Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/487

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A WORLD-WIDE COLOR LINE

is the colored immigrant, whether black, brown or yellow, who furnishes the problem. This new commonwealth, with a native black population regarded as negligible, has deliberately set out to develop an exclusively white civilization on Australian soil, even at the expense of a dearth of labor force. So powerful has the "White Australia" movement become that stringent exclusion laws have been passed by the commonwealth parliament denying admission to all non-British immigrants unable to pass fixed educational tests, and providing for the deportation of numerous colored laborers already present on contract. How passionate the "White Australia" idea is, and how deeply it deplores the evils of race mixture in the rest of the world, is manifest in the words of its most scholarly exponent, Professor Charles H. Pearson:

Australia is an unexampled instance of a great continent that has been left for the first civilized people that found it to take and occupy. The natives have died out as we approached; there have been no complications with foreign powers; and the climate of the South is magnificent. . . . We are guarding the last part of the earth, in which the white races can live and increase freely, for the higher civilization. We are denying the yellow race nothing but what it can find in the home of its birth, or in countries like the Indian Archipelago, where the white man can never live except as an exotic.[1]

Such a policy of white segregation, if it were sound, would be an example of the thing which nations ought to undertake more often than they do. It represents a deliberate choice of ends planned for long in advance, and it is an admirable case of what Lester F. Ward calls "social telesis." But this paticular policy happens to be one which is open to serious question. It never has succeeded, nor is it likely to prosper in Australia, because the aggregation and composition of populations are governed by laws of selective fitness which are stronger than statutes. Certain areas in various parts of the world are almost certainly destined to belong primarily to the whites, as certain districts of Africa and of the United States may come to be recognized as the special habitat of negroes, but the selection must come in the first place from natural fitness rather than law, and the area is never likely to be continental in extent.

The island of Cuba exhibits the curious spectacle of a tropical land which is peculiarly fitted to be the home of a colored race, but which is for the time being swinging towards a decisive white majority. After 1898 it seemed that Cuba was to follow the steps of Haiti and become a black republic, but immediately after the war of liberation there set in

  1. "Pearson, "National Life and Character," pp. 16-17. For details of the "White Australia" movement, see Scholefield, "The White Peril in Australasia," in the Nineteenth Century for August, 1905; and Law and Gill, "A White Australia: What it Means," in the same periodical for January, 1904. The law of 1901 excluding colored labor was entitled "The Pacific Islanders Act." The final limit for deporting the contract laborers was fixed for December 31, 1906. To prevent the destruction of the sugar industry in Queensland a bounty is offered on sugar grown by white labor.