Race and Reich: The Story of an Epoch

Race and Reich: The Story of an Epoch

Race and Reich: The Story of an Epoch

Race and Reich: The Story of an Epoch

Excerpt

race has not only been a controversial issue in community relations, but has also become a problem child of science. Few anthropologists agree on either the significance or classification of racial differentiation in man. No wonder the thought is gaining that perhaps it would be wiser to dispense with the term "race" altogether. Julian Huxley thinks that "the term race should be dropped from the vocabulary of science . . . [we should] banish the question-begging term 'race' from all discussion of human affairs, and substitute the non-committal phrase 'ethnic group.'" Franz Boas chimes in that "most anthropologists are prone to abandon the term 'race' which brings so little clarity." Unfortunately, this is not a simple question of semantics, and while science may be willing to eliminate the troublesome expression, the general usage will merely transfer the emotionally-toned cathexis of the word "race" to whatever substitute may become available. Moreover, there is still a vast field of legitimate research for the anthropologist on the subjects of genetics, race physiology and constitutional anthropology, under whatever names they may be assigned.

Now, this is not a book on racial anthropology, and it is not the author's intention to review a subject so vast and so complex in a brief introduction. On the other hand, since the Third Reich ideologically and unreservedly was based on the notion of a German (Nordic, Aryan, Teuton) race, and since the Nazis often appealed to science to sustain their pet theories, a few fundamental issues of the so-called science of race ought to be clarified before embarking on the central theme of this study.

To begin with the classification of races, the distinguished American anthropologist Roland B. Dixon, in his book The Racial History of Man, defined race as a biological group based on a community of physical characteristics. He divided the human species into eight . . .

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