Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/779

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THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.

growing strength. If God should hold in his right hand all truth and in his left hand only the ceaseless struggle to reach after truth, and he should say to me. Choose; I would fall in humbleness before his left hand and say:

"'Father, give; the perfect truth is but for thee alone.'"

 

THE RACIAL GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE.

A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY.

(Lowell Institute Lectures, 1896.)

By WILLIAM Z. RIPLEY, Ph. D.,

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY; LECTURER IN ANTHROPO-GEOGRAPHY AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

III.—BLONDES AND BRUNETTES.

THE color of the skin has been from the earliest times regarded as a primary means of racial identification. The ancient Egyptians were accustomed to distinguish the races known to them by this means both upon their monuments and in their inscriptions. Notwithstanding this long acquaintance, the phenomenon of pigmentation remains to-day among the least understood departments of physical anthropology. One point alone seems to have been definitely proved: however marked the contrasts in color between the several varieties of the human species may be, there is no corresponding difference in anatomical structure discoverable.

Pigmentation arises from the deposition of coloring matter in a special series of cells, which lie just between the translucent outer skin or epidermis and the inner or true skin known as the cutis. It was long supposed that these pigment cells were peculiar to the dark-skinned races; but investigation has shown that the structure in all types is identical. The differences in color are due, not to the presence or absence of the cells themselves, but to variations in the amount of pigment therein deposited. In this respect, therefore, the negro differs physiologically, rather than anatomically, from the European or the Asiatic. Yet this trait, although superficial so to speak, is exceedingly persistent, even through considerable racial intermixture. The familiar legal test in our Southern States in the ante-bellum days for the determination of the legal status of octoroons was to look for the bit of color at the base of the finger nails. Under the transparent outer skin in this place the telltale pigmentation would remain, despite a long-continued infusion of white blood.

In respect of the color of the skin, we may roughly divide the human species into four groups indicated upon our world map.