Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/489

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A WORLD-WIDE COLOR LINE

It is an unquestionable fact that the yellow as well as the negroid peoples possess many desirable qualities in which the whites are deficient. From this it has been argued that it would be advantageous if all races were blended into a universal type embodying the excellences of each. But scientific breeders have long ago demonstrated that the most desirable results are secured by specializing types rather than by merging them. The perfection of individual qualities insures a high degree of general efficiency in case those qualities can be coordinated in a systematic organization. This is particularly true of human types. The doctrine of racial Darwinism no longer implies a struggle in which the defeated type is exterminated. Under conditions prevailing in modern civilized association it implies rather an application of the selective principle through a combination of competition and cooperation, by which the superior qualities of each race are sifted out and brought to efficiency. It implies also a rough sort of interracial division of labor.

A group of negro leaders in America have advocated the principle of a "group economy" for the colored people of the south, and the idea is capable of a wider application to the great racial groups of the world. In a world of free exchange and intergroup cooperation it is absurd to suppose that the white race can get the benefit of whatever is useful in the tropics, for instance, only by conquest and colonization. Perhaps it is true that the tropical peoples will become efficient only through the influence of organized white leadership, but Mr. Kidd's plausible plea that the white race ought to master and hold the tropics "in trust for civilization" is an empty phrase unless it means a real overlordship. The question inevitably arises, "Whose civilization?" For when the colored races shall have developed an adequate race consciousness it is inevitable that they should seek to devise their own institutions according to their needs, and from the point of view of world interest it is desirable that they do so.

The color line is evidence of an attempt, based on instinctive choice, to preserve those distinctive values which a racial group has come to regard as of the highest moment to itself. Although sometimes based on a blind prejudice surviving from the primal instincts of periods of isolated savagery, it invariably, in its better phases, has in it the core of a sound scientific truth, which is that specialization is the law of efficiency. The fact that it is always the lighter race that puts the taboo on the colored, and that the latter is everywhere eager to mix with the whites, is only an evidence of the general trend of choice towards the higher efficiency of the white race.