I read the attached article last night and it is disappointing, but it again brings up this issue of whether we should just blanket condemn historical figures because they said racist things. Shouldn’t context and “times” play a role in our analysis? But to express this, what seems to us a completely common sense view, is sacrilege in much of the politically correct post-modern cult. (And it does feel like a cult, sorry.)
Recently Gandhi has been condemned for his racist views. Now Einstein? Both of these men are venerated men of the “Left.” Both were brilliant, but both were also deeply flawed, like all humans.
No one should be shocked when they find out that some historical figures (even their heroes) were racists. Times change. Norms change. What we find abhorrent today may not have been in the past. An adult approach to history recognizes this. The PC historical critique which tries to apply today’s norms to yesteryear really is an almost childlike approach to history.
(From The New York Post)
Newly translated into English, Albert Einstein’s private travel diaries from the 1920s reveal that he was racist in his early life, especially toward Chinese people…
…The diaries were written between October 1922 and March 1923. In one entry Einstein wrote that the “Chinese don’t sit on benches while eating but squat like Europeans do when they relieve themselves out in the leafy woods. All this occurs quietly and demurely. Even the children are spiritless and look obtuse.”
Speaking about the “abundance of offspring” and the “fecundity” of the Chinese, he continued: “It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races. For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”
Einstein also derided the people of Ceylon, which is now known as Sri Lanka. In Ceylon, he wrote, the locals “live in great filth and considerable stench at ground level,” before adding they “do little and need little. The simple economic cycle of life.”