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Thread: Einstein diaries reveal racism

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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Einstein diaries reveal racism

    Fascinating stuff.

    Newly published private travel diaries have revealed Albert Einstein's racist and xenophobic views.

    Written between October 1922 and March 1923, the diaries track his experiences in Asia and the Middle East. In them, he makes sweeping and negative generalisations, for example calling the Chinese "industrious, filthy, obtuse people". This is the first time the diaries have been published as a standalone volume in English.

    He also describes his time in Colombo in Ceylon, writing of the people: "They live in great filth and considerable stench down on the ground, do little, and need little." He describes Chinese children as "spiritless and obtuse", and calls it "a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races".

    The writings may have been intended as private thoughts but their publication will upset some in America, where campaigners still celebrate Albert Einstein as one of the voices that helped shine a light on segregation.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44472277
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    And his opinions evolved until he became the humanitarian we think of him as today.
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    Cat-tastic Babba's Avatar
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    I'm not really that surprised. A lot of prominent people were believers in eugenics at about the same time Einstein wrote that, but most realized it was wrong and they moved away from that thinking over time.

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    Do we know what the places he visited in 1922 were like? What the people were like?

    His observations of how the people seemed to him are likely a reflection of the backwards conditions they lived in.

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    Chaos in fourteen lines Minotaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Fascinating stuff.

    Newly published private travel diaries have revealed Albert Einstein's racist and xenophobic views.

    Written between October 1922 and March 1923, the diaries track his experiences in Asia and the Middle East. In them, he makes sweeping and negative generalisations, for example calling the Chinese "industrious, filthy, obtuse people". This is the first time the diaries have been published as a standalone volume in English.

    He also describes his time in Colombo in Ceylon, writing of the people: "They live in great filth and considerable stench down on the ground, do little, and need little." He describes Chinese children as "spiritless and obtuse", and calls it "a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races".

    The writings may have been intended as private thoughts but their publication will upset some in America, where campaigners still celebrate Albert Einstein as one of the voices that helped shine a light on segregation.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44472277
    It was another time when racism had not been addressed. It was an accepted part of society or a norm if you will. MLK did not rise and bring awareness until the 60's and it still took years for racism to hide (not leave.) Today the racists are much more aware in their hate. Then, not so much.
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    In case you haven't noticed it is coming out of hiding lately.
    Quote Originally Posted by Minotaur View Post
    It was another time when racism had not been addressed. It was an accepted part of society or a norm if you will. MLK did not rise and bring awareness until the 60's and it still took years for racism to hide (not leave.) Today the racists are much more aware in their hate. Then, not so much.
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    Chaos in fourteen lines Minotaur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mak2 View Post
    In case you haven't noticed it is coming out of hiding lately.
    I assumed everyone would knew that when I said "Today the racists are much more aware in their hate." I should have been more clear.
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    olguy OlGuy's Avatar
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    Compared to the rest of Germany of the times, Einstein was lucky to be alive.

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    Member Claudius the God's Avatar
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    I am sure that if any of us went back in time and visited those places as they were, we too would be shocked at the poverty and conditions. All this proves is that the Western World did indeed look down upon others, was that not the very essence of imperialism? We did the same thing here in America.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minotaur View Post
    It was another time when racism had not been addressed. It was an accepted part of society or a norm if you will. MLK did not rise and bring awareness until the 60's and it still took years for racism to hide (not leave.) Today the racists are much more aware in their hate. Then, not so much.
    And when visiting foreign nations, I think commenting on these people as they exist in their native countries probably wasn't considered racism. Once they are living in the US, you see them through the lens of "all things being equal".

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