impossibility of establishing sameness of conditions.
Investigators differ fundamentally in their opinion in regard
to the question of what constitutes sameness of conditions, and our attention
must be directed, therefore, to this question.

If we could show how people of exactly the same biological composition
react in different types of environment, much might be gained.
It seems to me that the data of history create a strong presumption in
favor of material changes of mental behavior among peoples of the
same genetic composition. The free and easy English of Elizabethan
times contrast forcibly with the prudish Mid-Victorian; the Norse Viking
and the modern Norwegian do not impress us as the same; the stern
Roman republican and his dissolute descendant of imperial times present
striking contrasts.

But we need more tangible evidence. At least in so far as intelligent
reaction to simple problems of everyday life is concerned, we may bring
forward a considerable amount of experimental evidence that deals
with this problem. We do not need to assume that our modern intelligence
tests give us a clue to absolutely biologically determined intelligence — whatever
that may mean — they certainly do tell us how individuals
react to simple, more or less unfamiliar, situations. At a first
glance it would seem that very important racial differences are found.
I refer to the many comparative tests of the intelligence of individuals of
various European types and of Europeans and Negroes. North Europeans
tested in our country were found as a whole decidedly superior
to South Europeans, Europeans as a whole to Negroes. The question
arises, what does this mean? If there is a real difference determined by
race, we should find the same kind of difference between these racial
types wherever they live. Professor Garth has recently collected the
available evidence and reaches the conclusion that it is not possible to
prove a difference due to genetic factors, that rather all the available
observations may be easily explained as due to differences in social environment.
It seems to me the most convincing proof of the correctness
of this view has been given by Dr. Klineberg, who examined the various
outstanding European types in urban and rural communities in Europe.
He found that there is everywhere a marked contrast between rural and
11urban populations, the city giving considerably better results than the
country and that furthermore the various groups do not follow by any
means the same order in city and country; that the order rather depends
upon social conditions, such as the excellence of the school systems and
conflicts between home and school. Still more convincing are his observations
on Negroes. He examined a considerable number of Negroes in
southern cities who had moved to the city from rural districts. He found
that the longer they lived in the city the better the results of the tests
came to be, so that Negroes who had lived in the city for six years were
far superior to those who had just moved to the city. He found the same
result when studying Negroes who had moved from the south to New
York, an improvement with the time of residence in New York. This
result agrees with Brigham's findings for Italians who had lived for
varying periods in the United States. It has often been claimed, as was
done in the beginning by Brigham, that such changes are due to a process
of selection, that more poorly endowed individuals have migrated
to the country in late years and represent the group that has just come to
the city. It would be difficult to maintain this in view of the regularity
with which this phenomenon reappears in every test. Still, Dr. Klineberg
has also given definite evidence that selection does not account for
these differences. He compared the records of the migrating groups
with those who remained behind. The records collected in Nashville
and Birmingham showed that there is no appreciable difference between
the two groups. The migrants were even a little below those who stayed
at home. He also found that the migrants who came to New York were
slightly inferior to those who remained in the South.

I have given these data in some detail, because they show definitely
that cultural environment is a most important factor in determining
the results of the so-called intelligence tests. In fact, a careful examination
of the tests shows clearly that in none of them has our cultural
experience been eliminated. City life and country life, the South and
the North present different types of cultural background to which we
learn to adapt ourselves, and our reactions are determined by these
adaptations, which are often so obscure that they can be detected only
by a most intimate knowledge of the conditions of life. We have indications
of such adaptations in other cases. It would seem that among
the Plains Indians the experience of girls with bead work gives to them
a superiority in handling tests based on form. It is highly desirable that
the tests should be examined with greatest care in regard to the indirect
12influence of experience upon the results. I suspect strongly that such
influences can always be discovered and that it will be found impossible
to construct any test in which this element is so completely eliminated
that we could consider the results as an expression of purely biologically
determined factors.

It is much more difficult to obtain convincing results in regard to
emotional reactions in different races. No satisfactory experimental
method has been devised that would answer the crucial question, in how
far cultural background and in how far the biological basis of personality
is responsible for observed differences. There is no doubt that individuals
do differ in this respect on account of their biological constitution.
It is very questionable whether the same may be said of races, for in all
races we find a wide range of different types of personality. All that
we can say with certainty is that the cultural factor is of greatest importance
and might well account for all the observed differences, although
this does not preclude the possibility of biologically determined
differences. The variety of response of groups of the same race but culturally
different is so great that it seems likely that any existing biological
differences are of minor importance. I can give only a few instances.
The North American Indians are reputed as stoic, as ready to endure
pain and torture without a murmur. This is true in all those cases in
which culture demands repression of emotion. The same Indians, when
ill, give in to hopeless depression. Among closely related Indian tribes
certain ones are given to ecstatic orgies, while others enjoy a life running
in smooth conventional channels. The buffalo hunter was an entirely
different personality from the poor Indian who has to rely on government
help, or who lives on the proceeds of land rented by his White
neighbors. Social workers are familiar with the subtle influence of
personal relations that will differentiate the character of members of
the same family. Ethnological evidence is all in favor of the assumption
that hereditary racial traits are unimportant as compared to cultural
conditions. As a matter of fact, ethnological studies do not concern
themselves with race as a factor in cultural form. From Waitz on,
through Spencer, Tylor, Bastian, to our times, ethnologists have not
given serious attention to race, because they find cultural forms distributed
regardless of race.

I believe the present state of our knowledge justifies us in saying that,
while individuals differ, biological differences between races are small.
There is no reason to believe that one race is by nature so much more
13intelligent, endowed with great will power, or emotionally more stable
than another, that the difference would materially influence its culture.
Nor is there any good reason to believe that the differences between
races are so great that the descendants of mixed marriages would be
inferior to their parents. Biologically there is no good reason to object
to fairly close inbreeding in healthy groups, nor to intermingling of the
principal races.

I have considered so far only the biological side of the problem. In
actual life we have to reckon with social settings which have a very real
existence, no matter how erroneous the opinions on which they are
founded. Among us race antagonism is a fact, and we should try to
understand its psychological significance. For this purpose we have to
consider the behavior not only of man, but also of animals. Many animals
live in societies. It may be a shoal of fish which any individuals of
the same species may join, or a swarm of mosquitoes. No social tie is
apparent in these groups, but there are others which we may call closed
societies that do not permit any outsider to join their group. Packs of
dogs and well-organized herds of higher mammals, ants and bees are
examples of this kind. In all these groups there is a considerable degree
of social solidarity which is expressed particularly by antagonism against
any outside group. The troops of monkeys that live in a given territory
will not allow another troop to come and join them. The members
of a closed animal society are mutually tolerant or even helpful. They
repel all outside intruders.

Conditions in primitive society are quite similar. Strict social obligations
exist between the members of a tribe, but all outsiders are enemies.
Primitive ethics demand self-sacrifice in the group to which the individual
belongs, deadly enmity against every outsider. A closed society
does not exist without antagonisms against others. Although the degree
of antagonism against outsiders has decreased, closed societies continue
to exist in our own civilization. The nobility formed a closed society
until very recent times. Patricians and plebeians in Rome, Greeks and
barbarians, the gangs of our streets, Mohammedan and infidel, and our
modern nations are in this sense closed societies that cannot exist without
antagonisms. The principles that hold societies together vary
enormously, but common to all of them are social obligations within
the group, antagonisms against other parallel groups.

Race consciousness and race antipathy differ in one respect from the
14social groups here enumerated. While in all other human societies there
is no external characteristic that helps to assign an individual to his
group, here his very appearance singles him out. If the belief should
prevail, as it once did, that all red-haired individuals have an undesirable
character, they would at once be segregated and no red-haired
individual could escape from his class no matter what his personal
characteristics might be. The Negro, the East Asiatic or Malay who
may at once be recognized by his bodily build is automatically placed in
his class and not one of them can escape being excluded from a foreign
closed group. The same happens when a group is characterized by dress
imposed by circumstances, by choice, or because a dominant group
prescribe for them a distinguishing symbol — like the garb of the medieval
Jews or the stripes of the convict — so that each individual no matter
what his own character may be, is at once assigned to his group
and treated accordingly. If racial antipathy were based on innate human
traits this would be expressed in interracial sexual aversion. The
free intermingling of slave owners with their female slaves and the
resulting striking decrease in the number of full-blood Negroes, the progressive
development of a half-blood Indian population and the readiness
of intermarriage with Indians when economic advantages may be
gained by such means, show clearly that there is no biological foundation
for race feeling. There is no doubt that the strangeness of an alien
racial type does play an important role, for the ideal of beauty of the
White who grows up in a purely White society is different from that of a
Negro. This again is analogous to the feeling of aloofness among groups
that are characterized by different dress, different mannerisms of expression
of emotion, or by the ideal of bodily strength as against that of
refinement of form. The student of race relations must answer the
question whether in societies in which different racial types form a
socially homogeneous group, a marked race consciousness develops.
This question cannot be answered categorically, although interracial
conditions in Brazil and the disregard of racial affiliation in the relation
between Mohammedans and infidels show that race consciousness may
be quite insignificant.

When social divisions follow racial lines, as they do among ourselves,
the degree of difference between racial forms is an important element in
establishing racial groupings and in creating racial conflicts.

The actual relation is not different from that developing in other
15cases in which social cleavage develops. In times of intense religious
feeling denominational conflicts, in times of war national conflicts take
the same course. The individual is merged in his group and not rated
according to his personal value.

However, nature is such that constantly new groups are formed in
which each individual subordinates himself to the group. He expresses
his feeling of solidarity by an idealization of his group and by an emotional
desire for its perpetuation. When the groups are denominational,
there is strong antagonism against marriages outside of the group. The
group must be kept pure, although denomination and descent are in no
way related. If the social groups are racial groups we encounter in the
same way the desire for racial endogamy in order to maintain racial

On this subject I take issue with Sir Arthur Keith, who in the address
already referred to is reported to have said that “race antipathy and
race prejudice nature has implanted in you for her own end — the improvement
of mankind through racial differentiation.” I challenge
him to prove that race antipathy is “implanted by nature” and not the
effect of social causes which are active in every closed social group, no
matter whether it is racially heterogeneous or homogeneous. The complete
lack of sexual antipathy, the weakening of race consciousness in
communities in which children grow up as an almost homogeneous
group; the occurrence of equally strong antipathies between denominational
groups, or between social strata — as witnessed by the Roman
patricians and plebeians, the Spartan Lacedaemonians and Helots, the
Egyptian castes and some of the Indian castes — all these show that
antipathies are social phenomena. If you will, you may call them “implanted
by nature,” but only in so far as man is a being living in closed
social groups, leaving it entirely indetermined what these social groups
may be.

No matter how weak the case for racial purity may be, we understand
its social appeal in our society. While the biological reasons that are
adduced may not be relevant, a stratification of society in social groups
that are racial in character will always lead to racial discrimination.
As in all other sharp social groupings the individual is not judged as an
individual but as a member of his class. W e may be reasonably certain
that whenever members of different races form a single social group
with strong bonds, racial prejudice and racial antagonisms will come to
16lose their importance. They may even disappear entirely. As long as
we insist on a stratification in racial layers, we shall pay the penalty in
the form of interracial struggle. Will it be better for us to continue as
we have been doing, or shall we try to recognize the conditions that lead
to the fundamental antagonisms that trouble us?17

1 Address of the president of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, Pasadena, June 15. Science, N.S., vol. 74 (1931),pp. 1-8.