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II WHAT RACES ARE THERE?

The canon of racial features is still an open question; for there is no agreement on which somatic variations are to be considered indications of racial difference. At one time (from Cuvier 17691832) the canon was colour of skin, but Cuvier recognised only three races: white, black and yellow, treating Indians as a variant of yellow, in opposition to Linnaeus and Blumenbach who recognised the separateness of the “red-skinned” races. But then more and more “colours” were discovered and described. To avoid misunderstandings, shade-tables of these colours were compiled. The best of them, drawn up by the Frenchman Paul Broca (1824-1880) and accepted almost everywhere, enumerates thirty-four shades, indicated by the numbers used to designate them. The English anthropological institute prepared an edition with the shades simplified to ten, according to the suggestions of Topinard.

Soon, however, colour of the skin came to be regarded as only a secondary racial feature, and first place was taken by variety of skull, of the head as a whole and of certain facial details and even hair. In 1843 the Swede A. Retzuis introduced the division into long and short-headed, and Paul Broca, having reduced to order all that we call anthropometric measurement, added a third division — the medium-headed.

Max Mueller’s idea of seeking in linguistic relationships, in combination with somatic features, a means of indicating racial affiliations and kinship was rejected. After all race is a zoological matter, and language social. It was easy also to discover that different races sometimes speak the same tongue, or a similar one, and people of the same race different tongues. Nor are “present-day linguistic areas identical with anthropological areas”.408

On the other hand, there was increasing readiness to accept the view of Huxley, who in 1870 defined races by hair, although Haeckel’s suggestion in 1879 that this should be adopted as a basic feature did not survive. In the end, science adopted a combination of the features of hair, “colour” and anthropometric measurements.

As somatological differences became better known, more races appeared for the anthropologists. Adding “secondary” races to “chief” races, in 1860 Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire obtained thirteen, ten years later Huxley fourteen, while in 1879 Haeckel got to 34: Topinard in 1885 counted nineteen races, Quatrefages in 1889 one less.409

Now the most recent expression of scientific opinion is the table (fruit of thirty years’ work) drawn up by J. Deniker, enumerating 29 races and dozens of “sub-races” grouped in “categories”. The basic division is into five categories (A — F) according to hair, account being taken of colour of eyes (and in one case shape of nose), while the sub-divisions come from combinations of all the features and are even in two stages. The population of Europe is not fitted into a single category, but divided between two.410 On a special map of Europe Deniker indicates six “principal” races: Nordic, coastal or Atlantic-Mediterranean, eastern. Adriatic or Dinaric, insular-Iberian, western or Cevennole — and four “secondary”: sub-Nordic, north-western, Vistulan and sub-Adriatic.411

Jan Czekanowski treats these matters in more or less the same way. In the “European” anthropological team he includes the Finnish peoples and some of the names he uses are different, which is to be accounted for by his researches into the anthropology of Polish territories. According to him, the basic outline of the matter is as follows:

In the later Paleolithic age it may be assumed that Lapponoids were the main constituent of the population of Poland. This is the same element which “constitutes the basic component of the Ugro-Finnish and Turkic peoples” (the Cevennole race in Deniker). In the Neolithic period there is already an admixture. “The old Neolithic population, the pre-Slavonic type (in Deniker race orientale), constituting the basis of population throughout the whole of our territory and in the neighbouring European territories” . . . “is a mixture of Lapponoidal with Mediterranean (insular-Iberian) “. An increasingly important place and in the end first place was taken by the Nordic race and by the sub-Nordic type composed of “various mixtures of the Nordic type”. We also have here and there the “Alpine combination”, which is a mixture of Nordic and Armenoid”. The “steppe population was formerly Iranian. ... It is this and not the Dinaric type which is the essence of the anthropological separateness of the Ukraine”.412

This was a victory for Niederle’s thesis, once regarded as bold, that the original Slavs were of Nordic type, and that Slavonic expansion was undoubtedly, from an anthropological point of view, expansion by the Nordic race. By the end of the first millenium, the predominant type among Slavs was long-headed, as it was among the ancient southern Germans. Adequate attention was at length paid to the fact that ancient authors (notably the Byzantines and Arabs) describe the Slavs as light-haired. It was also at last realised that the present zone of short-headed Slavs is an inconsiderable part of Slav territory, and includes for the most part lands which became Slav only in historic times, as for instance everything south of the Carpathians.413

Czekanowski finally recognises in Europe four basic races (“types”) and six mixed ones, whose genesis and relations he defines thus: basic are the Nordic, Mediterranean. Armenoid and Lapponoid types; from a mixture of Nordic and Lapponoid there developed the sub-Nordic type, from Nordic and Armenoid the Dinaric, from Nordic and Mediterranean the north-western;

Armenoid mixed with Mediterranean produced a Littoral type, and with Lapponoid the Alpine; finally the crossing of Mediterranean and Lapponoid produced the pre-Slav type.414 But the same scholar immediately gives warning that “isolation of the pre-Slav type presents considerable difficulties”.415

There is no lack of doubts, which is not strange, since progress in science is born of doubt. The leading German authority on these matters, Eugen Fischer, complicates the issue still further by collecting features drawn from archaeology (considering for example that line graves are a Nordic feature) lists seven ”anthropological circles”, and these are divided into races, geographically extremely mixed (chiefly as a result of wanderings). All German scholars are particularly intent on following up the range of the long-headed blond, in the mistaken opinion that these features are indubitable indications of German or at least Germanic blood. But it has already been established that they are by no means racial features of the mass of Germanic peoples today,416 while Scandinavia itseif reveals quite a number of the short-headed.

After all this, the state of anthropology invites pessimistic comment. Eugen Fischer has said that at present not anthropology but only anthropography i.e. simple description is possible. There are plenty of contradictions revealing the inadequate consolidation of the science. For example on the pygmies, Fischer himself says in one place that their original relations with the negroes cannot be defined, and that it cannot be stated whether both are autochthons of Africa — in another he regards them as the older race, once settled throughout Africa and also in the Mediterranean area of Europe.417 But even on the southern Europeans views differ to such an extent that while some see in them an admixture of negro blood, Fritz Lenz emphasises that what all white in all their varieties have in common, is the significant drop of Nordic blood and the absence of negro.418 Fischer, on the other hand, points not only to the Turkish admixture in south-eastern Europe, but to the Arabic and also the Berber in Spain “and through their intermediary to the negro clearly evident here and there in Spain and Portugal”.419

In Czekanowski’s most recent work it is said that “the appearance of dark-skinned components is a significant feature of the population” (of Europe) in the Paleolithic epoch,420 and the so-called Neanderthal race is “hypothetically” linked to the Austro-African type, that is the type which was settled mainly in the forest zone of Central Africa. But two other types of black race are linked with the Europe of earlier epochs: the negroid type is directly identical with the European negroids, while the Nigritian or Sudanese is linguistically related to the Basques (monosyllabic roots, absence of grammatical genders and forms for the plural). All this may be a trace of the former connection between Europe and Africa.421

Despite the still widely divergent judgments of anthropological scholars, justice demands recognition that the science has got rid of a quantity of old errors. For example it has been established that the Indo-European is a matter of language, and not genetics, since there are no similar morphological features.422 No serious scholar still speaks of the “Aryan race”, since the Aryan is only a linguistic relationship, in no way deciding the question of common blood. In the same way the until recently dominant Celtic-Slav theory has also proved to be fantasy.

Gone beyond recovery is the alleged tribal unity of both German and Slav. And Pittard emphatically denies that the northern and southern Slavs could be of common origin. Balkan Slavs are in no way ethnically related to the Russians, and on the other hand the features of the Slavs of the Abruzzi, alleged descendants of the Dalmatians, are very far removed from those of the Dinaric race.423

At one time the Nordic race alone reigned in Northern Europe and stretched deep into Central Europe. Anthropologically, Celts and Germans represent “two immediately successive waves of the expansion of the Nordic type”.424 Germans, Celts and Slavs were originally anthropologically “completely identical”, and the differences emerged later as a result of the influx of foreign blood. The Celts melted into the population they found in their new homes. The Slavs mingled with the Mongols, the influence of whose blood is also found deep into Germany. The Alpine race, on the other hand, pushed as far as Scandinavia, and ths Lapps southwards.425

And there is no such thing as a “Latin race”. Among the peoples using one of the Romance tongues there are as many as five races: Nordic, Atlantic-Mediterranean, Adriatic, insular-Iberian and Cevennole.426

The difficulties mount when it comes to parts of the world whose anthropological material is incomparably less thoroughly investigated, and the lack of established nomenclature too often bears witness to ideas which are still fluid. The whole question of the genealogy and affiliation of races is completely uncertain, a true groping in the dark. And will it ever be settled, since the vast bulk of the materials for prehistoric anthropology is lost?

And yet across the gaps and mists of doubt there is the glimmering of an attempted synthesis (with Polish scholars leading the way):

Asia represents the oldest element in the human race (with the “oldest centre” in Mesopotamia). In Asia also the territories of the yellow and white races meet in an indented line through the Turan, Pamir and Himalaya.427 The population flowed into Eastern Europe from Asia (Finno-Ugrians), while in the west the oldest, black element came from Africa. The original population of Africa. Australia (Oceania) and America arrived from Asia. “In the East Indies lies the hub of this common link” with Australia and Africa. To America (where there is no trace of Quaternary man428) there certainly existed a land bridge (instead of the Behring Strait) which kept out the cold currents from the Arctic Ocean.429 Two SouthWest Asian types are also to be found in Africa and in Oceania and “are linked to the black race by a number of features”.430 In Abyssinia and the Somali peninsula “the great wealth of Asiatic elements is striking”.431 The African Hamites are arrivals from Asia.432

But this prehistory of proto-population stumbles when it comes to the subsequent history of the human race; only a few things can be linked, and hypothetical bridges erected. Thus in Northern Asia, for example, the Paleo-Asiatic type is singled out as a bridge between the yellow and white races (ampler hair, and the Mongolian fold a rarity), but this “singling-out presents considerable difficulties”.433 And the hypothetical proto-Hamites depend for their existence on speculation alone: “put forward as a theoretical necessity by the linguistic experts”.434

The canon of racial features may itself likewise undergo complete change as a result of the new bio-chemical discoveries. Signs of blood differences have long been known, and much can be read about them in the old text-books. A separate department of medicine, so-called missionary medicine, has grown up in response not only to the different diseases, but also to the different effects of these diseases in the missionary countries of Africa and Australia — an observation which in recent years should be broadened to include India. Step by step the thread has led to the clue, to the discovery that racial differentiation exists even in the blood of man, and in a way not unconnected with the colour of his skin.

The most recent studies have concerned themselves with precisely this question of blood. Biochemistry has grown out of serology. I repeat the words of the most competent of Polish race-experts: “These serological investigations are directed to establishing similarities and differences in the various forms of animals on the basis of the properties of their plasma, their blood and other liquids, secrations, or components of albumen, which reveal themselves by the animals’ way of reacting to foreign elements (cells and their products, solutions of foreign albumen) which have entered their system by injection”. “Here it is a matter of defining, on the basis of similarities and differences in the bio-chemical nature of their plasma or their albumen, the similarities and differences arising between organisms, and manifesting themselves in various biochemical reactions”.435

The method of biochemical research not only “makes possible the uncovering of racial differences”, but has already reached such excellence that “if the biochemical structure of the red blood corpuscles of mother and child are known, in a given case by investigating the blood it is possible to recognise among a given number of men who is the father of the child”. In other words, the two kinds of isoagglutinates in the serum of human blood correspond to two biochemical structures in the red corpuscles of human blood: A and B. Four serological human types or races are distinguished, namely A, B, non-A, non-B. When the characteristics A and B appear in one individual, the result is type AB; when the characteristics non-A and non-B meet, type 0 results. “The said biochemical characteristics are permanent, inherited, according to the laws of Mendel and entirely independent of the state of health of the individuals concerned; they also occur, entirely independently of morphological anthropological features”.

“Characteristic” for the European is the relatively frequent appearance of the A feature — in more than 40% of individuals — and the relatively rare appearance of the B feature — in between 10 and 20% of individuals. Contrariwise, among Asian and African nations A is rarer, below 30%, and B more common, among Hindus even reaching 50%.

The source of feature or type A is Europe, the source of B Asia. Nations inhabiting the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as Russians and Jews who, from a serological point of view have similar blood, represent a middle type between the European and Asiatic. Considered in relation to feature A, Poles are of European type, in relation to feature B they belong to a middle type (influence of the east). Serologically, Ruthenian blood is Asiatic.436

Jan Mydlarski worked independently in this field, and Czekanowski has said of him: “The link, between anthropology and serology is one of the very great achievements, for it creates completely new bases for research into the past of human kind”.437

Since A and B do not always appear pure, Czekanowski distinguishes AA and AO, BB and BO, bearing in mind primarily “coagulation and non-coagulation of blood-cells” between kinds of blood. The biochemical distribution of blood on Polish territory is of such a kind that “we cannot reconcile the result with our information on the proportions of the morphological components”.438

In any case, races exist, only in speaking of them we must add: races of our epoch. But is this addition not as a rule self-understood, does it not usually follow logically from the context?

Thus all the doubts raised by the fact of “racial chaos” have served to teach us about the genesis and nature of races, but have certainly not disposed of their existence. And here let us repeat after Czekanowski: “Considering the results of genetic research it is to be assumed that types and by the same token races are no mere definitions, but possess real existence”.439

And now one further point: have races according to “colour” really dissolved into nothing? In all the races, racial types and circles of Deniker and Fischer is there any bi-coloured race? It has merely been demonstrated to us that for every colour there are several races!

So what is happening is a modest retreat to Cuvier! In the most recent (1930-1932) anthropological works we read: “If the results of our morphological research hitherto are correct, and in the human race we have six racial elements and fifteen variants on them, it would be highly probable that linking up originally with Cuvier’s three races, the three biological components of blood, together with their three mixtures constituted the basis of the six morphological racial elements”.440 Czekanowski had already spoken (incidentally) in 1927 of the yellow and black race.441 The Pole Poniatowski finally included the “Redskins” in the yellow race.

The three “colours” are thus something above race, something more, something wider than race. Let us call them “racial stocks”. This is not in any way to detract from the knowledge that colour of skin is dependent on conditions to which the pigment is exposed; we are not disputing the view that if negroes were exposed for long enough to the action of the crooked Polish sun they would grow much paler. But before the requisite length of time had elapsed, a new epoch would have arrived.

I consider, therefore, that the supplementary question “when?” makes it permissible to reply positively to the question “what races are there?” — every epoch has its own;

Let us pass now to the question of the psychical consequences of crossing, which will bring us nearer to our fundamental problem: What is the relation between the variety of civilisations and the variety of races?


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