The Cosmic Racist

Meet the enduring godfather of Razaismo:

Any teacher can corroborate that the children and youths descended from Scandinavians, Dutch, and English found in North American universities, are much slower, and almost dull, compared with the mestizo children and youths from the south.

No student names, grade records, SAT scores, or subsequent career information accompanies the claim. The author is José Vasconcelos, Mexico’s minister of public education from 1921-24, a presidential candidate in 1929, and author of The Cosmic Race, source of the above quote. The book contends that the fusion of Spaniards and Indians is a new race “infinitely superior to all that have previously existed.”

The Cosmic Race translator Didier Jaén, professor of Latin American literature at UC Davis, noted that most critics reject Vasconcelos’ idea of a superior race, and that Marxists “summarily dismissed” the notion. But then, the Chicano movement in the United States, identified with the concept of  La Raza, “giving it new life, when in Latin America this concept had been forgotten and lost prestige.”

Indeed, the first bilingual edition of The Cosmic Race, was published in 1979 by the Department of Chicano Studies at California State University at Los Angeles. Vasconcellos’ ideas are the core curriculum of this non-discipline and for many an activist, The Cosmic Race is the inerrant bible. So students and teachers alike might appreciate a selection of Vansconcelos’ ideas.

Free men like Cortez, Pizarro, Alvarado and Belalcazar,” Vasconcelos writes, “were not ceasars or lackeys but great captains that joined destructive impulse to creative genius.” So despite what you may have heard, the imperialist conquistadores from the Iberian peninsula of Europe were all good guys.

The four “racial trunks” are the Black, the Indian, the Mongol, and the White, but these are separate and unequal. The Black is “eager for sensual joy, intoxicated with dances and unbridled lust.” Los negros, simply can’t restrain themselves. Vasconcelos also calls them “the “Lemurians, the black race from the south.

No worries because “the lower type of the species will be absorbed by the superior type. In this manner, the Black could be redeemed and, step by step by voluntary extinction the uglier stocks will give way to the more handsome. Inferior races, upon being educated, would become less prolific.” And “in a few decades of aesthetic eugenics, the Black may disappear.” Beyoncé and Cory Booker, call your office.

Vasconcelos cites “the Mongol, with the mystery of his slanted eyes that see everything according to a strange angle.” As the author notes, “the decline of the Asiatic peoples can be attributed to their isolation, and without doubt, primarily, that they have not been Christianized.” And the mission of the cosmic race “cannot be fulfilled either by the peoples of Asia, who are exhausted, or at least, lacking in the necessary boldness for new enterprises.” Apparently Xi Jinping and Shinzo Abe never got the memo.

Vasconcellos ranks the Indian with “inferior species” but notes that “religion such as Christianity made the American Indians advance, in a few centuries, from cannibalism to a relative degree of civilization.” Even so, “the mestizo, the Indian and even the Black are superior to the White in a countless number of properly spiritual capacities.” The white race “taught the control of matter” and the “Nordic man” is a master of action but “seemed inferior in an epoch in which already great cultures had appeared and decayed.”

Just kind of a simple thing, part of a larger reality.

“There is no going back in history,” writes Vasconcelos. “No race returns. Each one states its mission, accomplishes it and passes away.” More specifically, “we belong to tomorrow, while the Anglo-Saxons are gradually becoming more a part of yesterday.” The Anglo-Saxons who, as Paul Johnson notes, have not existed for 500 years, are code for people with names like Kowalski, O’Houlihan, and Lamoreux.

In Vasconcelos’ view, those awful “Yankees” are on the way out. “Only the Iberian part of the continent possesses the spiritual factors, the race and the territory for the great enterprise of initiating the new universal era of humanity.” And so on, quite the racist gazpacho from Mexico’s influential minister of public education, who endured until 1959.  

As Mexican-American Communist Bert Corona explained in Memoirs of Chicano History, Vasconcelos’ racial theory was “close to the kind of German racial superiority theory supported by Hitler.”  Vasconcelos became a fascist, and as Corona explained, “I couldn’t accept all this. We’re not a superior race.” Trouble is, Vansconcelos’ razaismo is the defining idea of “Chicano Studies” and a key narrative inflaming the current immigration conflict.

If those awful Yankee “Anglo-Saxons” belong to the past, and the superior cosmic race is the future, the border should be open to everybody. As any teacher can corroborate, those Scandinavian, Dutch, and English students are so stupid, and those Asians with the slanted eyes are in decline. So perhaps those brilliant and superior “youths from the south” should be given admission preference and in-state tuition.

And of course, the “undocumented” are driving the economy, and even criminal illegals should be protected from federal authorities. Whatever their crimes, they are just better people.

Whenever some leftist politician, Univision boss, or National Council of La Raza mouthpiece makes those arguments, José Vasconcelos is in the house.

Photo credit:  Annie Wells/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.