Page images
PDF
EPUB

PART IV

CONCLUSION

CHAPTER XII

AIMS AND PROBLEMS

CERTAIN COMMON AIMS OBSERVABLE IN ALL

COUNTRIES STUDIED After having viewed the immigration situation in the seven countries selected for this study, the question naturally arises whether there are observable in these countries any common aims. One express determination does seem to be present in all, and that is to admit only such immigrants as will cause no permanent impairment of the national standards of living. Each country has its own aims and ambitions for the future, which have been derived from the type of people who first developed its resources, or from those whom each nation calls the native-born. This really means those groups who relatively early succeeded to places of importance. It is thus that Nordics prevail in one nation, and Alpines or Mediterraneans in another, and each values most its own distinctive characteristics. Besides this, for varying reasons, there is likely to be found in each country preferential alignment with certain other racial or national groups. For example, the Germans, who are predominantly Nordics, because of occupational adaptability, are desired in Brazil, which is of other basic stock. But such apparent exceptions do not obscure the fact that there has developed a national consciousness and self-appreciation in each nation which makes it openly question the wisdom of admitting into its midst aliens with standards varying widely from its own. The colored races have been the first to come under the ban, with considerable objection against the Orientals. Each nation is certain that it does not want its present character to suffer deterioration by the further admixture of unassimilable groups; and all view with suspicion those races having divergent physical, economic, and religious standards. An English-speaking white man's civilization seems to be the accepted standard in all but the South American republics where the Latin tongues take first place. Even in Brazil there are now indications of a color-line. This much, then, the countries under observation have in common in respect to their immigration policies. The World War having focused attention upon the structural weakness of a nation made up of a polyglot people, greater homogeneity of population has since become the watchword.

PROFESSOR KELLOGG ON RACE VARIATION

The whole question in regard to the essential superiority or inferiority of the different races is a vexed one and naturally unsettled because as yet we know little of the results of human hybridization. Professor Vernon Kellogg, speaking of race variation from the standpoint of a biologist, makes the following illuminating statement that may serve as a basis for further study of this important matter:

“ But, after all, there does seem to be fairly good evidence that some races may be declared to differ rather definitely in their average or modal mental endowment. The total range of variation in mental character may be fairly similar in two races, but one race may have a proportionally larger number of individuals below the mean of the range than the other, so that the weighted average of this race or nation may be said to be below that of another. There is more chance, then, of our receiving, through immigration, if we receive a fairly distributed sample of each race, a mentally poorer contribution from one race than another. Of course, we rarely do receive a fairly distributed sample of a given race. We almost always get a sample determined by economic or political or religious or what not other discriminatingly determining conditions. Sometimes this is a sample of the better individuals of the race; sometimes, and too often, of the poorer ones.

“Here, I think, lies the crux of the immigration problem; that is, of the biological phase of this problem. It is not,

1 The New Republic, August 8, 1923, pages 278, 279.

probably, so much the importance of the difference in racesalthough there is undoubtedly something in this—as it is the difference between the samples we actually get, and the samples we would prefer to get, of any of these races. It is quite probable— I should incline to say, certain—that we could get a poorer immigration contingent at any given time from a Nordic nation than from a Mediterranean nation. In this case we ought to prefer the Mediterranean group to the Nordic group. The reverse of this is equally possible--and, under the circumstances, more probable. What we need to pay especial attention to, and attempt to prevent by proper legislation, is the danger of getting bad samples of any race. We want the best samples we can have of Nordics, Alpines or Mediterraneans alike.

“ There is scientific evidence to show that we have been recently getting poorer samples of all of these groups than we used to get. In the course of the extensive psychological examinations of our army draft during the war it was possible to examine group samples not only of different European races and nations but also group samples of these races which had come to America in different years or groups of years. The results of these examinations clearly revealed a decided inferiority in average mental capacity of the recently arrived groups as compared with the groups arriving in earlier years, and this in the case of practically all the nations represented in the draft.

“ It may be suggested that the difference in the length of residence in the United States may account for this difference in mental capacity, an explanation flattering to our feelings of national pride, but one strenuously combated by the competent psychologists who devised and conducted the examinations. These men believe that their tests do test strictly the inherent or native mental capacity of the subjects examined, as distinct from any acquired information, education, or general culture. And residence, short or long, in a given country, can hardly modify inherited capacity in given individuals.”

The foregoing expert opinion expresses the practical judg

« PreviousContinue »