THE DEBATE OVER RACE:
THIRTY YEARS AND TWO CENTURIES
Larry T. Reynolds
... the new immigration, while it included many strong elements from the north of Europe, contained a large and increasing number of the weak, the broken and the mentally crippled of all races drawn from the lowest stratum of the Mediterranean basin and the Balkans together with hordes of the wretched, submerged populations of the Polish ghettoes. Our jails, insane asylums and almshouses are filled with the human flotsam and the whole tone of American life, social, moral and political has been lowered and vulgarized by them.... Nature had granted to the Americans of a century ago the greatest opportunity in recorded history to produce ... a powerful and racially homogeneous people and had provided for the experiment a pure race of one of the most gifted and vigorous stocks on earth.... Our grandfathers threw away this opportunity.
(Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race, 1924)
The following paper consists of two parts. First, there is an analysis of the way the race concept has been shaped by social influences. Emphasis is placed on the debate of the I960s concerning the validity of the idea of race. This part of the paper was originally published in 1968 and has been partly revised here. The second part of the paper reports on the passing of the great