Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/488

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an active and steady immigration of Spanish peasants which in ten years has amounted to 128,000.[1] Gradually overborne by numbers, the negroes are beginning to segregate, and in 1908 a party of color was formed. While there is as yet no definite color caste in social life, the supplanting of Spanish influence by American ideas will doubtless gradually assimilate conditions in Cuba to those of the neighboring states of America.

In the last analysis color prejudice is based on cultural difference more than on the degree of pigmentation. Because extremes of physical difference do actually in large measure accompany difference in culture rank, the most radical race antagonisms are those between the extreme whites and the extreme blacks. A black skin is everywhere associated in thought with cultural inferiority. Back of this may lie a subconscious suggestion of the historical fact that the negroid races have achieved few of the cultural values that are to the white man the marks of superior mental and social efficiency. To the extent that the blacks live down this stigma of cultural inefficiency prejudice against them will lose its force. There are abundant evidences of color aversion on the part of the white towards the yellow, brown and red races, but it nowhere reaches the intensity of that directed against the blacks, nor is it of sufficient depth to constitute a fundamental social problem.

Speaking particularly of race antagonism in South Africa, Mr. Bryce says:

The sense of his superior intelligence and energy produces in the European a sort of tyrannous spirit which will not condescend to argue with the native, but overbears him by sheer force and is prone to resort to physical coercion. Even just men, who in theory have the deepest respect for human rights, are apt to be carried away by this consciousness of superior strength, and to become despotic if not harsh. And the tendency to race enmity seems to lie very deep in human nature. Perhaps it is a survival from the times when each race could maintain itself only by slaughtering its rivals.[2]

It is therefore by narrowing the gap between the actual cultural status of the races that the worst aspects of race animosity are eliminated. Whether, as Boas and Ward hold, the total mental capacity of all races is essentially equal, is not here the question. Achievement of any valid kind, whether by individuals or by racial groups, is bound ultimately to command respect. World contacts are rapidly increasing and a higher degree of intergroup cooperation is making possible a wide diffusion and sharing of the achievements of each of the great racial groups. When this process shall have gone far enough much of the asperity which has characterized the periods of isolation will be materially softened.

  1. "Censo de la República de Cuba," 1907, pp. 59-66; see also Johnston, "The Negro in the New World," p. 60. The census of 1907 shows that in a total popuulation of 2,048,980 the colored number 608,967, or 29.7 per cent. The unmixed negroes number 242,382.
  2. Bryce, "Impressions of South Africa," p. 366.