Einstein's Diaries Show Disturbingly 'Clear Hallmark'

Genius's translated works exhibit xenophobic view of Chinese people
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2018 9:55 AM CDT
Einstein's Diaries Show One Can Be Smart and Racist
This undated file photo shows legendary physicist Dr. Albert Einstein.   (AP Photo/File)

In a 1946 speech, Albert Einstein described racism as a "disease of white people." He apparently had it, as revealed in the genius's travel diaries, published entirely in English for the first time, per Quartz. Describing travels through China, Singapore, Japan, Palestine, and Spain between 1922 and 1923, per Newsweek, Einstein's writing shows an apparent obsession with the word "obtuse" and an overall unfavorable attitude toward Chinese people. He describes them as "industrious, filthy, obtuse people" with an "abundance" of "obtuse" offspring, reports the Guardian. Commenting on "little difference" between Chinese men and women, he goes on to wonder "what kind of fatal attraction" females possess that "enthrals the corresponding men." "It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races," Einstein continues. "For the likes of us, the mere thought is unspeakably dreary."

His opinions "are definitely not understated and can be viewed as racist," editor and translator Ze'ev Rosenkranz tells the Guardian. "In these instances, other peoples are portrayed as being biologically inferior, a clear hallmark of racism." This is especially apparent as Einstein describes Japanese people as "altogether very appealing" and "pure souls as nowhere else among people." As more tolerant views were held during his lifetime, "it seems that even Einstein sometimes had a very hard time recognizing himself in the face of the other," writes Rosenkranz in the introduction to The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein. He adds that a discussion of Einstein's views, contrasting with his public image as a humanitarian icon, "seems very relevant in today's world, in which the hatred of the other is so rampant." (A scrap of paper Einstein scribbled on recently sold at auction for a record price.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.