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It is conspicuous in history that, without Europe's congestion, America has, nevertheless, encountered more and violent race problems than her parent civilization. The Turks threatened Europe once and then degenerated into a crumbling menace and kept the status with enfeebled tenacity. But in America, the white man has ousted the red man, and introduced, enslaved and freed the black, before his encounter with the cast, an encounter which is now rather more of a rising than receding menace. In dealing with it, the pacific idealism diffused among the Caucasions and not foreign to the awakening Asiatic offers a prospect less fraught with catastrophe than were the contacts with the Indian and the negro. But it is a prospect that inevitably involves wounded pride.
It is hard for the human mind to conceive of a distinction without super-imposing labels of inferiority and superiority. In moments of quiet like the present, however, the conception of a respectful separation is somewhat easier than usual. And the use of this moment by the Survey Graphic in devoting its entire May issue to the discussion of the oriental problem is therefore felicitous. Although the articles form a symposium and do not lead to a categorical conclusion, an approach to a summary lies in Chester H. Rowell's contribution, "Windows on the East."
Mr. Rowell emphasizes the vividity with which the menace of yellow inundation strikes the inhabitants of our west coast. There are no way stations between them and China. Systematic immigration or even loosely administered restriction would inevitably turn California Asiatic. Westerners demand absolute protection from such a possibility before they will even think of the larger aspects of the matter. And this protection is conceded them. Further than this, there is nothing specific which can be done to define the relations of the white man to the yellow. The progress of comity awaits a superstructure of fellowship to be built with social segregation as basis. It is none too good a foundation. The reluctance of Asia to relegate itself to cramped quarters for the sake of mere amity with a nation of abundant land, must commend itself somewhat to those who realize the fierceness of the Caucasian conquests of new worlds.
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