Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/147

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Psychology and Ethnology. 137

The conflict between psychology and history for the possession of ethnology is not merelj' a theoretic conflict, it is of the highest practical importance.

The " psychological " point of view logically leads to either of two ways of dealing with natives. They may be described as the "damn nigger" and the "little brown brother " schools. The first lays down that abominable customs presuppose an abominable mind, and, as many native customs are abominable in their eyes, they conclude that dark races are utterly depraved, and are to be treated worse than dogs. The men who hold these views are not necessarily bad men ; they are merely logical and narrow in their moral code. We need not stop to refute this doctrine, because it finds little sympathy at home. The other school is more insidious, because it is kinder in inten- tion. They also take custom as an index of character, but, being of a more paternal disposition, they conclude that the native is not responsible for his abominations, that his intelligence and moral sense is undeveloped, and even as a child's. He must be continually supervised, continually told what to do and what not to do, what to think and what not to think, he must be driven as children were driven at school in the good old days, and yet, since he is a child, gross offences must be but leniently chastised. Here, as it is so often in sociology, theory is father to practice, and savages soon become the children they were supposed to be, and bad children too. To describe the ensuing loss of initiative, of manliness, of common sense and moral responsibility, were too long and sad a tale. Let us hope that a better understanding and appreciation of savage customs will save the survivors from a similar fate.