Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/484

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than in the British West Indies and there are fewer evidences of social friction.

While the antipathy of white toward black is the most pronounced phase of color conflict, prejudice against the blacks is not confined to Europeans and Americans. The Chinese, the most cosmopolitan of peoples, sometimes exhibit a striking aversion to taking black wives or concubines, but manifest no particular aversion to the native women of Java or Borneo. East Indian laborers imported into the British West Indies and British Guiana have generally refused all intercourse with negro women. The American Indians have sometimes interbred with blacks, but in British Guiana they are reported to despise the negroes and to have little intercourse with them.[1]

It is sometimes asserted that a rigid enforcement of the color line in the tropics would leave the two races isolated in an intractable antipathy. Sir Sidney Olivier, governor of Jamaica, has argued from this that a middle class of mixed stock serves as a useful buffer between white and black. He says:

Where, therefore, we have created and are developing a community of diverse races, I can not, in the light of British West Indian conditions, admit that interbreeding is necessarily an evil. I think, rather, that where we have such a community we had better make up our minds not only not to despise the offspring of illicit interbreeding that invariably takes place in such conditions, but make our account for a certain amount of legitimate and honorable interbreeding and to look upon it, not as an evil, but as an advantage.[2]

But such interbreeding, Sir Sidney maintains, should invariably come about by the marriage of white men with colored women. There is a good biological reason for this, but the primary consideration is the racial welfare of the whites. Whatever the good qualities of the negro, and Sir Sidney sees more of them than most of his fellow whites, he nevertheless thinks that

the white races are now in fact by far the further advanced in effectual human development, and it would be expedient on this account alone that their maternity should be economized to the utmost. A woman may be the mother of a limited number of children and our estimate of the number advisable is contracting; it is bad natural economy, and instinct very potently opposes it, to breed backwards from her. There is no such reason against the begetting of children by white men in countries where, if they are to breed at all, it must be with women of colored or mixed race. The offspring of such breeding, whether legitimate or illegitimate, is, from the point of view of efficiency, an acquisition to the community and, under favorable conditions, an advance on the pure-bred African.[3]

A mixed stock, however, while it may lessen the actual clash between the two extreme types in a community, does not necessarily diminish the totality of race antagonism, and may augment it. For the hybrid, instead

  1. Johnston, "The Negro in the New World," pp. 331, 332 and 334.
  2. Olivier, "White Capital and Colored Labor," pp. 39-40.
  3. ibid., pp. 37 38.