Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality
|Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men’s Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality|
|Author(s)||Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
Part I is concerned with describing how migration signaled the new global mobility of the nineteenth century, (which was based on a need for labor), and how white countries began to share common methods for dealing with the influx of nonwhites. The authors focus on Chinese immigration to both Australia and California and how both used a shared vocabulary and similar restrictions to control immigrants. On the other hand, men like Lowe Kong Meng, a Chinese immigrant to Australia, specifically challenged his right to settle on new lands, asking if the white men could, why could he not. This signaled the development of things to come as the East began to challenge the framework of white superiority. Part 2 analyzes the discursive frameworks for talking about whiteness. They focus on the figures of Charles Pearson and James Bryce whose writings constituted this conversation. Bryce and Pearson were liberal democrats, one Australian and one British, – and yet their commitment to equality and democracy emphasized finding a racial homogeneity. Bryce and Pearson described their fears of the new forms of racial contact produced by modern migrations. The authors argue that these writings encouraged “a binary mode of racial thought that lay in the basis for the division of the world into white and non-white” (93). Bryce’s Romanes lectures carried great weight, in that he described four possible outcomes of conquest and colonization – the weaker races would die out, the weaker race would be absorbed by the stronger, the races would mix to form something new, or that racial difference was so great that it must result in social separation. He argued against the impossibilities of multiracial democracy. Pearson was particularly concerned with the idea of Eastern (Japanese and Chinese) domination, and emphasized that white states must band together to provide a haven for whites against the advancing threat. Theodore Roosevelt was greatly influenced by Pearson, as his decision to send the fleet for a Pacific tour, and his ideas about the reinvigoration of American manhood illustrate.
As “white” countries considered the impacts of Bryce and Pearson’s philosophies, they began to solidify their transnational connections with each other, even as “nonwhite” nations hardened their own resistance to the existing framework. Australia and New Zealand came to view the US as more compatible with their racial goals than Britain. In South Africa, the British Empire was further threatened by the increasing militancy of white settlers who wished to enforce total and scientific segregation between blacks and whites. With the collapse of the British Empire, and the rise of new but tenuous alliances between “white countries,” white manhood was in a vulnerable position. The greatest challenge to it would come from Japan, who began demanding equality of status with Western powers. After World War I, their demands were rejected at the Paris Peace Conference, but it left a deep psychological mark that may have led partially to Japan’s instigation of WWII. The notion of white global superiority after 1945 began crumbling in earnest. Even as 1930’s immigration restrictions enforced “segregation on a large scale,” scientists had already begun to undermine the dominating concepts of racist thought. Lake and Reynolds argue the advent of the Nazis and their brutal polices of eugenics and holocaust had the effect of “scarifying the conscience of the world” (331), and helped to push policies in the war’s aftermath that were more focused on global equality and equal rights.