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English: Three quarter portrait of African man...

English: Three quarter portrait of African man, facing front. Inscribed on verso: Arab from Jerusalem – Negro moolah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historical Race and Ethnography Series Part 3: In These Narcissistic Afrophobic Times

In 1911 the United States Immigration Commission published its fifth volume, a report titled “Dictionary of Races or Peoples.” The committee included United States congressmen and senators who were charged with the task of facilitating a better understanding of the immigrant population. They relied on the foremost racial, anthropological, demographic, geographic, and ethnographic studies of the time.

In examining the immigration status of racial and ethnic groups in the United States after 1899, the United States Immigration Commission was not terribly interested in delineating the ethnic, geographic and linguistic diversity of people of African descent. Note the following entries:

  • AFRICAN (black). (See Negro.)
  • AUSTAFRICAN. (See Negro.)
  • CAUCASIAN, CAUCASIC, EUROPEAN, EURAFRICAN, or WHITE race. (See xanthochroi and melanochroi races, p. 31.)
  • ETHIOPIAN. A word used in different senses to designate: (1) the entire Negro race (see), (2) a language spoken by a Semitic people of Abyssinia, and (3) the East African Hamites. (See Semitic-Hamitic.)
  • ETTRAFRICAN. Same as Caucasian (see).
  • …“It must be remembered that the Hamites are not Negritic or true African, although there may be some traces of an infusion of African blood in this stock in certain communities of Sicily and Sardinia, as well as in northern Africa.“…
  • NEGRILLO. (See Negro.)
  • NEGRITO. A Philippine tribe. (See Malay, East Indian, and Filipino.)
  • …”Immigration statistics count as Negro, or “African (black)” “aliens whose appearance indicates an admixture of Negro blood,” “whether coming from Cuba or other islands of the West Indies, North or South America, Europe, or Africa.”…
  • … “The Sardinian, of all the Italians, is the purest representative of the “Mediterranean ” race in head form and color of hair and eyes. He is the, most dwarfish in stature of European peoples, the average being several inches shorter than the Teutonic average of northern Europe. The facial features often betray an infusion of African blood.”…
  • Regarding “Negro, Negroid, African, Black, Ethiopian, Or Austafrican.” “In a simple classification for immigration purposes it is preferable to include all the above under the term “Negroes.” They are alike in inhabiting hot countries and in belonging to the lowest division of mankind from an evolutionary standpoint. While the Australians do not have the kinky hair of the African Negroes, they are still lower in civilization.”

SOURCE: Excerpts are from Reports of the Immigration Commission, Dictionary of Races or Peoples, 61st Congress, 3d Session, Senate Document No. 662, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1911, pp. 13, 30, 57, 82, 100, 101, and 119.