Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Barzun on Race

Race a Study in Superstitionwasn't exactly what I expected. It was first published in 1937, which explains why the author's perspective was not what I was used to. Don't get me wrong, Barzun is not a racist or anything, it's just that the book examines the history of how 19th century social scientists and thinkers thought about race. Primarily, Barzun compares how the French classified themselves and how Nordics did, etc. He shows how this was nonsense, but nowadays we all agree.

He did begin by mentioning how no sooner is say Department 1 devided into two new groups and the people who were once "one of us" are now those annoying idiots on the second floor. We do have to fight that propensity.

It was an interesting book to pair with A Passage to India.

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