Archive for ‘racism’

June 16, 2009

Unnecessarily long and disjointed thoughts on Tolkien (part 1)

(I cannot guarantee that I will subscribe entirely to this post tomorrow)

China Mieville on Omnivoracious provides us with some Perhaps In Some Cases Somewhat Insufficiently Stressed Reasons We Should All Be Terribly Grateful To Tolkien:

For some of us, there’s always been something about this tradition–and it’s hard to put your finger on–vaguely flattened out, somehow; too clean, maybe; overburdened with precision. Alan Garner, perhaps the most brilliant sufferer from this disaffection, once put it thus: to him, the Greek and Roman myths were ‘as cold as their marble’.

Compare the knotty, autumnal, blooded contingency of the Norse tales, with their anti-moralistic evasive intricacies, their pointlessly and fascinatingly various tiers of Godhead, their heart-meltingly bizarre nomenclature: Ginnungagap; Yggdrasil; Ratatosk. This is the tradition that Tolkien mines and glorifies–Middle Earth, after all, being not-so-subtly a translation of Midgard.

(Unrelated: Mieville is a Garner fan. *squee*)

A few months ago, Richard Morgan wrote this post about Tolkien’s work (well. Lord of the Rings) and said some interesting things. And he’s right up to a point – that line from Gorbag opens up a whole new set of possibilities. I want that story, I want to know what life is like in inner city Mordor, I want to know what it means to be an orc, and ugly, and evil (but not with free will, or presumably some orcs would choose not to be evil – and if you don’t have free will can you be evil?). Tolkien chooses not to tell it.

There are other stories he chooses not to tell. The blue wizards, Alatar and Pallando – I could have done with a bit more about them. The East in general. What was happening to the less-Caucasian men while the Numenoreans were busy enacting the Atlantis myth. Haleth (who is kickass). Maybe some more actual soldiers in the war – that dead guy from Harad who Sam feels sorry for for a few minutes. He did actually start writing one story I wanted to read – “Tal-elmar”, set in Middle-earth when the Numenoreans begin to return. It is quite possible that if he’d gone on with it he’d have screwed it up and been hopelessly racist (more than the story already is, I mean) and I’d be very annoyed. It’s unfinished, though, and so certain possibilities are left open.

I actually subscribe to most criticisms of Tolkien. Including this one, also by Mieville. And bits of this one by Moorcock. And of course I did not know the man personally, have no real access to his mind, and cannot know what he was aiming for when he wrote what he wrote.

But more and more I find myself seeing him as a man who was really into structure. The Silmarillion is an obvious example of this. It’s not the history of a race, it’s a mythology. It is told in exactly the way such a mythology would be told. The minute you come to that conclusion, you’re asking who the “teller” of the Silmarillion is. And it’s no longer how Tolkien envisioned the history of the elves, it’s how Tolkien thinks the elves would tell their own history. This is probably obvious to many of you, but it took me about 10 years to figure out.

The Lord of the Rings is, as Morgan says, about “the ponderous epic tones of Towering Archetypal Evil pitted against Irritatingly Radiant Good (oh – and guess who wins)” (and at the risk of being attracting his contempt I’m willing to admit that I find that stirring and often moving) because that’s the sort of text it is. That’s the structure it’s modelling itself upon. Very rarely do I feel any deep interest in all these noble people, because it’s not really about them. And things like realworld racial issues, realworld gender issues, realworld class issues; those things that affect so many actual people may have no place in this grand Good vs Evil narrative, and black and white as colours for your characters can be Archetypes if you’re willing to not think about their implications for actual people of colour. So when he leaves out the stuff that’s actually happening in the world he’s living in, I’m not sure if it’s because he’s “in full, panic-stricken flight from it”. You could criticise Tolkien’s choice of this form - it’s probably easier to choose a literary form that allows you to ignore this stuff if you’re a white dude in Britain. But having chosen it, you would hardly expect the books to offer any deep insight into the human condition.

What interests me is actually how much he allows to slip through the cracks.

Take the battle in The Two Towers, between the Rohirrim and the Dunlendings. Saruman has fired up the Dunlendings by reminding them that the Rohirrim took their land centuries ago (The movie version shows this bit rather well, incidentally). Tolkien never addresses this or tries to prove that the Rohirrim were justified, or that Gondor had a perfect right to take land from one group of people and give it to another. Now you could assume that this is because it’s self-evident within the text that Gondor and Rohan have a right to do whatever they like (also the Dunlendings are kind of swarthy). But it’s open; an accusation has been made and not disproved, the Rohirrim are no longer unstained, and the Dunlendings might actually have a point.* That’s pretty big.

And there’s that bit Morgan points to, where the Orcs turn human, just for a moment. And (however much he may fail at women in general) Gandalf explaining to Eomer that Eowyn’s life was actually not that much fun. And the deliberate use of Merry and Pippin who, when they’re not being the comic relief, are the most human things about the text. It’s not enough, but that it’s there at all frequently fascinates me.

Which would probably be a good reason for me (an adult) to read “something like that” even if it didn’t move me as much as it so often does.

(Part 2 will follow, containing my own list of things to love Tolkien for and insightful insights into the trouble with literary criticism about the man! Eventually.)

* I’m not going to talk about Tolkien and colonialism here. Mainly because I recently wrote a 7000 word paper on it, and anything less than 7000 words would seem simplistic and not really what I want to say. But I do recommend that you read (if you can) Elizabeth Massa Hoiem’s “World Creation as Colonization: British Imperialism in “Aldarion and Erendis”” in Tolkien Studies Vol.2. It’s rather excellent.

May 16, 2009

MammothFail

I’ve been following the discussions around the new Patricia Wrede book (The Thirteenth Child) for some time now, and it’s probably obvious where I stand on the issue. But for now, I’m going to post this quote from Wrede, without comment.

I’m currently assuming there will be African slaves, possibly even more (since there won’t be any Native Americans to have already done a certain amount of prepping land for human occupation, nor to be exploited later).
(Context)

Actually, no. Here’s a comment. WTF?

April 28, 2009

Things that make me go Buh?

While talking about children’s books today, Elinor M.Brent-Dyer’s Rivals of the Chalet School came up in conversation. Specifically, this bit:

Cornelia Flower, another American child, jumped to her feet. ‘Let’s swear a feud against them,’ she said.

‘Mademoiselle said we weren’t to,’ objected Margia.

‘Well, call ourselves the Ku-Klux-Klan, and then it isn’t a feud,’ put in Evadne. ‘It’s fighting for our rights—and things.’

Margia knew perfectly well that it would mean a feud only under another name, but she easily stifled the voice of her conscience, and nodded. ‘It seems an idea. What can we do? What did the American Ku-Klux-Klan do?’

No one was very sure, not even Evadne and Cornelia. Then the former was seized with a brilliant notion.

‘Joey Bettany has some of those awful “Elsie books.” Let’s borrow them—they’re American all right, so they’re sure to say something about them. Then we’ll know where we are.’…

…Cyrilla went back to the form-room where the meeting was, and delivered the precious volumes over to Margia, who dealt them round as far as they would go, and ordained that those left out must look over with someone. For a time there was no sound to be heard but the turning of leaves. Then, suddenly, Giovanna Donati uttered a cry of joy. ‘Here it is, Margia! See!’

Down went the other books and there was a unanimous rush to where she sat, and black, brown, red, and fair heads clustered together over the pages. Yes; there it was.

Margia commandeered the book, and waved them all to their seats. ‘Sit down, an’ I’ll read it to you. Then we’ll know.’

They sat down, and she read aloud industriously for half an hour, after which she passed on the office to someone else, as she was growing hoarse.

The account of the doings of that far-famed ‘Klan’ as given in Elsie’s Motherhood thrilled them all, though they sometimes stumbled over the long words used and were bothered by the very elaborate style of the book.

‘Cut all that,’ commanded Margia when the reader came to any ‘preachy’ bits. ‘Get on to the fun.’…

…After Kaffee und Kuchen, they returned to their amusement, and by the time the bell rang for their amusement, and by the time the bell rang for them to go upstairs and change for the evening, they knew all they wanted about the original Ku-Klux-Klan.

‘Only we can’t go round beating people or sticking up coffins against their back-doors,’ said Margia regretfully.

I’d always assumed that this was just one of those random and bizarre bits of acceptable racism one comes across in old-ish children’s books (Rivals was published in 1929). But since the Elsie book in question is available online (here) I went to check and found that it is actually quite condemnatory of the Klan. Consider this, for example:

“So the Ku Klux outrages have begun in our neighborhood,” remarked Mr. Horace Dinsmore, and went on to denounce their proceedings in unmeasured terms. The faces of several of his auditors flushed angrily. Enna shot a fierce glance at him, muttering “scalawag,” half under her breath, while his old father said testily, “Horace, you speak too strongly. I haven’t a doubt the rascals deserved all they got. I’m told one of them at least, had insulted some lady, Mrs. Foster, I believe, and that the others had been robbing hen-roosts and smoke-houses.”

“That may perhaps be so, but at all events every man has a right to a fair trial,” replied his son, “and so long as there is no difficulty in bringing such matters before the civil courts, there is no excuse for Lynch law, which is apt to visit its penalties upon the innocent as well as the guilty.”

At this, George Boyd, who, as the nephew of the elder Mrs. Carrington and a member of the Ashlands household, had been invited with the others, spoke warmly in defence of the organization, asserting that its main object was to defend the helpless, particularly in guarding against the danger of an insurrection of the blacks.

“There is not the slightest fear of that,” remarked Mr. Travilla, “there may be some few turbulent spirits among them, but as a class they are quiet and inoffensive.”

“Begging your pardon, sir,” said Boyd, “I find them quite the reverse;–demanding their wages directly they are due, and not satisfied with what one chooses to give. And that reminds me that you, sir, and Mr. Horace Dinsmore, and that carpet-bagger of Fairview are entirely too

liberal in the wages you pay.”

“That is altogether our own affair, sir,” returned Mr. Dinsmore, haughtily. “No man or set of men shall dictate to me as to how I spend my money. What do you say, Travilla?”

“I take the same position; shall submit to no such infringement of my liberty to do as I will with my own.”

Martha Finley’s racism is mostly of the “pity the poor ignorant black people” variety than the Klan sort. Elsie’s Motherhood is written in 1876 and even then the author seems to have suspected that writing about the Klan, in whatever fashion, might be rather fraught. Hence the placatory foreword.

The published reports of the Congressional Committee of Investigation were resorted to as the most reliable source of information, diligently examined, and care taken not to go beyond the facts there given as regards the proceedings of the Klan, the clemency and paternal acts of the Government, or the kindly, fraternal feelings and deeds of the people of the North toward their impoverished and suffering brethren of the South.

These things have become matters of history: vice and crime should be condemned wherever found; and naught has been set down in malice; for the author has a warm love for the South as part and parcel of the dear land of her birth.

May this child of her brain give pain to none, but prove pleasant and profitable to all who peruse its pages, and especially helpful to young parents, M. F.

So I have to wonder how closely the Chalet girls (and EBD herself) were reading, for them to assume that none of this is in any way problematic. Maybe all the long speeches condemning the Klan were dismissed as ‘preachy’ and left unread. I don’t know. I’m entirely baffled.

April 11, 2009

Anita, Natasha

Scott Eric Kaufman’s response to the ridiculous (and racist) Betty Brown thing got me thinking about names and the cultures they exist in and so forth.

I’m used to non-Indian people not being able to pronounce my name – Indian people fail at it too, frequently, even with a Famous Actress to help them. And I’ve thought (usually after pronouncing my name very slowly a few times and then being too embarrassed to keep doing it once they’ve reached a mispronunciation I feel like I can live with) it would be so much easier, if one lived in another culture, to jettison the lovely, multisyllabled names you wanted to use and stick to names that could ‘pass’ as belonging to either culture.

————————

And there’s Deepa D’s incredible post from a few months ago (and if you didn’t read it then you must now) where she talks, among other things, about growing up speaking Marathi and Hindi but reading in English.

I grew up with half a tongue.

Do not tell me, or the people like me who have grown up hearing Arabic around them, or singing in Swahili, or dreaming in Bengali—but reading only (or even mostly) in English (or French, or Dutch)—that this colonial rape of our language has not infected our ability to narrate, has not crippled our imagination. When I was in class 7, our English teacher gave us the rare creative writing assignment, and three of my classmates wrote adventure stories about characters named Julian and Peggy and Tom. Do not tell me that this cultural fracture does not affect the odds required to produce enough healthy imaginations that can chrysalis into writers. When we call ourselves Oreos or Coconuts or Bananas (Black/Brown/Yellow on the outside, White on the inside)—understand the ruptures and bafflement that accompanies our consumption of your media while we resent and critique it.

This.

It was hard, as a child, to conceive of brown names as the sort of names to which things actually happened, for any sort of interesting storyline to not be rendered ridiculous by the inclusion of a character with a name like mine. It still is, in some ways. I remember the day a friend brought up the topic of the new Indian Mills and Boon books that would feature Indian characters. We (there were three or four of us) all burst out laughing at the thought of an Indian romantic hero – it seemed ludicrous.

But then, beyond the age of ten or eleven you could hardly continue to write about the Julians and the Peggys of the world, not unless you wanted to restrict your characters to one religious group. So we found ways around it; long, “authentically” Indian names (see? we’d proved we weren’t colonised) that could be shortened to reasonably European-sounding monosyllables or names that could pass for either culture – a series of Anitas and Ninas and Ritas and Natashas and Taras and the occasional Pia.

March 30, 2009

"You can’t make jokes anymore"

This suppression of freedom of speech must stop. How else will our generation produce a Wilde, or a Dorothy Parker, or a P.G Wodehouse?

(Helen links to it too, but read this)

December 11, 2008

Haggard

…I am overworked and under-rested.

But here, have some excellence from H. Rider Haggard’s Ayesha: The Return of She. I love this man. He’s offensive, he’s hilarious, but he tells such great stories.

“And how wilt thou persuade the kings of the earth to place their crowns upon thy head?” I asked, astonished.

“By causing their peoples to offer them to us,” she answered suavely. “Oh! Holly, Holly, how narrow is thy mind, how strained the quality of thine imagination! Set its poor gates ajar, I pray, and bethink thee. When we appear among men, scattering gold to satisfy their want, clad in terrifying power, in dazzling beauty and in immortality of days, will they not cry, ‘Be ye our monarchs and rule over us!’”

“Perhaps,” I answered dubiously, “but where wilt thou appear?”

She took a map of the eastern hemisphere which I had drawn and, placing her finger upon Pekin, said—”There is the place that shall be our home for some few centuries, say three, or five, or seven, should it take so long to shape this people to my liking and our purposes. I have chosen these Chinese because thou tellest me that their numbers are uncountable, that they are brave, subtle, and patient, and though now powerless because ill-ruled and untaught, able with their multitudes to flood the little western nations. Therefore among them we will begin our reign and for some few ages be at rest while they learn wisdom from us, and thou, my Holly, makest their armies unconquerable and givest their land good government, wealth, peace, and a new religion.”

What the new religion was to be I did not ask. It seemed unnecessary, since I was convinced that in practice it would prove a form of Ayesha-worship, Indeed, my mind was so occupied with conjectures, some of them quaint and absurd enough, as to what would happen at the first appearance of Ayesha in China that I forgot this subsidiary development of our future rule.

“And if the ‘little western nations’ will not wait to be flooded?” suggested Leo with irritation, for her contemptuous tone angered him, one of a prominent western nation. “If they combine, for instance, and attack thee first?”

“Ah!” she said, with a flash of her eyes. “I have thought of it, and for my part hope that it will chance, since then thou canst not blame me if I put out my strength. Oh! then the East, that has slept so long, shall awake—shall awake, and upon battlefield after battlefield such as history cannot tell of, thou shalt see my flaming standards sweep on to victory. One by one thou shalt watch the nations fall and perish, until at length I build thy throne upon the hecatombs of their countless dead and crown thee emperor of a world regenerate in blood and fire.”

November 6, 2008

While on the subject of shipwreck/island books

Here’s a charming little section from the Ballantyne one. Incidentally, this was published in 1857.


In a second the boat was lowered and manned by a part of the crew, who were all armed with cutlasses and pistols. As the captain passed me to get into it he said, “Jump into the stern-sheets, Ralph; I may want you.” I obeyed, and in ten minutes more we were standing on the stranger’s deck. We were all much surprised at the sight that met our eyes. Instead of a crew of such sailors as we were accustomed to see, there were only fifteen blacks, standing on the quarter-deck, and regarding us with looks of undisguised alarm. They were totally unarmed, and most of them unclothed. One or two, however, wore portions of European attire. One had on a pair of duck trousers, which were much too large for him, and stuck out in a most ungainly manner; another wore nothing but the common, scanty, native garment round the loins and a black beaver hat; but the most ludicrous personage of all, and one who seemed to be chief, was a tall, middle-aged man, of a mild, simple expression of countenance, who wore a white cotton shirt, a swallow-tailed coat, and a straw hat, while his black, brawny legs were totally uncovered below the knees.

“Where’s the commander of this ship?” inquired our captain, stepping up to this individual.

“I is cap’in,” he answered, taking off his straw hat and making a low bow.

“You!” said our captain in surprise. “Where do you come from, and where are you bound? What cargo have you aboard?”

“We is come,” answered the man with the swallow-tail, “from Aitutaki; we was go for Rarotonga. We is native miss’nary ship; our name is de Olive Branch; an’ our cargo is two tons cocoa-nuts, seventy pigs, twenty cats, and de Gosp’l.”

This announcement was received by the crew of our vessel with a shout of laughter, which, however, was peremptorily checked by the captain, whose expression instantly changed from one of severity to that of frank urbanity as he advanced towards the missionary and shook him warmly by the hand.

“I am very glad to have fallen in with you,” said he, “and I wish you much success in your missionary labours. Pray take me to your cabin, as I wish to converse with you privately.”

The missionary immediately took him by the hand, and as he led him away I heard him saying, “me most glad to find you trader; we t’ought you be pirate. You very like one ’bout the masts.”

In a book about civilising savage people of colour by making Christians out of them, it’s heartening to learn that, once converted, they’re merely hilarious.

September 19, 2008

I am in the know

A couple of years ago Alie sent me What Every Married Woman Should Know, a 1951 book by one Dr. R. Martin (an Australian, I think – though his consistent abuse of commas leads me to suspect Tam ancestry somewhere) that is dedicated to “all those unhappy people who do not know”.

It’s actually rather lovely. Dr. Martin reminds us all in his foreword that science is the dominant factor in our lives whether we realise it or not, and insists that in providing facts about the human body (with very good diagrams too) he is not being vulgar.

Chapter one deals with evolution, which Dr.Martin thinks everyone must understand if they wish to have a successful marriage.

Evolution teaches us that all living things, both animal and botanical, had common ancestors which gradually climbed up the ladder of time, on every step becoming more perfect, until they culminated in man – the Lord of Creation.

Okay.

When it gets to the sex (after a long discussion of things like amoebas and the romantic life of, for some reason, the stickleback), the book is really almost impressive. The diagrams, as I said, are excellent. The location of the clitoris (something people still seem to have difficulties with) is given clearly. The idea that sex is something that women can actually enjoy is also put forward. This should go without saying, but I spent part of this morning getting a pedicure and reading the advice columns in some of the more regressive women’s mags, and…trust me. It doesn’t.

In chapter 6, the chapter summary thing under the title promises us “a masterly summary of menstruation”. Why be modest, Dr. Martin? Personally I prefer this 1946 Disney movie in which women do not have feet. (Via) But.


The youngest age at which the author of this book has seen a woman delivered of a child was 13 years old… the child mother certainly looked much older than her 13 years, and had her child without much trouble to herself or the attendants, but the thought of that poor girl (and she was a nice, well-spoken girl, too) being saddled with the care of a child…left an impression upon my mind that only death can wipe away.*

Also,


The changes , at puberty, come on very gradually as already mentioned, and it is not until the age of about 19 or 20 that the girl becomes a fully developed woman – beautiful to behold (if she comes of good stock) capable of not only having children, but also of looking after them and her household as well.

Chapter eight condemns masturbation…I think. At least, it condemns “gazing at lustful pictures, and reading novels, etc., the sole purpose of which lies in their sexual appeal” because it will lead to “habits of the worse sort”.

Chapter eleven, according to the summary, “deals almost exclusively with varicose veins”

Chapter twelve, however, takes up “the vital subject of childless marriages”. It is necessary to quote.


Had the populace maintained the rate of 1881 during the period from then to now, we would have a native-born population of over eleven million people rather than the seven and one half million that we boasted of having!
The Government, through its Ministers, decries the low population figures and insists that we must populate and develop the land if we are going to hold this fair country from the expanding races of Asia.

On childless couples:


To these unhappy people we can only extend sympathy as they face advancing years without offspring to brighten their path. And also the yellow peril. They are not to be envied, but our deepest sympathy should be extended to them.

On pregnancy:

It goes without saying that the utmost care must be taken lest any impurity should find its way into the internal organs. If this should occur, septic mischief with its attendant danger will follow as night the day.

(The rest of the pregnancy chapter deals with practical things like not wearing corsets, hardening the nipples against breast feeding and avoiding constipation. I will not go into these, though the nipple-hardening thing seems like it might be useful)

Chapter fourteen warns against inter-religious and inter-racial marriages (“not considering the problems of the half-caste child, with its social ostracism”. Most of his reasoning against these marriages seems to be related to the raising of children. Theoretically the couples could just not have children, but then the Asians would take over.

And finally, here’s Dr. Martin on menopause:

Some women exhibit the change more than others, but generally profound nervous conditions take place. The patient becomes very nervy, gets headaches, hot flushes, blushes easily and also shows sexual excitement. In very bad cases the victim sometimes becomes temporarily mentally deranged.

*Question – who does Dr. Martin sound like here? Email me your answers!

September 15, 2008

Two book related things.

Last week Aadisht paid a surprise trip to Delhi, bringing with him a pile of books he’d borrowed from me sometime in July. These included Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet (incidentally, Alanna recently turned 25). In the couple of months since he’d borrowed them, the space they occupied in my shelves had been taken up (by Elizabeth Bear, if you’re curious) and so the books have been perched on a pile of papers at the foot of my bed for a few days. Which is why for the last couple of days I have stayed up all night rereading the Alanna books, the Daine books (I’m on Emperor Mage) and will probably be rereading the Kel books after. This is the fourth or fifth time I’m reading these, and that they can still keep me up reading all night is, I think, impressive.

***

A friend has been supplying me with hilarious and excellent Mills&Boon publications. I’ve been captivated by the Sheikhs and Desert Love books since Aadisht and I read King of the Desert, Captive Bride in Starmark in Calcutta back in March. In the last week or so, I’ve also gone through The Sheikh’s Defiant Bride, The Mediterranean Prince’s Captive Virgin (which does not feature a Sheikh. Or indeed desert love) and Wanted: Royal Wife and Mother.

These books sound outrageous, as do many of the titles they’ve been coming out with recently – Bedded at the Billionaire’s Convenience? (Reading the new M&B titles is a big part of my book-shopping routine) And yet they’re really not any more regressive or shocking than most M&B books I’ve read – nothing like as bad as the titles would lead you to expect. So I can only assume that books that sound like they’re about powerless white women being held captive and raped by rich, powerful, often brown men are selling well. Oh good.

September 2, 2008

More G.O quoteage

This one’s from Angela Brazil‘s The Jolliest School of All (1922 according to this site, though Wikipedia seems to think it doesn’t exist) in which a bunch of English (and American and Australian and South African, as long as they have English ancestry) girls attend a school in Naples which only caters to Anglo girls. There are some amazing moments, such as the bullying of one girl because she has a French surname and is from Jersey, and the statement that the school comprises the best of various countries (Italian scenery, French decor, English people) , and the insistence of the head girl that the students are not to put on the airs of “these foreign girls”, but this bit is by far my favourite:

“Girls,” she began, “I asked you to come here because I want to have a talk with you about our school life. You’ll all agree with me that we love the Villa Camellia. It’s a unique school. I don’t suppose there’s another exactly like it in the whole world. Why it’s so peculiar is that we’re a set of Anglo-Saxon girls in the midst of a foreign-speaking country. We ourselves are collected from different continents—some are Americans, some English, some from Australia, or New Zealand, or South Africa—but we all talk the same Anglo-Saxon tongue, and we’re bound together by the same race traditions. Large schools in England or America take a great pride in their foundation, and they play other schools at games and record their victories. We can’t do that here, because there are no foreign teams worth challenging, so we’ve always had to be our own rivals and have form matches. In a way, it hasn’t been altogether good for us. We’ve got into the bad habit of thinking of the school in sections, instead of as one united whole. I’ve even heard squabbles among you as to whether California or Cape Colony or New South Wales are the most go-ahead places to live in. Now, instead of scrapping, we ought to be glad to join hands. If[249] you think of it, it’s a tremendous advantage to grow up among Anglo-Saxon girls from other countries and hear their views about things. It ought to keep you from being narrow, at any rate. You get fresh ideas and rub your corners off. What I want you particularly to think about, is this: it’s the duty of all English-speaking people to cling together. If they’ve ever had any differences it’s time they forgot them. The world seems to be in the melting-pot at present, and there are many strange prophecies about the future. Black and yellow races are increasing and growing so rapidly that they may be ready to brim over their boundaries some day and swamp the white civilizations. Anglo-Saxons ought to be prepared, and to stand hand in hand to help one another. I’ve been reading some queer things lately. One is that a new continent is slowly rising out of the Pacific Ocean—Lemuria they call it—and some day, hundreds of years hence, there may be land there instead of water, and people living on it. They say too that the center of gravity of both the British Empire and the United States is moving towards the Pacific. Sydney may grow more important than London, and San Francisco than New York when the trade routes make them fresh pivots of energy. Another funny thing I read is that as the world is changing a new race seems to be emerging. Travelers say that the modern children in Australia don’t look in the least like English children or French children, or any European nation—they are[250] a fresh type. America has been populated by people from practically all the older countries, but I read that children who are being born there now differ in their head measurements from babies of the older races. Perhaps some of you may be interested in this and some of you may only be bored, but what I want to rub in is that if a new, and perhaps superior, race is evolving it’s surely part of our work to help it on. Here we all are, girls from England, America, and the British Colonies, of the same race and speaking the same language. Let us make an Anglo-Saxon League, and pledge ourselves that wherever we go over the face of the world we will carry with us the best traditions. We’re out for Peace, not War, and Peace comes through sympathy. The women of those great eastern nations, the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Hindoos, who are only just awakening to a sense of freedom, will look to us Westerners for their example. Can’t we hold out the hand of sisterhood to them, and teach them our highest ideals, so that in the centuries to come they may be our friends instead of our enemies? It’s a case of ‘Take up the White Man’s burden.’ We stand together, not as Scotch, or Canadians, or New Zealanders or Americans, but as good Anglo-Saxons, the apostles of peace, not ‘frightfulness.’

(Also see this)