Immigration and Race Attitudes


Emory S. Bogardus

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Few Americans realize the importance or the extent of what is probably the greatest single issue confronting America, that of race relationships. No matter to what section of the United States we turn, we find that a major racial problem stares us in the face. In the South the question of the Negro is easily one of our most perplexing conundrums, in spite of the great efforts to solve it now being made by Southerners. In the East the great numbers of immigrants working in factory, mine, and mill present peculiar difficulties in industrial, not to speak of community, relationships. In the West the Japanese problem not only led our Senate suddenly to break the " Gentlemen's Agreement," but it still persists in causing friction and racial animosities.

The last United States Census showed that there were 13,112,754 foreign-born inhabitants of the United States. This is thirteen per cent of the total population, or about one out of every eight. If we include those who were born of foreign and mixed parentage, the number rises to the astonishing total of 36,398,958-34.4 per cent. Assuming a normal sample, at least one out of three people whom we meet, on the average, is either foreign-born or of foreign parentage.

We have had a great number of books attempting to describe the rising tide of foreigners who threaten to change or engulf our customary American behavior code. The present text is unique among all previous books on immigration in the following respects:

First, it makes use of the case method. Instead of treating the subject by using abstract material with a finely integrated theory, it presents case material of fascinating

( viii) human interest - fascinating because true. Whatever principles are given are based on an overwhelming array of factual data.

Second, it is the only text which considers in detail the fundamental basis of all race relationships: namely, racial attitude. The causes, consequences, and cures of racial complexes, stereotypes, and antipathies are fully treated. The author deals with changes in attitude, racial friendliness as well as the relation of the race problem to personality, public opinion, education, and social service.

Third, it is one of the few treatises which recognizes the necessity for giving at least as much attention to the attitude of the native-white American as to the various minority groups within our population.

Finally, the author has attempted to secure evidence for his study by statistical summaries of the " social distance " of hundreds of Americans. Though it is too early to be sure that these tabulations are large enough to be representative of the average American attitude, he has gone further than most other writers on this subject in basing his conclusions on inductive data. Whether or not his conclusions at some time in the future will have to be modified, at present no student of immigration can afford to ignore them. The class which now studies immigration without using some of the material contained herein can hardly be said to have adequately studied our American race problem.



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