Saturday, February 2, 2013

How could it happen? / 13/ Some notes on scientific racism, eugenics, etc.

1.  Interesting summary re:  church and Bonhoeffer involvement against Hitler plot, here.

2.  Some points about eugenics, here.

3.  Some quotes by Margaret Sanger, here and here.

4.  On "whiteness" from Wikipedia:

The study into race and ethnicity in the 18th and 19th centuries developed into what would later be termed scientific racism. During the period of the mid-19th to mid-20th century,[25] race scientists, including most physical anthropologists classified the world's populations into three, four, or five races, which, depending on the authority consulted, were further divided into various sub-races. During this period the Caucasian race, named after people of the North Caucasus (Caucasus Mountains) but extending to all Europeans, figured as one of these races, and was incorporated as a formal category of both scientific research and, in countries including the United States, social classification.

Meyers Blitz-Lexikon (Leipzig, 1932) divides "Europäid" into various types.Heinrich Kiepert is shown.
There was never any scholarly consensus on the delineation between the Caucasian race, including the populations of Europe, and the Mongoloid one, including the populations of East Asia. Thus, Carleton S. Coon (1939) included the populations native to all of Central and Northern Asia under the Caucasian label, while Thomas Henry Huxley (1870) classified the same populations as Mongoloid, and Lothrop Stoddard (1920) excluded the populations of the Middle East and North Africa as well as those of Central Asia, classifying them as "brown", and counted as "white" only the European peoples.
Some authorities, following Huxley (1870), distinguished the Xanthochroi or "light whites" of Northern Europe with the Melanochroi or "dark whites" of the Mediterranean.

Under Hitler, by the way--so enjoyed to tell my married-into-the-family uncle-- my father's family was classified as "dark", i.e. Mediterranean type.  Indeed, there is some really dark hair there, even growing in the ears of some of the men, and in the summer they are as brown as any East Indian, for example.  Not really good Aryan stock, anyhow.  I am surprised, however, to see how these distinctions arose as kind of "science" way before Hitler's time.

5.  Polygenism is a subject which is somewhat fascinating at this point. My generation has not come into contact with these ideas, anymore, not in the countries where I have lived, though once in a while one hears that some sort of "scientist" has be silenced somewhere because he dared to compare traits and intelligence in races.  But this must have been quite a subject in different times and places.  It reminds me that until recently the American cult of Mormonism labeled the black as inferior and a black person could not become a real Mormon.

Here is what one famous polygenist said:

Regarding Negroes, Cuvier wrote:
The Negro race... is marked by black complexion, crisped of woolly hair, compressed cranium and a flat nose, The projection of the lower parts of the face, and the thick lips, evidently approximate it to the monkey tribe: the hordes of which it consists have always remained in the most complete state of barbarism.[39]

Polygenist evolution is the belief that humans evolved independently from separate species of apes. This can be traced back to Karl Vogt in 1864. Polygenist evolution allowed polygenists to link each race to an altogether different ape, this was shown in the work of Hermann Klaatsch and F. G. Crookshank.[62]Karl Vogt believed that the Negro was related to the ape. He believed the White race was a separate species to Negroes. In Chapter VII of his Lectures of man (1864) he compared the Negro to the White race whom he described as "two extreme human types". The difference between them, he claimed are greater than those between two species of ape; and this proves that Negroes are a separate species from the Whites.[63]

Yes, incredibly "scientific" ALL OF THAT.

Top all this off with Haeckel, our brilliant inventor of the embryo series, taught to children even recently (along with the white moth and peppered moth).

In contrast to most of Darwin's supporters, Ernst Haeckel put forward a doctrine of evolutionary polygenism based on the ideas of the linguist and polygenist August Schleicher, in which several different language groups had arisen separately from speechless prehuman Urmenschen, which themselves had evolved from simian ancestors. These separate languages had completed the transition from animals to man, and, under the influence of each main branch of languages, humans had evolved as separate species, which could be subdivided into races. Haeckel divided human beings into ten races, of which the Caucasian was the highest and the primitives were doomed to extinction.[69]Ernst Haeckel claimed that Negroes have stronger and more freely movable toes than any other race which is evidence that Negroes are connected to apes because when apes stop climbing in trees they hold on to the trees with their toes, Haeckel compared Negroes to "four-handed" apes. Haeckel also believed Negroes were savages and that Whites were the most civilised.[63]

Which leaves me with another question.  I wonder if Swedenborg had opinion on this. 

--Found something:   He wrote: 'Africans are the best, gentlest and most intelligent of all the gentiles ... They long for information and rejoice when they get it' (Evans 1991, 10). Again he wrote: 'because Africans are of this character (i.e. spiritual) a revelation has this day been made to them, which is spreading in all directions ... ' (Swedenborg 1771, para. 840, 387).

That sounds like a very nice thing to say.  But we do see that we have categorical statements about a race.  We have here a set of people who are seemingly more spiritual. 

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