The Rising Tide of Color
Against White World-Supremacy
by Lothrop Stoddard
More than a decade ago I became convinced that the key-note of twentieth-century world-politics would be the relations between the primary races of mankind. Momentous modifications of existing race-relations were evidently impending, and nothing could be more vital to the course of human evolution than the character of these modifications, since upon the quality of human life all else depends.
Accordingly, my attention was thenceforth largely directed to racial matters. In the preface to an historical monograph (“The French Revolution in San Domingo”) written shortly before the Great War, I stated: “The world-wide struggle between the primary races of mankind—the ‘conflict of color,’ as it has been happily termed—bids fair to be the fundamental problem of the twentieth century, and great communities like the United States of America, the South African Confederation, and Australasia regard the ‘color question’ as perhaps the gravest problem of the future.”
Those lines were penned in June, 1914. Before their publication the Great War had burst upon the world. At that time several reviewers commented upon the above dictum and wondered whether, had I written two months later, I should have held a different opinion.
As a matter of fact, I should have expressed myself even more strongly to the same effect. To me the Great War was from the first the White Civil War, which, whatever its outcome, must gravely complicate the course of racial relations.
Before the war I had hoped that the readjustments rendered inevitable by the renascence of the brown and yellow peoples of Asia would be a gradual, and in the main a pacific, process, kept within evolutionary bounds by the white world’s inherent strength and fundamental solidarity. The frightful weakening of the white world during the war, however, opened up revolutionary, even cataclysmic, possibilities.
In saying this I do not refer solely to military “perils.” The subjugation of white lands by colored armies may, of course, occur, especially if the white world continues to rend itself with internecine wars. However, such colored triumphs of arms are less to be dreaded than more enduring conquests like migrations which would swamp whole populations and turn countries now white into colored man’s lands irretrievably lost to the white world. Of course, these ominous possibilities existed even before 1914, but the war has rendered them much more probable.
The most disquieting feature of the present situation, however, is not the war but the peace. The white world’s inability to frame a constructive settlement, the perpetuation of intestine hatreds, and the menace of fresh white civil wars complicated by the spectre of social revolution, evoke the dread thought that the late war may be merely the first stage in a cycle of ruin.
In fact, so absorbed is the white world with its domestic dissensions that it pays scant heed to racial problems whose importance for the future of mankind far transcends the questions which engross its attention to-day.
This relative indifference to the larger racial issues has determined the writing of the present book. So fundamental are these issues that a candid discussion of them would seem to be timely and helpful.
In the following pages I have tried to analyze in their various aspects the present relations between the white and non-white worlds. My task has been greatly aided by the Introduction from the pen of Madison Grant, who has admirably summarized the biological and historical background. A life-long student of biology, Mr. Grant approaches the subject along that line. My own avenue of approach being world-politics, the resulting convergence of different view-points has been a most useful one.
For the stimulating counsel of Mr. Grant in the preparation of this book my thanks are especially due. I desire also to acknowledge my indebtedness for helpful suggestions to Messrs. Alleyne Ireland, Glenn Frank, and other friends.
New York City,
February 28, 1920.