The Psychology of Race-Prejudice

IN looking for an explanation of the antipathy which one race feels toward another, we may first of all inquire whether there are any conditions arising in the course of the biological development of a species which, aside from social activities, lead to a predilection for those of one's own kind and a prejudice against organically different groups. And we do, in fact, find such conditions. The earliest movements of animal life involve, in the rejection of stimulations vitally bad, an attitude which is the analogue of prejudice. On the principle of chemiotaxis, the microorganism will approach a particle of food placed in the water and shun a particle of poison; and its movements are similarly controlled by heat, light, electricity, and other tropic forces. The development of animal life from this point upward consists in the growth of structure and organs of sense adapted to discriminate between different stimulations, to choose between the beneficial and prejudicial, and to obtain in this way a more complete control of the environment. Passing over the lower forms of animal life, we find in the human type the power of attention, memory, and comparison highly developed, so that an estimate is put on stimulations and situations correspondent with the bearing of stimulations or situations of this type on welfare in the past. The choice and rejection involved in this process are accompanied by organic changes (felt as emotions) designed to

( 594) assist in the action which follows a decision. Both the judgment and the emotions are thus involved on the presentation to the senses of a situation or object involving possible advantage or hurt, pleasure or pain. It consequently transpires that the feelings called out on the presentation of disagreeable objects and their contrary are very different, and there arise in this connection fixed mental attitudes corresponding with fixed or habitually recurrent external situations - hate and love, prejudice and predilection -- answering to situations which revive feelings of pain on the one hand, and feelings of pleasure on the other. And such is the working of suggestion that not alone an object or situation may produce a given state of feeling, but a voice, an odor, a color, or any characteristic sign of an object may produce the same effect as the object itself. The sight or smell of blood is an excitant to a bull, because it revives a conflict state of feeling, and even the color of a red rag produces a similar effect.

"Unaccommodated man" was, to begin with, in relations more hostile than friendly. The struggle for food was so serious a fact, and predaciousness to such a degree the habit of life, that a suspicious, hostile, and hateful state of mind was the rule, with exceptions only in the cases where truce, association, and alliance had come about in the course of experience. This was still the state of affairs in so advanced a stage of development as the Indian society of North America, where a tribe was in a state of war with every tribe with which it had not made a treaty of peace; and it is perhaps true, generally speaking, of men today, that they regard others with a degree of distrust anti aversion until they have proved themselves good fellows. What, indeed, would be the fate of a man on the streets of a city if he did otherwise ? There has, nevertheless, grown up an intimate relation between man and certain portions of his environment, and this includes not only his wife and children, his dog and his blood-brother, but, with lessening intensity, the members of his clan, tribe, and nation. These become, psychologically speaking, a portion of himself, and stand with him against the world at large. From the standpoint here outlined, prejudice or its analogue is the starting-point, and our question becomes one of

( 595) the determination of the steps of the process by which man mentally allied with himself certain portions of his environment to the exclusion others.

When we come to examine in detail the process by which an associational and sympathetic relation is set up between the individual and certain parts of the outside world to the exclusion of others, we find this at first on a purely instinctive and reflex basis, originating in connection with food-getting and reproduction, and growing more conscious in the higher forms of life. One of the most important origins of association and prepossession is seen in the relation of parents, particularly of mothers, to children. This begins, of course, among the lower animals. The mammalian class, in particular, is distinguished by the strength and persistence of the devotion of parents to offspring. The advantage secured by the form of reproduction characteristic of man and the other mammals is that a closer connection is secured between the child and the mother. By the intra- uterine form of reproduction the association of mother and offspring is set up in an organic way before the birth of the latter, and is continued and put on a social basis during the period of lactation and the early helpless years of the child. By continuing the helpless period of the young for a period of years, nature has made provision on the time side for a complex physical and mental type, impossible in types thrown at birth on their own resources. Along with the structural modification of the female on account of the intra-uterine form of reproduction and the effort of nature to secure a more complex type and a better chance of survival, there is a corresponding development of the sentiments, and maternal feeling, in particular, is developed as the subjective condition necessary to carrying out the plan of giving the infant a prolonged period of helplessness and play through which its faculties are developed. The scheme would not work if the mother were not more interested in the child than in anything else in the world. In the course of development every variational tendency in mothers to dote on their children was rewarded by the survival of these children, and the consequent survival of the stock, owing to better nutrition, pro-

( 596)-tection, and training. Of course, this inherited interest in children is shared by the males of the group also, though not in the same degree, and there is reason to believe also that the interest of the male parent in children is acquired in a great degree indirectly and socially through his more potent desire to associate with the mother.

This interest and providence on the score of offspring has also a characteristic expression on the mental side. All sense-perceptions are colored and all judgments biased where the child is in question, and affection for it extends to the particular marks which distinguish it. Not only its physical features, but its dress and little shoes, its toys and everything it has touched, take on a peculiar aspect. This tendency of the attention and memory to seize on characteristic aspects, and to be obsessed to the exclusion or disparagement of contrasted aspects, is an important condition in the psychology of race-prejudice. It implies a set of conditions in which the attention is practiced in attaching peculiar values to signs of personality -- conditions differing also from those arising in the reaction to environment on the food side.

Another origin of a sympathetic attitude toward those of our own kind is seen in connection with courtship. As a result of selection, doubtless, there is a peculiar organic response on the part of either sex to the presence and peculiarities of the other. Among birds the voice, plumage, odor, ornamentation, and movements of the male are in the wooing season powerful excitants to the female. These aspects of the male, which are the most conspicuous of his characteristics, are recognized as the marks of maleness by the female, and she is most deeply impressed, and is in fact won, by the male most conspicuously marked and displaying these marks most skillfully. And in the same way feminine traits and behavior exercise a powerful influence on the male. It is of particular significance just here that the attention is able to single out particular marks of the personality of the opposite sex, and that these marks become the carriers of the whole fund of sexual suggestion. This interest in the characteristic features of the opposite sex has always domi-

( 597) nated fashion and ornament to a large extent in human society, and this is particularly true in historical times in connection with women, who are both the objects of sexual attention and the exponents of fashion. The white lady uses rice powder and rouge to emphasize her white-and- pink complexion, and the African lady uses charcoal and fat to enhance the luster of her ebony skin. The most characteristic features of woman -- the bust and the pelvis -- are brought into greater prominence by lacing, padding, balloon sleeves, pull-backs, hoop- skirts, and other such like devices; and the interest in characteristic expressions of femaleness is even carried over from the person to the objects habitually associated with the person, as when the lover shows a fetishistic regard for the pocket handkerchief or the slipper of his mistress.[1] In this connection Hirn remarks:

By exaggerating and accentuating in their own appearance the common qualities of the tribe, the individual males or females have thus created a more and more differentiated tribal type. And the inherited predilections and aversions of the opposite sex have, on the other hand, by continuously influencing positive and negative choice, contributed to the fixing of these types as tribal ideals, not of beauty, but of sexual attractiveness. [2]

In both of the conditions growing out of reproduction which we have examined we find a significant tendency to single out characteristic signs of personality and attach an emotional value to them. In still another connection, that of co-operative activity, there is a tendency to knit alliances with others; and here also the attention shows the tendency to fix on characteristic signs and attach emotional values to them. It was pointed out above that the first efforts of the animal to adjust itself to its food environment were on a purely chemical and physical basis, and we find that its first movements toward a combination with other organisms in an associational relation are equally unreflective.. This is very well illustrated by the following description of the association of plants and animals growing out of a dearth of water:

A mesquite springs up on the plain; within two or three years the birds resting in its branches drop the seeds of cacti, some of which, like vines, are

( 598) unable to stand alone, and the cactus and mesquite combine their armature of thorns for mutual protection. The wind-grown grass seeds lodge about the roots, and grasses grow and seed beneath the sheltering branches; and next small mammals seek the same protection and dig their holes beneath the roots, giving channels for the water of the ensuing rain and fertilizing the spot with rejectamenta. Meantime the annual and semiannual plants which maintain a precarious existence in the desert take root in the sheltered and fertilized soil beneath the growing cactus and mesquite, and in season it becomes a miniature garden of foliage and bloomage. Then certain ants come for seeds, and certain flies and wasps for the nectar, and certain birds to nest in the branches. In this way a community is developed in which each participant retains individuality, yet in which each contributes to the general welfare.[3]

Among mammalian forms, however, an instinctive, if not reflective, appreciation of the presence and personality of others is seen in the fact of gregariousness, and here already a definite meaning is attached to signs of personality. In fact, a certain grade of memory is all that is essential to antipathy or affection. In mankind various practices show a growing "consciousness of kind," there is resort to symbolism to secure and increase the feeling of solidarity, and finally a dependence of emotional states on this symbolism.

Fighting and hunting operations soon make it plain that undertakings otherwise impossible can be accomplished by combining with one's fellows, and that life and safety often depend on friendly aid. A definite and interesting expression of this principle is seen in the widespread rite of blood-brotherhood. Taught by experience the value of a friend in time of danger, man mingles his blood and joins his fortunes with this friend, thus making over into himself a portion of his environment. This rite which may be regarded as a concrete aid to the savage's unpracticed power of abstraction, is in some parts of the world the only sure way of securing the friendship of the natives. Stanley recognized its value fully, and went through the ceremony with above fifty African chiefs. In the universal practice of feud we have another evidence that men engaged in co-operative life come to set the same value on their fellows as on them-

( 599)-selves, and to draw a very sharp line between the social self and not- self. An example will show how strong this contrast becomes in feeling and practice:

The quarrelsome character of this people [the Berdurani of Afghanistan] and the constant strife that they lead are declared by a mere glance at their villages and fields. which bristle in all directions with round towers. These are constantly occupied with men at enmity with their neighbors in the same or adjoining villages, who, perched in their little shooting boxes, watch the opportunity of putting a bullet into each other's body with the most persevering patience. The fields, even, are studded with these round towers, and the men holding them most jealously guard their lands from anyone with whom they are at feud. If even a fowl strays from its owner into the grounds of another, it is sure to receive a bullet from the adversary's tower. So constant are their feuds that it is a well-known fact that the village children are taught never to walk in the center of the road, but always from the force of habit walk stealthily along under cover of the wall nearest to any towers.[4]

We may be sure that any characteristic of either of these groups, in the way of dress, features, speech, or social practice, would be hateful in the sight of the other; and it is interesting to note that the antipathy extends to the domestic animals.[5]

Tribal marks are another widespread sign of consciousness of community of interest. Scarification, tattooing, bodily mutilations, totemic marks, and other devices of this nature are consciously and unconsciously employed to keep up the feeling of group solidarity; and whether instituted with this end in view or not, any visible marks which become by usage characteristic of the group represent to the group- mind the associational and emotional past of the group. A similar dependence of cultural groups on signs of solidarity is seen in the enthusiasm aroused by the display of the flag of our country or the playing of a national air.

Habit also plays an important role in our emotional attitude toward the unfamiliar. The usual is felt as comfortable and safe, and a sinister view is taken of the unknown. When things are

( 600) running along habitual lines, the attention is relaxed and the emotional processes are running low. A disturbance of habit throws a strain on the attention, and the emotional processes are accelerated in the attempt to accommodate. And since the normal attitude, as noted above, is one of distrust toward everything not included in the old run of habits, we find the most sinister meaning attached to signs of unfamiliar personality. The mental disturbance caused in the lower races by the appearance of white has often been noted by travelers:

There must be something in the appearance of white men frightfully repulsive to the unsophisticated natives of Africa; for on entering villages previously unvisited by Europeans, if we met a child coming quietly and unsuspectingly toward us, the moment he raised his eyes and saw the men in "bags," he would take to his heels in an agony of terror, such as we might feel if we met a live Egyptian mummy at the door of the British Museum. Alarmed by the child's wild outcries, the mother rushes out of the hut, but darts back again at the first glimpse of the fearful apparition. Dogs turn tail and scour off in dismay, and hens, abandoning their chickens, fly screaming to the tops of the houses.[6]

By some such steps as we have outlined a group whose members have a history in common has to some degree a consciousness in common, and common emotional reactions. And before turning to the concrete expressions of its feeling for itself as expressed in its prejudices for aliens, I will illustrate by an instance the degree to which it is true that activities in common and community of interest may imply a common emotional attitude. The reception of news of disaster to a war party of Sioux Indians is thus related by Mr. Eastman, himself a Sioux:

One frosty morning .... the weird song of a solitary brave was heard. In an instant the camp was thrown into indescribable confusion. The meaning of this was clear as day to everybody -- all of our war party were killed save the one whose mournful song announced the fate of his companions. .... The village was convulsed with grief; for in sorrow as in joy every Indian shares with all the others. The old women stood still wherever they might be and wailed dismally, at intervals chanting the praises of the departed warriors. The wives went a little way from their tepees and there audibly mourned; but the young maidens wandered further away from the camp, where no one could witness their grief. The old men joined in the crying and singing. To all appearances the most unmoved of all were the warriors,

( 601) whose tears must be poured forth in the country of the enemy to embitter their vengeance. These sat silently in their lodges, and strove to conceal their feelings behind a stoical countenance The first sad shock over, then came the change of habiliments. In savage usage the outward expression of mourning surpasses that of civilization. The Indian mourner gives up all his good clothing and contents himself with scanty and miserable garments. Blankets are cut in two, and the hair is cropped short. Often a devoted mother will scarify her arms and legs; a sister or a young wife would cut off all her beautiful hair and disfigure herself by undergoing hardships. Fathers and brothers blackened their faces and wore only the shabbiest garments [7]



If it is assumed, then, that the group comes to have a quasipersonality, and that, like the individual, it is in an attitude of suspicion and hostility toward the outside world, and that, like the individual also, it has a feeling of intimacy with itself, it follows that the signs of unlikeness in another group are regarded with prejudice. It is also a characteristic of the attention that unlikeness is determined by the aid of certain external signs -- namely, physical features, dress, speech, social habits, etc. -- and that the concrete expressions of prejudice are seen in connection with these. We may therefore examine in more detail the directions taken in the expression of prejudice, and the signs of personality to which it attaches itself, with a view to determining its depth or superficiality, and getting light on the conditions under which it is eradicable or modifiable.

Humboldt was perhaps the first observer to make a general statement on the predilection which every group has for its own peculiarities:

Nations attach the idea of beauty to everything which particularly characterizes their own physical conformation, their national physiognomy. Hence it ensues that among a people to whom nature has given very little beard, a narrow forehead, and a brownish-red skin, every individual thinks himself handsome in proportion as his body is destitute of hair, his head flattened, his skin more covered with annatto, or chica, or some other copper-red color.[8]

And the more concrete reports of other observers are to the same effect:

( 602)

Ask a northern Indian what is beauty, and he will answer, a broad flat face, small eyes, high cheek-bones, three or four broad black lines across each cheek, a low forehead, a large broad chin, a clumsy hook nose, a tawny hide and breasts hanging down to the belt.[9]

Those women are preferred who have the Mandachu form; that is la gay, a broad face, high cheek-bones, very broad noses, and enormous ears.[10]

A small round face, full rosy-red cheeks and lips, white forehead, black tresses, and small dark eyes are marks of a Samoyede beauty. Thus in a Samoyedian song a girl is praised for her small eyes, her broad face, and its rosy color.[11]

These three, the most comely among the twenty beauties of Mtesa's court, were of the Wahuma race, no doubt from Ankori, They had the complexion of quadroons, were straight-nosed and thin-lipped, with large lustrous eyes. In the other graces of a beautiful form they excelled, and Hafiz might have said with poetic rapture that they were "straight as palm trees and beautiful as moons." .... Mtesa, however, does not believe them to he superior or even equal to his well- fleshed, unctuous-bodied, flat-nosed wives indeed, when I pointed them out to him one day at a private audience, he even regarded them with a sneer.[12]

Taking the physical aspects separately, we find that the color of the skin is among those most obvious to the eye, and consequently one in connection with which prejudice is generally expressed:

The skin, except among the tribes near Delagoa Bay, is not usually black the prevailing color being a mixture of black and red, the most common shade being chocolate, Dark complexions, as being most common, are naturally held in the highest esteem. To be told that he is light~colored, or like a white man, would be deemed a very poor compliment by a Kaffir. I have heard of one unfortunate man who was so very fair that no girl would marry him.[13]

On the western coast, as Mr. Winwood Reade informs me, the negroes admire a very black skin more than one of a lighter tint, But their horror of whiteness may be attributed, according to this same traveler, partly to the belief held by most negroes that demons and spirits are white, and partly to their thinking it a sign of ill-health.[14]

( 603)

An Australian woman had a child by a white man: she smoked it and rubbed it with oil to give it a darker color.[15]

The children that are born [in Mabaar] are black enough, but the blacker they be the more they are thought of,; wherefore from the day of their birth their parents do rub them every week with oil of sesamé that they become as black as devils, Moreover, they make their gods black and their devils white, and the images of their saints they do paint black all over.[16]

There were forty canoes all painted an ocherous brown, which I perceived to be the universally favorite color. En passant, I have wondered whether they admire this color from an idea that it resembles the dark bronze of their own bodies. For pure Waganda are not black, by any means. The women and chiefs of Mtesa, who may furnish the best specimens of Waganda, are nearly all of a bronze or dark reddish brown. The native cloths -- the national dress -- which depended from the right shoulders of the larger number of those not immediately connected with the court were of a light brown also. It struck me when I saw the brown skins, brown robes, and brown canoes, that brown must be the national color. [17]

The mother [of an Albino boy] is said to have become tired of living apart from the father, who refused to have her while she retained the son. She took him out one day and killed him close to the village of Mabotsa, and nothing was done to her by the authorities. From having met no Albinos in Londa I suspect they are there also put to death.[18]

She [an Albino] was most anxious to be made black, but nitrate of silver, taken internally, did not produce its usual effect. [19]

The negroes, who generally imagine the devil to be white, consider a black shiny skin, thick lips, and flattened noses as the type of beauty.[20]

Where they erect an image in imitation of their Brahman neighbors, the devil is generally of Brahminical lineage. Such images generally accord with those monstrous figures with which all over India orthodox Hindus depict the enemies of their gods, or the terrific forms of Siva or Durga. They are generally made of earthenware, and painted white to look horrible in Hindu eyes.[21]

The standard of perfection in color is virgin gold, and as a European lover compares the bosom of his mistress to the whiteness of snow, the East Insular lover compares that of his to the yellowness of the precious metal.[22]

( 604)

A spot of dark color is often put on the cheeks [of the Hova women] .... much, indeed, as did the beauties of a hundred and fifty years ago in our own country, the contrast of the round black patch with the skin heightening the effect of their fair complexions.[23]

A servant of the king of Cochin China

spoke with contempt of the wife of the English ambassador, that she had white teeth like a dog, and a rosy color like that of potato flowers.[24]

The love of display and the effort to extend and emphasize the personality among the natural races are the occasion of a great deal of attention to the hair and beard; and this is especially so, because of the limited range of objects available for purposes of ornament. In this connection we find, however, as suggested by Humboldt above, that if the growth of hair and beard is abundant, they emphasize this by developing it to the utmost, while a scanty beard is usually plucked out:

The present chief of the Crows .... is called "Long-Hair," and has received his name as well as his office from the circumstance of having the longest hair of any man in the nation Messrs. Sublette and Campbell .... told me they had lived in his hospitable lodge with him for months together; and assured me that they had measured his hair by a correct means, and found it to be ten feet and seven inches in length; closely inspecting every part of it at the same time, and satisfying themselves that it was the natural growth.[25]

The Fijians have very thick and curly hair, and

the longer and more frizzled it grows the more beautiful it is. They have a special method of hardening it: they dip it three or four times in water in which they have mixed ashes of leaves of the bread-fruit tree or burned coral cement and the rind of tui tui. Then it is carefully dried and curled three or four, or, according to Hale, as many as six hours.[26]

Beards they generally have not -- esteeming them great vulgarities, and using every possible means to eradicate them whenever they are so unfortunate as to be annoyed with them. The proportion of eighteen out of twenty by nature are without the appearance of a beard; and of the very few who have them by nature, nineteen out of twenty eradicate it [sic] by plucking it out several times in succession precisely at the age of puberty.[27]

( 605)

It is seldom that one meets a Dyak with hairs on his face. If they are present, it is only a few straggling ones as a moustache, or on the chin. I do not say they are unable to obtain that facial ornament; but the women abhor a beard and the men, to please them, pluck out with a pair of pincers a few hairs that grow on the face, as soon as they appear. [28]

The Chaymas are almost without beard on the chin, like the Tungouses, and other nations of the Mongol race. They pluck out the few hairs which appear; but independently of that practice, most of the natives would be nearly beardless.[29]

The value assigned [among the Anglo-Saxons] to hair was proportionately very high, the loss of the beard being estimated at 20 shillings, while the breaking of a thigh was fixed at only twelve.[30]

The modifications and deformations of physical features practiced by the natural races are on the same mental principle as the deformations of fashion among the civilized and the practice of breeding for a particular type among herdsmen. I have already pointed out that the natural conformation of the female figure is attractive because femaleness is so, and fashion brings the characteristic points of the figure into prominence. It is probable also that the race has been bred toward a type in which the secondary sexual characters are prominent by the preference of men for women possessing in a remarkable way these "points of beauty." In the same way a stock of animals is improved by selecting for reproduction those marks of the breed which have already become so prominent and characteristic as to interest the breeder. Following the same law of attention and interest, different human races seek to make more prominent the characteristic racial marks.

The foreheads of the Mexican races are all very low, and their painters and sculptors even exaggerated this peculiarity, to make the faces they depicted more beautiful, so producing an effect which to us Europeans seems hideously ugly, but which is not more unnatural than the ideal type of beauty we see in the Greek statues.[31]

This extraordinary plainness is to be found among nations to whom the means of producing artificial deformity are totally unknown, as is proved by the crania of the Mexican Indians, Peruvians, and Atures brought over by

( 606) M. Bonpland and myself, of which several were deposited in the Museum of Natural History at Paris. I am inclined to believe that the barbarous custom which prevails among several hordes of pressing the heads of children between two boards had its origin in the idea that beauty consists in such a form of the frontal bone as to characterize the race in a decided manner .... The Greeks in the statues of heroes have raised the facial line from 85` to 100_ above nature (Cuvier, Anatomic comparée, Vol. 11, p. 6). The Aztecs, who never disfigure the heads of their children, represent their principal divinities, as their hieroglyphical manuscripts prove, with a head much more flattened than any I have ever seen among the Caribs.[32]

The occipital flattening of the head among the Polynesians seems due to the fact that this form of head was common and artificial means were used to accentuate the type.[33]

The Tahitians, among whom ''long-nose" is considered as a word of insult, for the sake of beauty compress the forehead and the nose of the children.[34]

A Hottentot father, suspecting that a child born with a prominent nose had been

begotten by an European, would not allow it the honor .... of a flat nose but ordered it to be brought up with the bridge of its nose in its natural situation, to denote its mother's infamy.[35]

It is interesting to note also that, according to measurements by Schertzer and Schwarz, the feet of Chinese women in the unbound state seem distinguished by their smallness -- and this not only as compared with other nations, but also in comparison with the feet of Chinese men. [36]

Some peoples, as the Chinese and Japanese, are distinguished by the peculiarity of the aperture of the eye, the outer angle of which has an oblique upward direction. This character is by the artists of these peoples exaggerated for the purpose, as it seems, of exhibiting its beauty as contrasted with the red-haired barbarians.[37]

We are prepared to find also that the preference for the prevailing type extends to the general type of female figure. Where this is naturally slender, the " cypress-slender" type is most

( 607) admired, and where it is stout, corpulence is the beau ideal. The Hottentot women in whom steatopyga is pronounced are most admired, and they even reinforce the appalling posterior bolsters of let by wearing a cushion in the same region, much as white women wear a bustle.[38] Burton reports that Somali men are

said to choose their wives by ranging them in a line, and by picking her out the projects farthest a tergo. Nothing can be more hateful to a negro than the opposite form.[39]

The Egyptian women, on the other hand, are slender.

I have never seen corpulent persons among them, except a few in the metropolis and other towns, rendered so by a life of inactivity.[40]

The Egyptians .... do not generally admire very fat women. In his love-songs the Egyptian commonly describes the object of his affections as of slender figure and small waist.[41]



The examination of these external signs impresses us with the fact that race- prejudice is in one sense a superficial matter. It is called out primarily by the physical aspect of an unfamiliar people -- their color, form and feature, and dress - and by their activities and habits in only a secondary way. The general organic attitude, growing out of experience (though reflex rather than deliberative experience), is that the outside world is antagonistic and subject to depredation, and this attitude seems to be localized in a prejudice felt for the characteristic appearance of others, this being most apprehensible by the senses. This prejudice is intense and immediate, sharing in this respect the character of the instinctive reactions in general. It cannot be reasoned with, because, like the other instincts, it originated before deliberative brain centers were developed, and is not to any great extent under their control. Like the other instincts also, it has a persistence and a certain automatism appropriate to a type of reaction valuable in the organic scheme, but not under

( 608) the control of the deliberative centers. But for all its intensity, race- prejudice, like the other instinctive movements, is easily dissipated or converted into its opposite by association, or a slight modification of stimulus. There is no stronger contrast among the races than that between tile black and white, but travelers relate that after long residence with African blacks they look on the white skin with something akin to prejudice:

One feels ashamed of the white skin; it seems unnatural, like blanched celery -- or white mice. [42]

Stanley reports his feelings on first meeting white men after crossing Africa:

As I looked into their faces, I blushed to find that I was wondering at their paleness The pale color, after so long gazing on rich black and richer bronze, had something of an unaccountable ghastliness. I could not divest myself of the feeling that they must be sick; yet, when I compare their complexions to what I now view, I should say they were olive, sunburnt,

The negro, for his part, not only loses race-prejudice in the presence of the white man, but repudiates black standards. In America the papers printed for black readers contain advertisements of pomades for making kinky hair straight and of washes to change the Ethiopian's skin; and the slaves returned to Sierra Leone in 1820 assumed the role of whites, even referred to themselves white, and called the natives "bush niggers."

Then Chinese are today regarded by many, particularly by the southern whites, as the most repulsive of races in physical appearance - - more shocking to the sensibilities than the negro even. The Japanese, on the other hand, are also a yellow race and have all the physical marks of aliens, but contact with them has revealed a surprising fund both of charm and ability, and it is an interesting fact that they have many enthusiastic white admirers, and that the sympathy of a large part of the white world is with them in their war against a white group. It is, indeed, probable that in the event of a successful struggle with Russia little will remain in the way of prejudice against this smallish, yellow people, or of impediment to social and matri-

( 609)-monial, as well as political and commercial, association with it. It would not, in fact, be a matter of surprise if the checks to this were found rather on the side of the oriental race -- small and yellow, but able, ancient, and traditionally set against occidental intrusion.

When not complicated with caste-feeling, race-prejudice is, after all, very impermanent, of no more stability, perhaps, than fashions. The very fact of difference, indeed, and of new appeals to the attention, may act as a stimulus, a charm, as is shown by the fact that the widespread practice of exogamy has its root in the interest of men in unfamiliar women.[44] The experiences of each group have created a body of traditions and standards bound up with emotional accompaniments, and these may be so opposed as to stand in the way of association, but it is particularly in cases where one of the groups has risen to a higher level of culture that contempt for the lower group is persistent. In this case antipathy of the group for an alien group is reinforced by the contempt of the higher caste for the lower. Psychologically speaking, race- prejudice and caste-feeling are at bottom the same thing, both being phases of the instinct of hate, but a status of caste is reached as the result of competitive activities. The lower caste has either been conquered and captured, or gradually outstripped on account of the mental and economic inferiority. Under these conditions, it is psychologically important to the higher caste to maintain the feeling and show of superiority, on account of the suggestive effect of this on both the inferior caste and on itself; and signs of superiority and inferiority, being thus aids to the manipulation of one class by another, acquire a new significance and become more ineradicable. Of the relation of black to white in this country it is perhaps true that the antipathy of the southerner for the negro is rather caste-feeling than race-prejudice, while the feeling of the northerner is race-prejudice proper. In the North, where there has been no contact with the negro and no activity connections, there is no caste-feeling, but there exists a

( 610) sort of skin-prejudice -- a horror of the external aspect of the Negro - and many northerners report that they have a feeling against eating from a dish handled by a negro. The association of master and slave in the South was, how ever, close, even if not intimate, and much of the feeling of physical repulsion for a black skin disappeared. This was particularly true of the house servants. White girls and boys kissed their black mammies with real affection, and after marriage returned from other states to the funeral of an old slave. But while color was not here repulsive, it was so ineradicably associated with inferiority that it was impossible for a southern white to think the negro into his own class. This is well shown by the following comment of a southern woman on the color of Shakespeare's Othello:

In studying the play of Othello I have always imagined its hero a white man. It is true the dramatist paints him black, but this shade does not suit the man. It is a stage decoration which my taste discards; a fault of color from an artistic point of view. I have, therefore, as I before stated, in my readings of this play dispensed with it. Shakespeare was too correct a delineator of human nature to have colored Othello black, if be had personally acquainted himself with the idiosyncrasies of the African race. We may regard, then, the daub of black upon Othello's portrait as an ebullition of fancy, a freak of imagination -- the visionary conception of an ideal figure -- one of the few erroneous strokes of the great master's brush, the single blemish on a faultless work. Othello was a white man! [45]

This lady would have been equally incapable of understanding Livingstone's comment on a black woman:

A very beautiful young woman came to look at us, perfect in every way, and nearly naked, but unconscious of indecency; a very Venus in black.[46]

Race-prejudice is an instinct originating in the tribal stage of society, when solidarity in feeling and action were essential to the preservation of the group. It, or some analogue of it, will probably never disappear completely, since an identity of standards, traditions, and physical appearance in all geographical zones is neither possible nor aesthetically desirable. It is, too, an affair which can neither be reasoned with nor legislated about very effectively, because it is connected with the affective, rather

( 611) than the cognitive, processes. But it tends to become more insignificant as increased communication brings interests and standards in common, and as similar systems of education and equal access to knowledge bring about a greater mental and social parity between groups, and remove the grounds for " invidious distinction." It is, indeed, probable that a position will be reached on the race question similar to the condition now reached among the specialized occupations, particularly among the scientific callings, and also in business, where the individual's ability to get results gives him an interest and a status independent of, and, in point of fact, quite overshadowing, the superficial marks of personality.



  1. The pathological expressions of this Interest are well known to the psychiatrist.
  2. Hirn, Origins of Art p. 212.
  3. W. J. McGEE, "The Beginnings Of Agriculture", American Anthropologist, Vol. VIII p. 350.
  4. W. W. BILLSON, " The Origin of Criminal Law," Popular Science Monthly, Vol. XVI, p. 438, quoting Bellew.
  5. Mine enemy's dog,
    Though he had bit me, should have stood that night
    Against my fire. Lear, IV, iii, 36.
  6. LIVINGSTONE, The Zambesi and its Tributaries, p. 181
  7. C. A. EASTMAN, Indian Boyhood, p. 223.
  8. A. VON HUMBOLDT, Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America, ed. BOHN, Vol. I, p. 303.
  9. HEARNE, A Journey from Prince of Wales Fort, ed. 1796, p. 89.
  10. PALLAS, in PRITCHARD, Researches into the Physical History of Mankind, 4th ed., Vol. IV, p. 519.
  11. CASTREN, Nordiska resor och forskningar, Vol I, p. 229; in WESTERMARCK, History of Human Marriage, p.262.
  12. STANLEY, Through the Dark Continent, Vol 1. p. 308.
  13. SHOOTER, The Kafirs of Natal and the Zulu Country, p. 1.
  14. DARWIN, Descent of Man, Part III, chap. 19
  15. WAITZ, Anthropologie der Naturvolker, English translation, Vol. 1, p. 263.
  16. MARCO POLO, The Book of Marco Polo concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, Book III, chap. 18.
  17. STANLEY, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 196.
  18. LIVINGSTONE, Missionary Travels, p. 576.
  19. Ibid., p. 576.
  20. MOORE, Travels into the Inland Parts of Africa, p. 93.
  21. CALDWELL,, The Tinnevelly Shanars, p. 18.
  22. CRAWFURD, History of the Indian Archipelago, Vol. 1, p. 23.
  23. SIBREE, The Great African island, p. 210
  24. WAITZ, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 305.
  25. CATLIN, The North American Indians, Vol. I, p. 49.
  26. WAITZ-GERLAND, Anthropologie der Naturvolker, Vol. VI, p. 571.
  27. CATLIN, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 227.
  28. BOCK, The Head-Hunters of Borneo, p. 183.
  29. HUMBOLDT, op. cit., Vol. 1, P. 308.
  30. LUBBOCK, Origin of Civilization, 5th ed., p. 480.
  31. TYLOR,, Anahuac, p. 230.
  32. HUMBOLDT, Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, translated by BLACK, Vol. 1, p. 154, note.
  33. See WAlTZ-GERLAND, op. cit., Vol. Vl, p, 27.
  34. WAITZ, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 305.
  35. KOLBEN, Present State of the Cape of Good Hope, Vol. I, p. 310.
  36. WELCKER, "Die Fusse der Chinesinnen," Archiv fur Anthropologie, Vol. V p. 149.
  37. C. VOGT, Lectures on Man, English translation, p. 129.
  38. See WAITZ, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 105.
  39. See DARWIN, op. cit., Part III, chap. 19.
  40. LANE, Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Vol. I P. 33.
  41. Ibid., p. 238, note.
  42. LlVINGSTONE, The Zambesi and Its Tributaries, p. 379.
  43. Op. cit., Vol. II, p. 462.
  44. See " Die Entstehung der Exogamie," Zeitschrift fur Socialwissenschaft, Vol. V, pp.1 ff.
  45. MARY PRESTON, Studies in Shakespeare. 1869, p 71.
  46. Last Journals, Vol I, p. 283.

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