Translated from the Polish


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The problem of civilisation and race can be summed up in the question whether there is any permanent relation between the variety of civilisation and the variety of race.

If race determined civilisation, there would be as many civilisations as races, which is not the case; but if there were no connection at all between the two, the widespread conviction of the dependance of civilisation on race could not have arisen. Evidently the matter is not simple — and to settle it, more than one tangle will have first to be unravelled.

The tangles begin with the very definition of race. The sentimental Herder once condemned this expression as unedel [ignoble], offensive to the dignity of man. He was indignant with those who invented “some five divisions according to the parts of the world, or even according to colour”, and dared to call this variety races. Such sensitivity to degradation passed, but there arose doubts about the reality or unreality of a species, strongly reminiscent of the mediaeval disputes between realists and nominalists. One set concentrated on the question of species as a strictly abstract concept, regarding it as exclusively a product of human thought, necessary for classification, constituting an indispensable aid for the intellect (Buffon, Bonnet, Lamarck, Naegeli, Wundt, Lehmann); others, however, treated species as a real entity (Linné, Cuvier, Agassiz, Wigand, Wassman S. J., Lotsy). Darwin’s views that species undergo unceasing and farreaching transformation, and that there are no fixed bounds between them, had a great effect on research and opinion.

Jussieu defined race as a fixed variety within the species. Buffon noted that the establishment of race is relative, since race disappears when environment is changed. Naegeli emphasised that races may be formed quickly and as quickly disappear, whereas varieties (according to his terminology) are formed extremely slowly, but last for centuries. The generality of natural scientists has after all always linked the concept of race with the “concept of relationship and hereditary stability”.384 Races may thus be long-lived and short-lived. More of them emerge than can survive, and of course only those which are able to establish themselves come to the knowledge of science.

Having taken all this into account, it is possible to agree with the definition that race is a variety of a zoological species. A species may not contain within itself any races, constituting as it were one race, but it may also embrace many races differing in details not decisive as far as the essence of the species is concerned. And so alongside the essential features of man — upright stance, absence of tail, capability for thought outside instinct — everything else may decide racial allegiance, e.g. colour of the skin, kind of hair, shape of skull, etc.

In any case it is a matter of corporal features only. In my view, an exact definition of race would be: Race is a somatic variety of a zoological species. The term race will be used in this book exclusively in this sense.

Is civilisation to be dependant on race so understood? With this assumption another is unavoidably linked — the presumption that pure races exist. The persistence of this error, abandoned by science two generations ago, into the present time, may serve as a classical example of the truly tortoise speed (in the age of radio and electricity) at which scientific truths spread. In Krzywicki’s old handbook dating from 1897, we may read that “there is no pure race. . . . Even the smallest little tribes living in the remotest parts reveal traces of racial mixture”. Erazm Majewski expressed himself forcibly, guaranteeing that “there was no racial unity among the troglodytes”.385 Edward Meyer noted in 1907 that there should be no assumption of protohuman conditions either in New Guinea or Australia. In 1921, Fritz Lenz emphasised that peoples living in isolation, for example, the Vedaas and related peoples in Ceylon, also die out. Eugen Fischer drew attention to the facts that the Tasmanians have died out, and that the Australian aborigines, Bushmen, North American Indians and peoples of Tierra del Fuego are dying out.386

Where life pulsates, there race persecutes race. The variegated mixture of India has long exercised scholars. Mantegazza put it in this way: “India was at one time, in a very distant epoch, inhabited by hundreds of races, even by some thousand”. He exaggerated perhaps — but there is in any case a very great number of them. The most varied mixtures resulted from Mongol, Turanian, proto-Dravidian, Tibetan and Aryan invasions. But the Aryans are the race of an hypothesis, and nothing can be said of them for certain. There is no connection between the Hindus Aryans and Dravids of today, and the classical “Aryans” of the linguists, geographers and historians.387 How to undo the anthropological tangle of a vast country which was densely populated even in the Quaternary Age?

In Polynesia, since we came to know it, there has been the greatest “disorderly mixture of black, yellow and white types”. Discovered in 1772, the islands were found to be inhabitated by white, black and brown peoples simultaneously.388 Russia also presents no small somatic tangle. The learned Zograf found in Rostov such a mixture (and without characteristic features!) that an anthropologist “would waste his time studying them in vain”.389

Even the gypsies, with their Hindu element, are mixtures of the most varied European origins. The Hottentots are the product of a Hamitic-Bushman mixture, but this limited mixture is only to be found in Nama land; in Cape Province other elements have been added. Perhaps in that case the Ainos? They have much of the Europeid in them (as the Polynesians have) and are not Mongols. Their ancestors were once to be found all over present-day Japan, living in caves; the Japanese, arriving from the direction of the continent, defeated and almost exterminated them. In the process a good deal of Aino blood mingled with Japanese. On the island of Jesso (now Hokkaido) this mixture survives in the neighbourhood of Mororanu and Uso, even Japanese quarteroons; traces of the Ainos are to be found as far as Formosa. Once the Scandinavian Lapps were pure “Mongols”, today they are a mixture: similarly with the Finns, Karelians, Samoyeds, Zyrians, Voguls, Ostyaks and further to the west the eastern Slavs.390 The inhabitants of the Andaman Islands and the Esquimoes pass as racially purest.391

Among the intelligentsia there is a widespread superstition that the Jews are outstanding for purity of race. But it was Renan who said that there is no Jewish type, only types, while in Krzywicki’s old handbook we read that the “racial composition of the Jews is eightfold”. More recently Fischer has declared that there is no Jewish race to discuss, that they possess a “most extensive range of somatic features”. In Palestine they were a racial mixture from the beginning.392

Racial mixtures are being produced in our days in all parts of the world, as the result both of armed invasion and peaceful immigration. For instance, in Central Africa “Arabs settling among the negroes, usually on hills, surround themselves with a palisade, rob the black population and take wives from among them”. Arabs are also scattered throughout the whole of Mauretania, among the Moors in northern Morocco, the Berbers in the east and the negroes in the south.393

Moreover, somatic changes in man are in a constant state of flux, with new races emerging from the mixture of the old. Mixture on a large scale does not, however, happen always, all the time, but only sporadically; so that the purity of a race which, although coming into existence as a mixture, does not go on receiving admixture, at least on any scale, may be maintained. Stagnation in inter-breeding may maintain the purity of an older mixture from which a new race arose. This is precisely the case with the Jews: for a long period the Palestinian mixture ceased to mix in the diaspora.394

The question is whether every crossing produced a new race. The answer is in the negative — new races may, but need not emerge from inter-mingling. The first condition for a new race is permanence of the features inherited by a considerable number of generations, in other words, continuity of inheritance. On this point, there is already unanimity among scholars: there is no heredity other than that according to the laws of Mendel, which includes the law of the consequences of crossing. For instance, a race of low stature will always remain short395 until it crosses itself with a taller, when the stature of offspring will conform to “Mendelianism”.396

Among men, experience confirms a thousand-fold that the brunette passes on his features more strongly than the blonde, and the negro twice as strongly as the white. Wernick showed how children of a Japanese woman and a German tend to be delicate, while the offspring of a Japanese woman and a Frenchman may be healthier than those of two Japanese parents.397

There are crossings which are infertile or productive of weaklings. Schwalbe asserts that no damage is done by blood exchanges between mouse and rat, rabbit and hare, animals close to each other, but they are very harmful between more distant animals, for example the cat and guinea-pig.398 Adametz, the biggest name in the field of scientific research on cattle-rearing, asserts that bastard species are usually sterile.

Breeding problems require time for settlement. Breeders long thought that crossing reinforced parental characteristics, with preponderance of good points over faults. They were misled by the evident vigour of such mixtures, which recent investigation only confirms, adding interesting details. Bastards of lion and tiger are larger and heavier than either parent. Offspring of guinea fowl and hen of a fighting breed reveal exceptional aggressiveness. Cramp’s rats, deliberately inbred, were famous. Mixtures are considerably more resilient under all kinds of hardship, especially where the bloodmixture is less than half. But when the experiments have a little time behind them, it proves that the vigour lasts barely a generation and then ends, and is even succeeded by enfeeblement. Moreover, bastards prove infertile, sometimes totally, as in the case of mules. Mules live a hundred years, but never produce another mule.399 It has also been discovered that bastards often go wild. Pig-bastards are known for this. In Patagonia bastards of the sheep-dog went wild and seized the sheep they were supposed to guard.400

Among people more or less the same mixture sometimes produces different results. For example, cross-breeding of Norwegians and Lapps does not lead to any improvement of the race, but on the contrary: “In truth, it is rare for anything good to come of it; most commonly this mixed blood brings to the surface only negative features”.401 Apparently in Brazil, a certain section of those of mixed Portuguese and coloured blood, the so-called caboclos, constitute a truly lamentable type. “Today in the neighbourhood of Horretes or Paranagua there are no Indians at all, but there are very few people who do not have in their veins a certain percentage of Red Indian blood. Round Horretes and in the whole coastal area the caboclos are physically miserable, tormented by venereal diseases (inherited from the Indians?) and unfitted for life”.402 But we know from other sources that there is no lack of physically highly successful Spanish-Indian crossings (the Mexicans, for instance). Nor is there any lack of healthy mestizos in Brazil. Indian blood may be recognised by the “straight. hard, blue-black hair, broad face and melancholy glance of the passerby in the streets of the port of Paranagua.”403

Mendelianism strictly defines the hereditary bounds of features, of various kinds, but it does not answer the question what the conditions are either for fertility, lasting or of short-duration, or for sterility. Presumably the case is the same as with animals: related racial types produce for the greater part good results from crossing; distant types on the other hand, for the greater part give unfortunate results.

Julian Talko-Hryncewicz found that this was the position in the Turanian East, on whose peoples he was the greatest expert. Crosses between Chinese men and Mongolian women produce excellent results, creating for example in Urda “a handsome . . . intelligent type”. Children from unions between Chinese men and Buryat women, but “particularly” Mongolian women, resemble Spaniards. On the other hand, unfavourable results follow the union of Chinese men and Russian women, who “stand racially at a greater distance”.404

In any case of what are races formed, if not of related anthropological types? We repeat with Czekanowski that “only a considerable number of types fairly close to each other form a race. Race is a creation of anthropological analysis, and not an entity already given to us directly in nature. The anthropology of races in fact presents a classification of human kind”.405 Thus not belonging among direct natural phenomena, races emerge with time, in time and for a time, as products of cross-breeding.

But the mingling of races to form a new race is an extremely slow process, to such an extent that the same races (let us say the same products of racial mixtures) are peculiar to whole epochs. Czekanowski himself mentions the detail that “the population round Lwów has undergone no change since the middle of the seventeenth century” — but “in the population of the Black Sea steppes there is, despite everything, continuity reaching back to the nomadic Iranian population”, for “the broad noses of the people of the Ukraine indicate the survival of the old population of the steppe territory in considerable strength”. But weighing most heavily in the scale is the fact that it is possible to verify “continuity in the development of European relationships. . . . From the Bronze Age to the present time the population of Europe has been composed of the same racial elements, and the extreme long-headed and Nordic types reach back far into the later Paleolithic. Even more strikingly evident is ... the continuity in the spheres investigated by prehistory and ethnograhpy”.406 “In the Bronze Age the population of Europe had already achieved a racial composition very similar to the present”. “From the Ice Age to the present time we have to deal with racial elements found among the population living at the present time”.407

And so it is legitimate for the historian to assert that our epoch has its races (even although obviously resulting from a previous mixture) and it is permissible within these limits to talk of races. Even so for the historian these limits are extremely wide — wider we do not need!

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