Race as Simulacrum | The “American” Case

Read the full article here | VOX

The hierarchy reflects the conventional wisdom of the time — eugenics and social Darwinism hypothesized that the Nordic races were the most evolved, that southern and eastern Europeans were less so, and that non-Europeans (who are barely worth a mention on the immigration map) were the “lowest,” least-evolved peoples.

There wasn’t universal agreement on what the races actually were, but the federal government appears to have used “Nordic, Celtic, Slavic and Iberic” regularly to categorize the immigrants coming into America. A medical journal article published about a decade after this map expresses concern about the “preponderance of the Iberic and Slavic races” among recent immigrants, because of “their poorer physical and mental equipment, and their radically different ideals and standards of living as compared with the Celtic and Teutonic races.”

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