Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/479

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A WORLD-WIDE COLOR LINE

To these influences should be added the diseases, before unknown, which the whites have carried with them. Tuberculosis, small-pox, syphilis and alcoholism have proved peculiarly destructive to primitive peoples accustomed to a mode of life which brings the effect of such diseases to a maximum. Until proper medical service and adequate sanitary safeguards are secured, this heavy penalty for the fruits of civilization must continue to be paid. The change to a settled, orderly mode of living and to a new food economy may also often bring about a physical deterioration as baneful as specific diseases.

European colonization in regions occupied by backward races often results in the violent destruction of native populations in the struggle for territory. The Dutch settlers in South Africa are said to have regarded "shooting off the black stuff" as their first task in fitting the land for occupation. Whatever the government may have intended, it is certain that the English colonists in Australia have in many instances deliberately slaughtered the blacks on the pretext of safety. Writing of conditions as they existed thirty years ago, Carl Lumholtz says:

There are instances where the young men of the station have employed the Sunday in hunting the blacks, not only for some definite purpose, but also for the sake of the sport; the blacks have been killed by poison. A squatter at Long Lagoon in the interior of Queensland achieved notoriety by laying strychnine for the blacks, and thus taking the life of a large number in a single day. . . . The result of this is that in the frontier districts there is still being waged a war of extermination between the two races. Any savage discovered by the white man runs the risk of being shot. Poison was laid in the way of the blacks once while I was in Queensland.[1]

In certain instances like Tasmania and Cuba, European colonization has led to the complete extinction of the aboriginal population as a separate group, and in other instances, like those of the Maoris of New Zealand and the Hottentots, the native population has been very greatly depleted. Most of these disastrous results have come to peoples, generally blacks, in the lowest stages of culture. Where the aborigines are more advanced and hence more pliable they have usually profited by contact with Europeans. As a consequence several colored races are now enjoying considerable prosperity, due to the removal of the worst checks to their growth. The negroid peoples exhibit an amazing power of multiplication when protected from destructive forces. Negrophobe critics are wont to go so far as to hold that this is the sole important capacity which the blacks possess. The race is taunted with being by nature and capacity proletarii in the most primitive sense of the term—mere breeders.

While the yellow races are not so characteristically prolific as the blacks, they have, in several conspicuous instances, emerged on the modern field not only with a more elaborate culture, but with a denser

  1. Lumholtz, "Among Cannibals," pp. 346-347.