The Retreat of Racial Science

At the beginning of the 20th century, America was still in the Victorian era. American identity was White, Anglo-Saxon (in culture), Protestant and liberal and republican in principles. There was an overwhelming national consensus in support of progress, traditional moral values and the Anglo-American literary canon. The dominant aesthetic was New England and Appalachian Regionalism.

American dominant ethnicity looked something like the left hand column before the big Victorian-to-Modern cultural transition that we are exploring:

Victorian America also had its own view of race:

The following excerpt comes from Elazar Barkan’s book The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States Between the World Wars:

“At the beginning of the twentieth century, the term “race” had a far wider meaning than at present, being used to refer to any geographical, religious, class-based or color-based grouping. Although sanctioned by science, its scientific usage was multiple, ambiguous and at times self-contradictory. The inherent confusion of the term has been recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary which notes its imprecise usage “even among anthropologists” and the resultant “almost unlimited attributes and combinations.” Despite the confusion, race was a respectable scientific category. Typologies and hierarchies of race were presented as self-evidently appropriate at the beginning of the century, and cultural analysis along racial lines conveyed no particular stigma. Although “racialism” denoting prejudice based on race difference, was introduced into the language at the turn of the century, there was little use for the term because racial differences were regarded as matters of fact, not of prejudice. Race was perceived to be a biological category, a natural phenomenon unaffected by social forces. The major social thinkers of second half of the nineteenth century did not articulate any critique of racial theories; even for self-proclaimed egalitarians, the inferiority of certain races was no more to be contested than the law of gravity to be regarded as immoral. Before any social critique of racial thinking was possible, the belief in the biological validity of race as a concept had to be undermined. This occurred in the twentieth century during the interwar years, although doubts about the validity of race were present much earlier. With the OED including such derivatives as “racism” and “racial” for the first time only in 1972, it notes that the term “racial” began to be used frequently at the end of the nineteenth century. The use of “racism” was a derogatory neologism was first recorded in English in the 1930s but again the appearance of a neologism to denote racial prejudice suggested that the debunking of race theories and their crude political analogies began sometime earlier. Certainly, little more than a decade after the end of World War I the situation changed dramatically. Although leading scientific circles in the United States and Britain, race typology as an element of casual cultural explanation became largely discredited, racial differentiation began to be limited to physical characteristics, and prejudicial action based on racial discrimination came to be viewed as racism.”

There was no such thing as “racism.”

In 1910, race was still considered an objective biological reality. There was no moral stigma attached to either White identity or the belief that racial differences exist. The development of “antiracism” was still in the future and occurred largely in New York in the 1920s and 1930s.

This was not an isolated change. It was part of a larger sweeping cultural change that unsettled and transformed everything in America in the interwar years: manners, morals, national identity, gender roles, dress, art, literature, music, dance, architecture, religion, psychology, etc.

The following excerpt comes from Christine Stansell’s book American Moderns: Bohemian New York and the Creation of a New Century:

“In the first years of the twentieth century, many Americans felt they were living through an epochal change in human history. The tides of modernity, which had washed over Paris in the 1870s and subsequently over Vienna, Prague, Munich, Berlin, and London, had finally reached American shores. Everywhere the world had changed – so people claimed in 1910, or 1912, or 1913 – faster, more entirely than it had ever changed before. “The world has changed less since the time of Jesus Christ than it has in the last thirty years,” averred the French writer Charles Péguy in 1913. “On or about December 1910,” Virginia Woolf famously insisted, “human character changed.” In the United States, too, “something was in the air,” claimed the Chicago editor Floyd Dell. “The atmosphere was electric with it.” The revolutionary pot seems to be boiling,” exulted a radical trade unionist in 1912. “The day of transformation is at hand.”

This book is about the men and women who ushered in that day of transformation in America, the people who embraced the “modern” and the “new” – big, blowsy words of the moment. The old world was finished, they believed – the world of Victorian America, with its stodgy bourgeois art, its sexual prudery and smothering patriarchal families, its crass moneymaking and deadly class exploitation. The new world, the germ of a truly modern America, would be created by those willing to repudiate the cumbersome past and experiment with form, not just in painting and literature, the touchstones of European modernism, but also in politics and love, friendship and sexual passion. This would be a modernism experienced as an artful, carefully crafted everyday life. One avid promoter, the journalist Hutchins Hapgood, cheerfully reported on how various were its manifestations. “Whether in literature, plastics art, the labor movement … we find an instinct to loosen up the old forms and traditions, to dynamite the baked and hardened earth so that fresh flowers can grow …

In this they were very much New Yorkers, inventors of a form of Manhattan self-importance that is still with us today. They are in fact part of the bigger story of New York’s ascendancy to ultimate American city in the first part of the twentieth century. New York had long been an interesting place but never one that exerted special appeal. As late as 1900, other cities held their own, rival capitals of thriving regional cultures. Boston may have begun to drift into the backwaters of gentility, but still it harbored its own bohemian set and sophisticated gay male circles. San Francisco supported a milieu of writers and painters attuned to the glorious light-washed landscape and to an aesthetic that over time would foster a distinctly West Coast secular mysticism. New Orleans was a showcase of musical experiment where African-American jazz artists created a glorious, uniquely American modernist art form. And Chicago also had a strong claim to the spirit of the age: with its huge polygot population, mammoth industrial base, and gorgeous skyscrapers, it was the newest city in the age of the new, the shock city of the early twentieth century as Manchester, England, had been the shock city of the nineteenth.

So when Herbert Croly, the editor of the Architectural Record, argued in 1903 that New York was the one American city where “something considerable may happen,” he was expressing only a distant hope. Yet by the second decade of the century Croly’s prediction had been fulfilled: all the other cities, even Chicago, had turned into provincial capitals, oriented toward New York as the arbiter of contemporary culture. Helped along by its self-conscious moderns and its phenomenally vigorous publishing and advertising industries, New York had become the source of images and texts that defined Croly’s notion of “considerable” for the rest of America.”

Before the 1910s, America was characterized by regional cultures dominated by their metropoles. Boston was the cultural capital of America. In the 1920s though, New York became the largest metropolitan area in the world and the cultural capital of the United States. It reduced other metropolitan areas into its satellites. The culture of the New York avant-garde became “mainstream” culture.

Note: Franz Boas was a professor of anthropology at Columbia University in New York City. John Dewey was a professor in the philosophy department. Randolph Bourne went to Columbia where he was strongly influenced by both Boas and Dewey.

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
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  1. Arnel’s Mom asked a question. I am not on Twitter so:

    “Why did East Germans dress and behave more conservatively than West Germans if “socialism” and “radical left wing ideas” are the drivers of this process?”

    Simple answer, poverty and cults.

    When Bob Whitaker visited Communist countries he said he noticed two things. The walls and the government farms were almost empty of crops.

    1) The government farms were almost empty of crops, because no one had any motivation to work on them. He said the workers on these farms, as a perk, were allowed small plots to grow food for themselves, and these small plots were bumper. He speculated that the crops from these small plots were sold on the black market, which is what kept the country from starving.

    2) Before they put up the walls their workers crossed from East to West to get higher paying jobs (just like poor Mexicans crossing into the USA for work). When it got so bad that they ran out of workers, the Communists put up the walls.

    So they dressed trad because they were kept too poor to buy fancy clothes, and because they were imprisoned in a country sized cult compound. If you were treated like that, you would dress in hand-me-down clothes too.

    If Communism is so trad, why does the Communist Manifesto attack the family unit? Why do the Western elites attack the familiy unit as well?

    Cults do not tolerate any loyalty that is not to the cult and its wordism. So loyalty to race, and loyalty to the family must go.

    Cult leader Reverend Moon demanded his followers marry interracially for the same reasons. The only loyalty Reverend Moon tolerated was loyalty to Reverend Moon and the words of his cult.

    Communist BLM just took this off their website, because it was hurting the Democrat’s election chances. lol

    Russia Today story:
    “Disrupting Western family structure no longer among BLM’s stated goals as manifesto vanishes from website ahead of US election “

    • And yet Eastern Europe seems to have staved off Globo Homo for the most part and the West is knee keep in it.

      Just goes to show that staying faithful God makes all of the difference.

      • @SC Rebel…

        Yes, Sir, I agree with you that Chryst is the key, but, as well, keeping Jewry out of certain places in society.

        Never forget that Jews flooded here from Eastern Europe because they were frustrated by Eastern Europe’s lack of willingness to let them take over.

        Even through the communist era, things remained the same in Eastern Europe – Jews were enfranchised but, not in control.

        The results you are seeing of what many have come to regard as ‘intolerable hate’ are what you are witnessing today – Eastern Europe is still relatively sane, the West is not.

        So, yes, it’s about Chryst, in that Jewry, as a whole, rejected their creator and what came of Him, and, thus, as Bishop Williamson has many times said – those divine gifts of theirs turned to decaying rot.

        Many would stone me for saying it, but, having as much Jewish blood as Gentile, I feel perfectly licensed to say it – just as both the prophets of The Olde and New Testament did.

        The rot in The West comes from godless Jewish tinkering and White Gentile willingness to be led astray.

        That’s the 1-2 punch, Dear SC Rebel, and not a dang thing will change until something in that combination changes.

      • People keep saying how strong nationalist Poland is, but Poland has no military that could defend its borders or project power. Nationalist Poland is completely dependent on globohomo USA for its survival.

        As Spencer pointed out, the reason Eastern Europe is allowed to remain nationalist, is because the US Empre needs it to be that way for now, It is useful for the US Empire’s possesions to remain nationalist, as long as they border with it’s enemies. That enemy being Putin’s Russia.

        If Putin is toppled or dies and is replaced with a globohomo agent, Eastern Europe will be immediately flooded with Africans, just like they are doing to Ireland right now, Ireland was very religious and anti-abortion, until they turned on a dime, and became pro abortion, pro massive non-White immigration, without a vote or a discussion allowed.

        Religious Ireland didn’t do it to themselves, it was done to them. Same as it was done to every formerly White country in the West.

        • @Dog Whistler…

          With the generous employment of if this and if that, Sir, it is exceedingly easy to construct any argument.

          Though what you posit shows that you to be bright-eyed and well-researched, it also reveals that you have a very minimal experience with with Eastern Europeans or in Eastern Europe.

          But, yes, Poland is strong with excellent leadership, yet, of course, being surrounded by numerous great powers, both military and economic, there is always a level of precariousness in it’s situation.

          In fact, all life is exactly that – precarious.

          As to it’s military, you are right – that of Poland is far from imposing. That said, it is not by military that nations are conquered today, but, by political and idealogical ruse and subterfuge, and by economic intimidation.

          In all those areas, Sir, Poland has a formidable defence – both in possessing what is likely the largest percentage of unwavering Nationalists, and, thus, a Nationalist Spirit, a wing of The Roman Catholic Church ‘unmodernized’, and in a leader, Duda, who, an investment banker, has put his knowledge of all the tricks into building what is quickly becoming a formidable economy.

          And then there is God, who, it must be noted, continues to preserve Poland through whatever she faces, no matter what the storm.

          Thus, in this instance, Mr. Richard Spencer is quite incorrect.

          • While I have noticed that eastern europe as a whole was generally more conservative, and traditional than western europe, unfortunately from what I have gathered from conversations with poles and other people who live in countries like poland and hungary ,are slowly becoming more degenerate, though not as bad as western europe. It seems religion and traditional values seem to be waning there, year by year. ie, (pride parades are more frequent now as an example) and there’s now seems to be a push to punish “hate speech”. Also don’t forget, while some non-leftists praise leaders like viktor orban and putin for rejecting some aspects of Marxist Globalism, they are still both quite zio-cucked. Putin is probably the more hypocritical of the bunch, he praises nationalism, but he has been arresting nationalists and ultra-nationalists who been criticizing him and his government for years under the guise of “hate speech”. there are videos of putin describing them as “anti-semitic pigs”. In all honesty, there doesn’t seem to be an real based European leaders left.

  2. The great ideal of Judaism is that the whole world shall be imbued with Jewish teaching and that in a Universal Brotherhood of Nations, a greater Judaism in fact; and all the
    separate races and religions shall disappear.

    The Jewish World,
    February 9, 1883

    Jewish EU ‘founding father’ Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi in ‘Praktischer Idealismus’ 1925:

    “We [Jews] intend to turn Europe into a mixed race of Asians and Negros ruled over by the Jews”

    “Some call it Marxism – I call it Judaism.”

    Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, in the American Bulletin of May 15, 1935

    “The revolution in Russia is a Jewish revolution”

    The Maccabean (New York), Nov. 1905, p, 250

    “Jewry is the mother of Marxism.”

    Le Droit de Vivre, May 12, 1936

    “The communist soul is the soul of Judaism.”

    Harry Waton, A Program for the Jews and an Answer to All Anti-Semites (New York: Committee for the Preservation of the Jews, 1939), p. 143

    Since “Jews” were a mixed race from the beginning, the term “Semites” applied to them,
    admittedly, is silly. “Anti-Semitism” , actually; means “Anti-Pharisaism”.

    The Christian who realizes this can well understand the hatred borne for Christ by modern Pharisees.

    Elizabeth Dilling – The Plot Against Christianity

    Jews and WHITE people are genetically not of the same mind.

    The JEWISH Encyclopedia,
    Vol. VI, (1904) p.556,603-04

    “The Second World War is being fought for the defense of the fundamentals of Judaism.”

    The Chicago Jewish Sentinel, October 8, 1942.

    Dr. Abba Hillel Silver, a well known Jew, when writing in the Jewish publication, Liberal Judaism, January, 1949, about the newly created state of Israel declared:

    “For the curse of CAIN, the curse of being an outcast and a wanderer over the face of the earth has been removed.”

    The 1980 Jewish Almanac says:

    “Strictly speaking, it is incorrect to call an ancient Israelite a ‘Jew’ or to call a contemporary Jew an ‘Israelite’ or a ‘Hebrew.”

    Jews and Arabs Share Genetic Link to Ancient Canaanites, Study Finds.

    Sven Longshanks does a great overview of that article at RADIO ALBION.

    Check it out:

  3. Hunter,
    When you get the time would you consider putting all these essays in an American History Series folder, in order of your having written them. I would like to go back and start again. In re reading those which I can find I am seeing that I may have missed alot of your ideas. These essays are too good to be lost in cyberspace.

  4. “The development of “antiracism” was still in the future and occurred largely in New York in the 1920s and 1930s.”

    As New York Jewry grew in national influence, in the 1920s and 1930s, and as their Corporate Globalist dominated consumerist culture grew, the theoretical basis for lines, borders, boundaries, and any sort of limits had to be removed.

    As a matter of commerce and politicks, all hindrances must be removed.

    No better illustration of the work they were doing in the early decades of the 20th century, than the Scofield Bible.

    This time in history is a complete vindication of what they were working for, a century ago – the early decades of the 21st century bearing witness to a White Gentile Culture so completely on the defensive that, as Whites are reduced to an increasingly powerless minority, the only thing Whites can think to do is argue over whether Negroes and Homosexuals need more privileges bestowed.

  5. The invention of the automobile and the suburbs were a reaction to this, an attempt by the middle classes to flee back and recreate a more pastoral America. Unfortunately New York City values streamed right into their semi rural retreats through the invention of television, and New York City Intellectuals poisoned the minds of the children through their infiltration into the universities with the “College Cargo Cult” that pervaded post war America.

    (Where the plebs’ looked at the natural elite during the depression and thought that “college” is what made them elite rather than natural intellect or elite family ties and confused causation with collation. Sort of like seeing Prince Charles and Prince William playing Polo and saying “Wow, dog gone it I’m a gonna send my son to Polo School so dem’ teachers can learn dat boy ta play some Polo and then HE CAN BE KING SOMEDAY TOO!”)

    As a result of this “College Cargo Cult” with widespread college attendance these subversive New York Intellectual ideas filters down into the culture and particularly into those teaching elementary and secondary school where I had an English Literature teacher who managed to make every single book we read into his own personal lesson of Marxism. But the natural essence of suburban life at it’s core is a retreat from this Urbanism and Modernism, no wonder the left is so antipathetical to automobile ownership. Done properly a successful future world would be spread out with citizens having pastoral retreats and technological mobility, sort of like the early 60’s abortive Pilot for Star Trek starring Jeffery Hunter where a brief glimpse of his life on earth shows him owning a pastoral retreat with a horse, not packed into a Blade Runner type city.

    This is one of the reasons I am very opposed to this “green” crap. It doesn’t even matter if “Global Warming” is true or not, that’s not the debate. The issue is their solutions would result in abject poverty and destruction of the middle class, which may well be their motivation behind this “green” vehicle. Fact of the matter is without fossil fuels the modern world will go away and any serious attempt to reduce carbon emissions would run the electrical grid on fission power, the only realistic answer. And the fact these environmental wackos refuse that betrays their true motivation, same as the vandals in Portland who just want to burn it all down.

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