Source

Bibliographic data

Barr, Donald: The How and Why Wonder Book of Primitive Man. Deluxe Edition. The How and Why Wonder Books. Grosset and Dunlap, 1961, 28–32.

"What is a race?"


[p. 28]

[right column]

What is a racea ?

The word “race” is a deadly word. Only twenty years ago, six million Jewish people were murdered at the orders of the madman Hitler because he thought he belonged to a “master race” and his helpless victims belonged to a “lower race”. The word “race” is dangerous because it is used with many different meanings, and most of them are cruel nonsense.

To the scientist – to the geneticist and the anthropologist – there is only one proper meaning: A race is a group of people who have had the same ancestors in recent times and whose bodies look pretty much alike. By bodies the scientists mean people’s skin, hair, eyes, teeth, bones, blood cells and things like that – but not people’s minds.

[…]

[p. 29]

[left column]

[…]

Why did races evolve?

There are as many different types of human bodies as there are kinds of places where humans live. The differences are astonishing. There are the almost blue-black Papuans of the South Pacific and the pale pink Northern Europeans. There are the fat Eskimos in Greenland and the skinny Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. There are the Watusi Negroes of Africa, seven feet tall, and the Pygmies of Africa, four feet tall. And all go back to the same prehistoric ancestors.

While we still do not know very much about why such differences came about, we have discovered several fascinating facts. They all point to the same thing: All these race differences are ways in which men have become specialists in living in certain kinds of places.

Why are some races dark-skinned?

[…]

[right column]

[four black-and-white drawings depicting heads of men with different physical features such as skin color and type of hair]

[p. 30]

[left column]

[six black-and-white drawings depicting a "European", a "Watusi", a "Solomon Islander", an "American Indian", an "Eskimo" and a "Pygmy", all of whom are men in traditional clothing]

[right column]

[…]

In places like northwestern Europe, where the sunlight is weak and there is a lot of cloudy weather, people with the pinkish-white skin that does not have this chemical b are better off than others, because their bodies can make more Vitamin D. And that is exactly where most of the pinkish-white people are found.

[…]

[p. 31]

[right column]

[…]

Are some races smarter?

A scientist, like any other man, is proud of his own kind of people. But he is more proud of being honest. And so scientists who have studied other races of men – they are called ethnologists , which is Greek for “talkers about nations” – have usually reported that no matter where you go in the world and no matter what the people look like, there are some stupid ones and some clever ones and most are about the same.

This is probably because good brains help a man stay alive in any part of the world, so no group has evolved much

[p. 32]

[left column]

faster or further than others, at least above the neck.

[…]

[right column]

[…]

Always remember this: Men are men. There are no men now alive who are “nearer to the apes” than others.

[a] Editor's note: See glossary entry race .

[b] Editor's note: In the preceding paragraph the author wrote about the body chemical „that colors the skin tan or brown“.

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