Newly-published travel diaries from the 1920s reveal that Albert Einstein harboured racist thoughts.
The diaries detail Einstein’s tour of Asia, where he calls the Chinese “industrious, filthy, obtuse people.”
Commentators were shocked at the revelations given Einstein’s history of involvement in America’s civil rights movement.
Albert Einstein is remembered for his theory of relativity — one of the biggest achievements in 20th-century physics.
However, the genius’s memory has been tainted somewhat by his newly-published travel diaries, which detail his experiences in Asia in the 1920s.
In the diaries, Einstein calls the Chinese “industrious, filthy, obtuse people.”
He explains how 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.”
“It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races. For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”
Ze’ev Rosenkranz, assistant director of the California Institute of Technology’s Einstein Papers Project, said: “I think a lot of comments strike us as pretty unpleasant – what he says about the Chinese in particular.
“They’re kind of in contrast to the public image of the great humanitarian icon. I think it’s quite a shock to read those and contrast them with his more public statements. They’re more off guard, he didn’t intend them for publication.”
Rosekranz, who translated and edited “The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein”, said, “I’m not apologizing for him or anything. … I still feel that the unpleasant remarks are quite shocking, but they do reveal that we all have this darker side to our attitudes and prejudices.”
Naturally, people were shocked to find that such a pillar of modern science had such abhorrent views, particularly when he had been such an outspoken critic of the oppression of African-Americans.
“There is separation of colored people from white people in the United States. That separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it,” Einstein said during a 1946 commencement speech at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.
Einstein was a vicious anti-Asian racist. The words in this article are both shocking and disappointing. I am both surprised and not surprised. It’s unusual for someone to be so pro-Black and so anti-Asian. Although maybe he wasn’t pro-Black in 1922. https://t.co/1w6Zz2YV4b
— Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein🙅🏽♀️ 🇧🇧 (@IBJIYONGI) June 12, 2018
BBC Washington correspondent Chris Buckler wrote that Einstein’s eyes may have been opened to racism when he was forced to flee Nazi Germany:
“He is said to have told people that he saw similarities in the way Jews were being hounded in Germany and how African-Americans were being treated in his new homeland.
“His diaries are full of gut reactions and private insights. In the context of the 21st Century, they may tarnish the reputation of a man who is revered almost as much as a humanitarian as a scientist.
“But the words were written before he saw what …read more
Source:: Business Insider