The Superiority of the Mulatto

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-01-26 00:29Z by Steven

The Superiority of the Mulatto

American Journal of Sociology
Volume 23, Number 1 (July, 1917)
pages 83-106

E. B. Reuter (1880-1946)

Perhaps the most significant fact regarding the Negro people in America is the degree to which the race has undergone differen- tiation during the period of contact with European civilization. From the low and relatively uniform state of West African culture there has come to be a degree of cultural heterogeneity not else- where observable among a primitive people. While the bulk of the race in America is as yet not many steps removed from the African standards, there has nevertheless arisen a considerable middle class, which conforms in most essential respects to the conventional middle-class standards of American people, as well as a small intellectual group, some members of which have succeeded in coming within measurable distance of the best models of European culture. Within the racial group in America at the present time there are represented the antipodal degrees of human culture: at the one extreme are the standards of West Africa; at the other, those of Western Europe.

A study of the more advanced groups shows a great preponderance of individuals of mixed blood and a dearth, almost an entire absence, of Negroes of pure blood. In the numerous lists of exceptional Negroes, published from time to time by Negroes as well as by white students of race matters, there is a regular recurrence of a few names; the various lists are virtually repetitions. The dozen or score of men everywhere mentioned as having attained some degree of eminence are, in all but one or two cases, men of more Caucasian than Negro blood. In a recently published compilation of one hundred and thirty-nine of the supposedly best-known American Negroes there are not more than four men of pure Negro blood, and one of these, at least, owes his prominence to the fact of his black skin and African features rather than to any demonstrated native superiority. Of the twelve Negroes on whom the degree of doctor of philosophy has been conferred by reputable American universities, eleven at least were men of mixed blood. Among the professional classes of the race the mulattoes outclass the black Negroes perhaps ten to one, and the ratio is yet higher if only men of real attainments be considered. In medicine the ratio is probably fifteen to one, in literature3 the ratio is somewhat higher, on the stage it is probably thirteen to one, in music the ratio is at least twelve to one. In art no American Negro of full blood has so far found a place among the successful. In politics, the ministry, and other occupations in which success is in no way conditioned by education or ability the proportion of mulattoes to black Negroes is somewhat less, though still high. In politics the ratio is at least seven to one, and even in the ministry it is not less than five to one. The successful business men of the race are in nearly all cases men of a bi-racial ancestry. Among the successful men in every field of human effort which Negroes have entered there is the same disproportion between the numbers of pure- and mixed-blood individuals…

Read the entire article here.

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Scientific Racism and the Emergence of the Homosexual Body

Posted in Articles, Gay & Lesbian, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2013-10-20 21:44Z by Steven

Scientific Racism and the Emergence of the Homosexual Body

Journal of the History of Sexuality
Volume 5, Number 2 (October, 1994)
pages 243-266

Siobhan Somerville, Associate Professor
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

One of the most important insights developed in the fields of lesbian and gay history and the history of sexuality has been the notion that homosexuality and, by extension, heterosexuality are relatively recent inventions in Western culture, rather than transhistorical or “natural” categories of human beings. As Michel Foucault and other historians of sexuality have argued, although sexual acts between two people of the same sex had been punishable through legal and religious sanctions well before the late nineteenth century, they did not necessarily define individuals as homosexual per se. Only recently, in the late nineteenth century, did a new understanding of sexuality emerge, in which sexual acts and desires became constitutive of identity. Homosexuality as the condition, and therefore identity, of particular bodies is thus a production of that historical moment.

Medical literature, broadly defined to include the writings of physicians, sexologists, and psychiatrists, has been integral to this historical argument. Although medical discourse was by no means the only—nor necessarily the most powerful—site of the emergence of new sexual identities, it does nevertheless offer rich sources for at least partially understanding the complex development of these categories in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Medical and sexological literature not only became one of the few sites of explicit engagement with questions of sexuality during this period but also held substantial definitional power within a culture that sanctioned science to discover and tell the truth about bodies.

As historians and theorists of sexuality have refined a notion of the late nineteenth-century “invention” of the homosexual, their discussions have drawn primarily upon theories and histories of gender. George Chauncey, in particular, has provided an invaluable discussion of the ways in which paradigms of sexuality shifted according to changing ideologies of gender during this period. He notes a gradual change in medical models of sexual deviance, from a notion of sexual inversion, understood as a reversal of one’s sex role, to a model of homosexuality, defined as deviant sexual object choice. These categories and their transformations, argues Chauncey, reflected concurrent shifts in the cultural organization of sex/gender roles and participated in prescribing acceptable behavior, especially within a context of white middle-class gender ideologies.

While gender insubordination offers a powerful explanatory model for the “invention” of homosexuality, ideologies of gender also, of course, shaped and were shaped by dominant constructions of race. Indeed, although it has received little acknowledgment, it is striking that the “invention” of the homosexual occurred at roughly the same time that racial questions were being reformulated, particularly in the United States. This was the moment, for instance, of Plessy v. Ferguson the 1896 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that insisted that “black” and “white” races were “separate but equal.” Both a product of and a stimulus to a nationwide and brutal era of racial segregation, this ruling had profound and lasting effects in legitimating an apartheid structure that remained legally sanctioned for over half of the twentieth century. The Plessy case distilled in legal form many widespread contemporary fears about race and racial difference at the time. A deluge of “Jim Crow” and antimiscegenation laws, combined with unprecedented levels of racial violence, most visibly manifested in widespread lynching, reflected an aggressive attempt to classify and separate bodies as either “black” or “white.”

Is it merely a historical coincidence that the classification of bodies as either “homosexual” or “heterosexual” emerged at the same time that the United States was aggressively policing the imaginary boundary between “black” and “white” bodies? Although some historians of sexuality have included brief acknowledgment of nineteenth-century discourses of racial difference, the particular relationship and potentially mutual effects of discourses of homosexuality and race remain unexplored. This silence around race may be due in part to the relative lack of explicit attention to race in medical and sexological literature of the period. These writers did not self-consciously interrogate race, nor were those whose gender insubordination and sexual transgression brought them under the medical gaze generally identified by race in these accounts. Yet the lack of explicit attention to race in these texts does not mean that it was irrelevant to sexologists’ endeavors. Given the upheavals surrounding racial definition during this period, it is reasonable to imagine that these texts were as embedded within contemporary racial ideologies as they were within ideologies of gender.

Take, for instance, the words of Havelock Ellis, whose massive Studies in the Psychology of Sex was one of the most important texts of the late nineteenth-century medical and scientific discourse on sexuality. “I regard sex as the central problem of life,” began the general preface to the first volume. Justifying such unprecedented boldness toward the study of sex, Ellis explained, “And now that the problem of religion has practically been settled, and that the problem of labour has at least been placed on a practical foundation, the question of sex—with the racial questions that rest on it—stands before the coming generations as the chief problem for solution.” Despite Ellis’s oddly breezy dismissal of the problems of labor and religion, which were far from settled at the time, this passage points suggestively to a link between sexual and racial anxieties. Yet what exactly did Ellis mean by “racial questions”? More significantly, what was his sense of the relationship between racial questions and the question of “sex”? Although Ellis himself left these issues unresolved, his elliptical declaration nevertheless suggested that a discourse of race—however elusively—somehow hovered around or within the study of sexuality.

In this article, I offer speculations on how late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century discourses of race and sexuality might be not merely juxtaposed, but brought together in ways that illuminate both. I suggest that the concurrent bifurcations of categories of race and sexuality were not only historically coincident but in fact structurally interdependent and perhaps mutually productive. My goal, however, is not to garner and display unequivocal evidence of the direct influence of racial categories on those who were developing scientific models of homosexuality. Nor am I interested in identifying individual writers and thinkers as racist or not. Rather, my focus here is on racial ideologies, the cultural assumptions and systems of representation about race through which individuals understood their relationships within the world. My emphasis lies in understanding the relationships between the medical/scientific discourse around sexuality and the dominant scientific discourse around race during this period, that is, scientific racism.

My approach combines literary and historical methods of reading, particularly those that have been so crucial to lesbian and gay studies—the technique of reading to hear “the inexplicable presence of the thing not named,” of being attuned to the queer presences and implications in texts that do not otherwise name them. Without this collective project to see, hear, and confirm queer inflections where others would deny their existence, it is arguable that gay and lesbian studies itself, and particularly our knowledge and understanding of the histories, writing, and cultures of lesbians and gay men, would be impoverished, if not impossible. In a similar way, I propose to use the techniques of queer reading, but to modulate my analysis from a focus on sexuality and gender to one alert to racial resonances as well.

My attention, then, is focused on the racial pressure points in exemplary texts from the late nineteenth-century discourse on sexuality, including those written by Ellis and other writers of the period who made explicit references to homosexuality. I suggest that the structures and methodologies that drove dominant ideologies of race also fueled the pursuit of scientific knowledge about the homosexual body: both sympathetic and hostile accounts of homosexuality were steeped in assumptions that had driven previous scientific studies of race. My aim is not to replace a focus on gender and sexuality with that of race but, rather, to understand how discourses of race and gender buttressed one another, often competing, often overlapping, in shaping emerging models of homosexuality.

I suggest three broadly defined ways in which discourses of sexuality seem to have been particularly engaged, sometimes overtly, but largely implicitly, with the discourse of scientific racism. All of these models pathologized both the nonwhite body and the nonheterosexual body to greater or lesser extents. Although I discuss these models in separate sections here, they often coexisted, despite their contradictions. These models are speculative and are intended as a first step toward understanding the myriad and historically specific ways that racial and sexual discourses shaped each other at the moment that homosexuality entered scientific discourse…

…The Mixed Body

The emergence of evolutionary theory in the late nineteenth century foregrounded a view of continuity between the “savage” and “civilized” races, in contrast to earlier scientific thinking about race, which had focused on debates about the origins of different racial groups. Proponents of monogeny, on the one hand, argued that all races derived from a single origin. Those who argued for polygeny, on the other hand, argued that different races descended from separate biological and geographical sources, a view, not coincidentally, that supported segregationist impulses. With Darwin’s publication of Origin of the Species in 1859, the debate between polygeny and monogeny was replaced by evolutionary theory, which was appropriated as a powerful scientific model for understanding race. Its controversial innovation was its emphasis on the continuity between animals and human beings. Evolutionary theory held out the possibility that the physical, mental, and moral characteristics of human beings had evolved gradually over time from apelike ancestors. Although the idea of continuity depended logically on the blurring of boundaries within hierarchies, it did not necessarily invalidate the methods or assumptions of comparative anatomy. On the contrary, the notion of visible differences and racial hierarchies were deployed to corroborate Darwinian theory.

The concept of continuity was harnessed to growing attention to miscegenation, or “amalgamation,” in social science writing in the first decades of the twentieth century. Edward Byron Reuter’s The Mulatto in the United States, for instance, pursued an exhaustive quantitative and comparative study of the mulatto population and its achievements in relation to those of “pure” white or African ancestry. Reuter traced the presence of a distinct group of mixed-race people back to early American history: “Their physical appearance, though markedly different from that of the pure blooded race, was sufficiently marked to set them off as a peculiar people.” Reuter, of course, was willing to admit the viability of “mulattoes” only within a framework that emphasized the separation of races. Far from using the notion of the biracial body to refute the belief in discrete markers of racial difference, Reuter perpetuated the notion by focusing on the distinctiveness of this “peculiar people.”

Miscegenation was, of course, not only a question of race but also one of sex and sexuality. Ellis recognized this intersection implicitly, if not explicitly. His sense of the “racial questions” implicit in sex was surely informed by his involvement with eugenics, the movement in Britain, Europe, and the United States that, to greater or lesser degrees, advocated selective reproduction and “race hygiene.” In the United States, eugenics was both a political and scientific response to the growth of a population beginning to challenge the dominance of white political interests. The widespread scientific and social interest in eugenics was fueled by anxieties expressed through the popularized notion of (white) “race suicide.” This phrase, invoked most famously by Theodore Roosevelt, summed up nativist fears about a perceived decline in reproduction among white Americans. The new field of eugenics worked hand in hand with growing antimiscegenation sentiment and policy, provoked not only by attempts for political representation among African-Americans but also by the influx of large populations of immigrants. As Mark Haller has pointed out, “Racists and [immigration] restrictionists . . . found in eugenics the scientific reassurances they needed that heredity shaped man’s personality and that their assumptions rested on biological facts.” Ellis saw himself as an advocate for eugenics policies. As an active member of the British National Council for Public Morals, Ellis wrote several publications concerning eugenics, including The Problem of Race Regeneration, a pamphlet advocating “voluntary” sterilization of the unfit as a policy in the best interest of “the race.” In a letter to Francis Galton in 1907, Ellis wrote, “In the concluding volume of my Sex ‘Studies’ I shall do what I can to insinuate the eugenic attitude.”

The beginnings of sexology, then, were related to and perhaps even dependent on a pervasive climate of eugenicist and antimiscegenation sentiment and legislation. Even at the level of nomenclature, anxieties about miscegenation shaped sexologists’ attempts to find an appropriate and scientific name for the newly visible object of their study Introduced in 1892 through the English translation of Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis, the term “homosexuality” itself stimulated a great deal of uneasiness. In 1915, Ellis reported that “most investigators have been much puzzled in coming to a conclusion as to the best, most exact, and at the same time most colorless names [for same-sex desire].” Giving an account of the various names proposed, such as Ulrichs’s “Uranian” and Westphal’s “contrary sexual feeling,” Ellis admitted that “homosexuality” was the most widespread term used. Far from the ideal “colorless” term, however, “homosexuality” evoked Ellis’s distaste for its mixed origins: in a regretful aside, he noted that “it has, philologically, the awkward disadvantage of being a bastard term compounded of Greek and Latin elements” (p. 2). In the first edition of Sexual Inversion, Ellis had stated his alarm more directly: “‘Homosexual’ is a barbarously hybrid word.” A similar view was expressed by Edward Carpenter, an important socialist organizer in England and an outspoken advocate of homosexual and women’s emancipation at this time. Like Ellis, Carpenter winced at the connotations of illegitimacy in the word: “‘homosexual,’ generally used in scientific works, is of course a bastard word. ‘Homogenic’ has been suggested, as being from two roots, both Greek, i.e., ‘homos,’ same, and ‘genos,’ sex.” Carpenter’s suggestion, “homogenic,” of course, resonated both against and within the vocabularies of eugenics and miscegenation. Performing these etymological gyrations with almost comic literalism, Ellis and Carpenter expressed pervasive cultural sensitivities around questions of racial origins and purity. Concerned above with legitimacy, they attempted to remove and rewrite the mixed origins of “homosexuality.” Ironically, despite their suggestions for alternatives, the “bastard” term took hold among sexologists, thus yoking together, at least rhetorically, two kinds of mixed bodies—the racial “hybrid” and the invert.

Although Ellis exhibited anxieties about biracial bodies, for others who sought to naturalize and recuperate homosexuality, the evolutionary emphasis on continuity offered potentially useful analogies. Xavier Mayne, for example, one of the earliest American advocates of homosexual rights, wrote, “Between whitest of men and the blackest negro stretches out a vast line of intermediary races as to their colours: brown, olive, red tawny, yellow.” He then invoked this model of race to envision a continuous spectrum of gender and sexuality: “Nature abhors the absolute, delights in the fractional. . . . Intersexes express the half-steps, the between-beings ” In this analogy, Mayne reversed dominant cultural hierarchies that privileged purity over mixture. Drawing upon irrefutable evidence of the “natural” existence of biracial people, Mayne posited a direct analogy to a similarly mixed body, the intersex, which he positioned as a necessary presence within the natural order.

Despite Carpenter’s complaint about “bastard” terminology, he, like Mayne, also occasionally appropriated the scientific language of racial mixing in order to resist the association between homosexuality and degeneration. In The Intermediate Sex, he attempted to theorize homosexuality outside of the discourse of pathology or abnormality; he too suggested a continuum of genders, with “intermediate types” occupying a place between the poles of exclusively heterosexual male and female. In an appendix to The Intermediate Sex, Carpenter offered a series of quotations supporting his ideas, some of which drew upon racial analogies: “Anatomically and mentally we find all shades existing from the pure genus man to the pure genus woman. Thus there has been constituted what is well named by an illustrious exponent of the science ‘The Third Sex.’ … As we are continually meeting in cities women who are one-quarter, or one-eighth, or so on, male … so there are in the Inner Self similar half-breeds, all adapting themselves to circumstances with perfect ease.” Through notions of “shades” of gender and sexual “half-breeds,” Carpenter appropriated dominant scientific models of race to construct and embody what he called the intermediate sex. These racial paradigms, in addition to models of gender, offered a Carpenter a coherent vocabulary for understanding and expressing a new vision of sexual bodies…

Read the entire article here.

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Psychologically, the mulatto is an unstable type.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-08-18 20:54Z by Steven

Psychologically, the mulatto is an unstable type.

In the thinking of the white race, the mulattoes generally are grouped with the backward race and share with them the contempt and dislike of the dominant group. Nowhere are they accepted as social equals. The discrimination varies all the way from the more or less successfully concealed contempt of the Brazilian white for the socially ambitious metis, to the open and bitter hatred of the South African for the “coloured man” and the Native boy, but it seems to be present everywhere. The origin of the half-castes was everywhere an irregular one; this is a point about which prejudice can always center. Their nearer approach in physical appearance to the white type is simply taken as evidence of additional irregularities in ancestry. The two things—the lower ancestry and the presumption of a dubious origin—are the focal points about which the white man’s contempt for the mixed-blood group centers.

By the native race, the mixed-blood group is generally accepted as superior. The possession of white blood is an evidence of superiority. The ancestral blot excites no prejudice. The mulattoes are envied because of their color and enjoy a prestige among the darker group because of it.

Between these two groups, one admiring and the other despising, stand the mixed-bloods. In their own estimation, they are neither the one nor the other. They despise the lower race with a bitterness born of their degrading association with it, and which is all the more galling because it needs must be concealed. They everywhere endeavor to escape it and to conceal and forget their relationship to it. They are uncertain of their own worth; conscious of their superiority to the native they are nowhere sure of their equality with the superior group. They envy the white, aspire to equality with them, and are embittered when the realization of such ambition is denied them. They are a dissatisfied and an unhappy group.

It is this discontented and psychologically unstable group which gives rise to the acute phases of the so-called race problem. The members of the primitive group, recognizing the hopelessness of measuring up to the standards of the white race, are generally content and satisfied with their lower status and happy among their own race. It is the mixed-blood man who is dissatisfied and ambitious. The real race problem before each country whose population is divided into an advanced and a backward group, is to determine the policy to be pursued toward the backward group. The acute phase of this is to determine the policy to be adopted toward the mixed-bloods. To reject the claims and to deny the ambition of the mulattos may cause them to turn back upon the lower race. In this case, they may become the intellectual leaven to raise the race to a higher cultural level, or they may become the agitators who create discord and strife between the pure-blood races. To form them into a separate caste between the races, is to lessen the clash between the extreme types and, at the same time, to deprive the members of the lower race of their chance to advance in culture by depriving them of their natural, intellectual leaders. To admit the ambition of the mulattoes to be white and to accept them into the white race on terms of individual merit, means ultimately a mongrelization of the population and a cultural level somewhere between that represented by the standards of the two groups.

Edward Byron Reuter, The Mulatto In The United States: Including A Study Of The Role Of Mixed-Blood Races Throughout The World, (Boston: The Gorham Press, 1918). 102-104.

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The Mulatto in the United States. by Edward Byron Reuter [Review by: Kelly Miller]

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-07-04 20:17Z by Steven

The Mulatto in the United States. by Edward Byron Reuter [Review by: Kelly Miller]

American Journal of Sociology
Volume 25, Number 2, September 1919
pages 218-224

Kelly Miller (1863-1939), Professor of Mathematics and Sociology
Howard University

The Mulatto in the United States. By Edward Byron Reuter. Boston: Badger, 1918. Pp. 417.

The case of the everlasting negro again intrudes itself on public attention in the form of a scientific treatise upon the mulatto in the United States. The author has brought together much interesting and valuable material bearing upon mixed-blood races in all parts of the world.

At the outset the author informs us that his treatise deals “with the sociological consequences of race intermixture, not with the biological problem of the intermixture itself.” The mulatto in the United States has no sociological status; the Eurasian, the half-caste product between the European and the Hindu, constitutes a tertium quid, an outcast by both parent types. But the mulatto in the United States is socially stratified with the mother-race. His case constitutes one of ethnological interest rather than of sociological significance. The three most conspicuous Englishmen produced by the world-war are Lord Kitchener, an Irishman, General Haig, a Scotchman, and Lloyd George, a Welshman. No comparable names have arisen of purely English blood, but the basal English idea predominates, and the racial identity of these illustrious names has not the slightest sociological importance. Moses, the renowned leader of the Israelites, might have been Egyptian, but it was his mighty works rather than incident of blood that counts through all the years. In the United States all negroid elements of whatever blood composition are forced into one social class by outside compulsion. The quantum of different bloods coursing through the veins of distinguished individuals in this class is, practically speaking, a sociological negligibility. The author is, therefore, discussing a theory which he eagerly advocates rather than a condition that actually exists.

The scientific pretension of this treatise is vitiated by the vagueness of fundamental definition. The word mulatto is used as “a general term to include all negroes of mixed ancestry regardless of the degree of intermixture.” This definition is not only unscientific but practically meaningless. A careful observation of negro schools, churches, and miscellaneous gatherings in all parts of the country convinces the reviewer that three-fourths of the negro race have some traceable measure of white blood in their veins. It is, therefore, not the least surprising that practically all eminent negroes in the different walks of life are classified as mulattoes. One is reminded of a famous historian who proved conclusively that the Caucasian race alone had made valuable contributions to civilization by claiming that all people who had made such contributions were Caucasians. At the expense of great labor and pains, the author has analyzed numerous lists of eminent negroes and by some unexplained process has separated the mulattoes from the blacks. Frederick Douglas tells us that genealogical trees did not flourish among slaves. It is indeed a wise negro who knows his own ancestry. Any negro can claim some degree of mixed blood without successful refutation. There is no scientific test of blood composition. The utter worthlessness of his classification is disclosed by a casual selection of four consecutive names arranged in alphabetical order on page 206. Monroe N. Work, R. R. Wright, Sr., R. R. Wright, Jr., and Charles Young are classified as mulattoes. Both in color and negroid characteristics these names would rank below the average of the entire negro race. To rank Nannie Burroughs and Mrs. C. J. Walker as mulattoes certainly evokes a smile. When William Pickens and Colonel Charles Young are so described, the smile breaks into uncontrollable laughter.

…The hundred thousand quadroons and the sixty-nine thousand octoroons together with numerous thousands of the nine hundred thousand mulattoes returned by the census of 1890 are crossing and are still likely to cross the great social divide and incorporate into the white race, in order to escape the lowest status of the despised fraction of their blood.

In some states a person with only one-eighth negro blood is given the legal status of white. The transition of the quadroon, octoroon, and lighter mulattoes will widen the physical margin between the two races. The male more easily crosses the social dead-line than the female. This gives a darker male a wider area for his well-known propensity to mate with a lighter female and will thus facilitate the rapid diffusion of white blood throughout the race…

…The author really proposes a triracial rather than a biracial division. The utter impracticability of this scheme would be found in the impossibility of identifying the so-called mulatto class. The mixed race always represents physical instability. I have known twin brothers who were so diverse in racial characteristics that the one easily crossed the color line and withheld all recognition from his brown brother who could not follow whither he went.

The dual caste system is undemocratic and un-Christian enough; to add a third would be inexcusable compounding of iniquity.

The first fruit of contact of two races of ethnic or cultural diversity is a composite progeny. There exists no biological dead line. Social custom and priestly sanction have never been able to control the cosmic urge to multiply and replenish the earth. The sons of God in their supercilious security never fail to look lustfully upon the daughters of men, while shielding their own females from the embrassure of the lower order of males. The composite progeny is generally the offspring of the male of the stronger race and the female of the weaker race. There is no discovered race repugnance or antipathy when it comes to the fundamental principles of reproduction. Political pronouncements, religious inhibition, social proscription, operate only upon the controlled sex. The first laws regulating slave relations were made to prevent intermarriages of negro males and white females. In the long run it makes no difference whether the races are mixed through the relation of the higher male and the lower female or by the reverse process. The social stigma against the bastard progeny dies out with the third and fourth generation. Intermingling of Norman and Saxon took place largely through bastardization, which has not the slightest influence or effect upon the pride of the Anglo-Saxon today…

Read the entire review here.

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The Mulatto In The United States: Including A Study Of The Role Of Mixed-Blood Races Throughout The World

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2009-10-18 20:16Z by Steven

The Mulatto In The United States: Including A Study Of The Role Of Mixed-Blood Races Throughout The World

Greenwood Press Reprint
918 (Reprint Publication Date: 1969-05-08)
417 pages
ISBN: 0-8371-0938-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8371-0938-1
DOI: 10.1336/0837109388

Edward Byron Reuter (1880-1946)

An historical study of the role of the mulatto in American society, with a discussion of the mixing of races in other parts of the world. Edward Byron Reuter (1880-1946) received his doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1919 for this dissertation. He served (in 1933) as the 22nd President of the American Sociological Society.

Read the entire book here.

Commentary by Steven F. Riley

For 21st century readers this book will most likely considered a racist trope on ‘racial mixing’.

On page 103 in Rainier Spencer‘s Spurious Issues: Race and Multiracial Identity Politics in the United States, he discusses Reuter and says…

…It would be best to begin with a frank examination of Reuter’s racial views.  With absolute bluntness Reuter assured his readers that the “lower culture of the Negro people is of course a simple observational fact and is to be accepted as such.  To question is to deny the obvious.”  He was quite clear about the relative cultural merits of the Negro and white races, which he posited as representing “the antipodal degrees of human culture: at the one extreme are the standards of West Africa; at the other, those of Western Europe.”  Nor did Reuter seem to think that there was any bias inherent in this arrangement, feeling certain enough of it to write that “no Negro questioned the superior ability of the white, and probably there is no Negro today who does not subconsciously believe the white man superior”…

It would be easy (and perhaps desirable) to dismiss the influence of Reuter, but according to his biography at the American Sociological Association:

…Reuter was an active and influential participant in the development of the sociological profession, serving as president of the American Sociological Society in 1933, as secretary-treasurer of the Sociological Research Association from 1936 to 1938 and as president of this group in 1939. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. From 1928 until a few months before his death in 1946, he was consulting editor of the McGraw-Hill “Publications in Sociology” series. He served approximately ten years as an advisory editor of The American Journal of Sociology….

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