The Rising Tide of Color

by Lothrop Stoddard. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1920. 12mo, xxxi + 320 pp. $3.00.
FOUR, themes — the ethnographic interpretation of history, the political problem of Asia, the existing European chaos, and the immigration question in America — are woven by the author into a popular argument to show the need for white solidarity in the world at large, and for race eugenics in the United States. There is a historical introduction by Madison Grant, followed in turn by a description of the present geographical distribution of the races, a picture of the culmination and pause of white expansion since the beginning of the present century, and a forecast of future race rivalries and conflicts, with a suggested programme of preparedness against them.
The result is a book which provokes timely and useful thought, but which has the defect of all arguments based upon citations of opinion, that it is no stronger than the opinions which it cites. The Nordic race-theory, to winch the author largely appeals, was rather overworked by certain German publicist historians before the war. This need not discredit the theory, much less the author’s thesis, which rests upon a broader basis of political and social facts; but it justifies suspending judgment as to some of the book’s deductions until that theory has been critically reëxamined.
Elsewhere, too, the thoughtful reader may be inclined to insert a query in the margin. Probably the native birth-rate would have been higher in America if we had received fewer immigrants; and if our present immigration flood continues, it may extinguish the race of Washington and Lincoln, and replace it by a lower type. Our highest native birth-rate to-day seems to be in states like North Carolina, which have fewest immigrants. But the presence of the negro apparently has not seriously checked the multiplication of whites in the South. Australia, with almost no immigration of non-British stock, has a low and declining birth-rate; and France hardly owes its empty cradles to an alien influx.
Yet we have seen with our own eyes the geographical displacement of California farmers by Japanese still going on apace in the Sacramento Valley. Contact and competition with aliens of lower living standards seem to blight more advanced peoples with sterility. But that blight, unhappily, is carried by other things than immigrants. Nor does it affect the white races alone. Industrialization and city life are reducing the size of families in Japan; and in the heart of our own black belt, pickaninnies are becoming noticeably rarer in the cotton-fields.
The coming political relations of the races, and the division of the earth’s resources among them, are still more conjectural topics. Capital is more mobile than labor. The race-battles of the future may be fought at such long range, that the projectiles will be bales and barrels carried in the holds of steamers. Mr. Stoddard has only touched the outskirts of his subject. It is so large and unexplored that any popular book upon it seems inadequate and premature. But such a book was none the less needed, and Mr. Stoddard has supplied this need. V. S. C.