October 17, 2012

A nuanced reading of Earnest Hooton

AJPA DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22162

Two faces of Earnest A. Hooton

Eugene Giles

The American Anthropological Association's multimedia project, “Race: Are We So Different?” alleges that Earnest A. Hooton (1887–1954) of Harvard University was a racist eugenicist who “perhaps more than any other scientist of his time… did more to establish racial stereotypes…” and infers racism from his having sat on a National Research Council Committee on the Negro in the 1920s. I take issue with this perspective to argue against Hooton as a racist by exploring Hooton's relationship with African American students, particularly Caroline Bond Day, and with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People when it awarded a medal to Charles R. Drew, M.D. In the heyday of eugenics, Hooton was an atypical eugenicist in espousing a resolutely nonracial view of the woes of humankind perpetuated by what he considered the biologically unfit. As eugenics and Nazism became conflated in the late 1930s, Hooton hewed to a path that was more antiracist than many of his anthropological colleagues and publicly disputed Nazi racial ideology. Am J Phys Anthropol 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


1 comment:

apostateimpressions said...

Mmm, eugenics.

Ive been listening to courtly mediaeval music tonight with a traditional Catholic friend. Tell me that you dont believe in this or that and fair enough but tell me that you believe in nothing and I have problems with that. What is equality and multiculturalism (multiracialism) but a belief in nothing? A belief that everything is equal because quality is nothing? Dont claim to criticise anyone when you have a belief in nothing because you must have some criterion, some quality in mind. If you dont believe in quality then you dont believe in anything. All abstraction from quality, all Equality is belief in nothing and seriously speaking, the basic concepts in their meaning tell you that you must believe in quality before you believe in anything else: you must believe in quality before you can have intelligence or presume to criticise. Its not my fault if you cant understand concepts in their basic meaning and interrelation. The world is not some array of words that people fail to understand in their basic meaning. Learn Greek, learn Latin, learn some etymology, learn to _understand_ what words mean, understand concepts, before you pretend to criticise anyone else. If you believe in nothing then STFU.

OK, something positive. You are not God, you are not the purpose or the meaning of the Earth, all values do not rotate around you and your security. You are _not_ sacred. Get it?

OK, the mediaeval knight - great in manly virtue and great in high arts. Their songs ring out above any of the rubbish that is produced today. What is eugenics but the breeding of the complete human being, who is able to fulfill all aspects of human personality? Are you that? Maybe you arent the standard by which Values are evaluated. Maybe you arent quality? Are qualities nothing? Is human potential nothing? Sorry but you are _not_ the measure of reality, of human potential or of moral values. Reality is not all about you, get over it!

Perhaps we could clone the _worthwhile_ castes from human history. The Greek philosopher-aristocracy, Michael Angelo, Mozart etc. _Who_ says that you have more "right" to exist than them? Is it not "politically correct"? You have no grasp of quality and you have no grasp of reality or any grounds on which to criticise the ethics of anyone else.

All that is happening is the evolution of the species through the survival of the fittest. All else is an illusion. People oppose eugenics because they fancy that they would not fair well in any evaluation based on quality. The life instinct causes people to construct morality to suit themselves and their own survival.

But if reality is _worth_ anything it is with regard to quality.

"Not you!" Do you get it? Not you but something better. If I can grasp it then why cant you?

Did no one speak better on the subject of eugenics? Shame on you!