Primitive Intelligence and Environment

Primitive Intelligence and Environment

Primitive Intelligence and Environment

Primitive Intelligence and Environment

Excerpt

For many centuries the interrelationships of peoples have been profoundly affected by the theory that the differences between races are real and of great importance. The responsibility of governing races supposedly inferior to his own is considered to be the white man's burden, and the duty has been wholeheartedly assumed all over Africa, India, the Malay Archipelago, Australia, New Guinea, and with somewhat less assurance elsewhere. It is probably no exaggeration to say that the daily lives of six hundred millions of dark-skinned people are in some way or another affected by this hypothesis.

But the theory goes further, and is made of far wider application than to the differences between white, brown and black. It extends to the various divisions of the Caucasian race. Hitler, for example, proclaims his belief that so-called Aryan people are innately superior to all others and directs his policies both domestic and foreign in accordance with that belief. The quotas established to control immigration into the United States have as their basis the idea that the peoples of northern Europe -- the Nordic sub-race -- are more desirable as potential citizens than those of the Mediterranean group. It is interesting to note that in Aristotle's time the advantage was supposed to lie the other way, for he held that though bravery and spirit could be conceded to the northerners, they were considered inferior to the Greeks in intelligence and capacity for political organization.

When extravagant or unfounded claims are made on behalf . . .

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