David E. Stannard
Professor of American Studies
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
December 1, 1997
Revised and edited by Dr. Barry Mehler
March 1, 1998


On July 18, 1974 the Board of Regents of the University of Hawai'i voted in favor of naming the Social Science Building on the Manoa campus in honor of Professor Stanley David Porteus. Between 1922 and his retirement in 1948 Porteus had been a professor at the University of Hawai'i. From 1948 until the time of his death in October of 1972 he held the title of Emeritus Professor of Psychology. In describing the scholarly accomplishments of Professor Porteus that justified bestowing on him so distinguished an honor, the Regents' statement gave particular emphasis to his 1926 book, Temperament and Race, "which," the Regents said, "has since become a classic in its field."

At the start of the fall semester of 1974--less than two months after the Regents' vote on this matter--a group of students and faculty calling itself the Coalition to Rename Porteus Hall organized a large-scale effort to convince the Regents to remove Porteus's name from the building. The coalition wrote letters, held forums, and circulated petitions to advance their position. Like the Regents, the Coalition also placed particular emphasis on Porteus's book, Temperament and Race--but unlike the Regents they denounced the volume as a flagrantly racist attack on all non-white peoples, and as particularly insulting to the indigenous and non-white immigrant groups who, then as now, make up the overwhelming majority of the population of Hawai'i. Porteus, of course, had his defenders, and they spoke up in reply to the attacks.

For the remainder of the 1974-1975 academic year the debate continued. On March 14, 1975 the Regents voted to reaffirm their decision to name the building in honor of Stanley Porteus. And, because the controversy persisted following their March decision, they stated their reaffirmation a second time at a meeting on May 15, 1975.

Throughout the next two decades the matter seemed settled, although it was not uncommon for students and faculty alike to refer to the building not by its formal name, but as "Racism Hall." Then, last month--on October 20, 1997--the Associated Students at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa revived the issue and voted unanimously, with two abstentions (16-0-2), to urge the Board of Regents, once again, to rename Porteus Hall. Their enumerated reasons were many, but they all focused on the allegedly racist nature of Porteus's professional work and the particular inappropriateness of honoring such a person at a university with a student population that is 85 percent people of color--and a university that is officially committed to ethnic diversity and equal opportunity.

In response to the ASUH vote, On November 21, 1997, UH President Kenneth P. Mortimer notified the university community that he planned to "follow through on the ASUH proposal as expeditiously as possible," and he invited "as much input as possible from UHM students, faculty, staff and administration, as well as external constituents who may have an interest in the matter." In January 1998, the President appointed a committee to make a recommendation of the re-naming of the Social Science building by the end of March.1

The remainder of this report focuses on the charges and countercharges that arose on this matter in 1974-75, and that have come to the fore again today. Specifically, the report first examines the claim against Porteus that his major work, Temperament and Race, published in 1926, is a racist volume, and the contrary claim by Porteus's supporters that it is unfair to make this charge against a work that, they allege, was wholly consistent with prevailing scholarly opinion at the time it was produced. Next, this report examines Porteus' scholarly career from the 1930s to the time of his final publications in 1969 and 1970. This is of particular importance in light of the claim of Porteus's critics that he displayed racist proclivities and biases for the entirety of his adult life--and the counterclaim of his defenders that he revised his opinions significantly after 1926. The report then concludes with a summary and recommendations.

All the available written commentaries regarding the central document in the Porteus controversy are agreed that contrary to the 1974 BOR description of Temperament and Race as "a classic in its field" the book has generally been regarded as, at the very least, a scholarly embarrassment.


Temperament and Race is the principal volume on which Porteus's critics have focused their attention, with critics pointing out that the book is essentially a contribution to the field of "racial psychology" and that "in naming the University of Hawai'i's social science building after Stanley D. Porteus we have done a disservice both to our institution and to the people of Hawai'i." The response of Porteus's defenders has varied, but it does concede this particular point. Emeritus Professor of Psychology Ronald C. Johnson--a close friend of the Porteus family for many years, Porteus's most vigorous faculty supporter for more than two decades. Even Johnson admitted in his testimony before the Regents that Porteus's book Temperament and Race "is, in my opinion, a disaster." In a 1974 editorial supporting Porteus, the Honolulu Advertiser acknowledged that "it is hardly surprising that he once held views that today are considered racist." And in a laudatory 1991 biography of Porteus, including an assessment of his professional writings, his daughter-in-law Elizabeth Dole Porteus makes perhaps the most eloquent concession of all: silence. Not only does she not discuss Temperament and Race anywhere in her text, but she also deletes it from the otherwise exhaustive bibliography of his works printed at the end of her book, as though making believe it never happened will make it go away. 2

The defense of Porteus that his supporters mount against the charge (which no one denies) that Temperament and Race is a racist volume, is the claim that such social attitudes were conventional among psychologists and other scholars at the time that the book was published. This is not the case. Porteus's racial ideology was not consistent with scholarly opinion when Temperament and Race was published. Indeed, far from being a leader in the field of psychology, Porteus was out of step with his colleagues on most substantive scholarly issue -- becoming more remote from them as time went on. To recognize this requires a brief review of his work up through the publication of Temperament and Race and a few years thereafter. (His subsequent writings will be treated in the second section of this report.) Although Porteus's earliest writings may not immediately seem relevant to the question at hand, knowledge of their content is essential for understanding the framework of thought that he would subsequently bring to bear in various writings on the matter of intelligence, "temperament," and race.

Stanley David Porteus was born in Australia in 1883. After graduating from secondary school he became an apprentice teacher at several small rural schools in Australia, finally winding up in 1913, at the age of thirty, teaching at an institution for so-called "mentally defective" or "feebleminded" children.3

Eight years earlier, in 1905, the French psychologist Alfred Binet had published the first "intelligence test." Binet intended his test as a diagnostic instrument to identify school children whose intellectual growth was less than adequate. Once identified, Binet contended, such children should be put on a program of "mental orthopedics," to increase their intelligence. Importantly, for present purposes, Binet insisted that his test did not measure "inborn" or "innate" or "fixed" intelligence; indeed, as he had argued since at least the mid-1890s, he did not believe in the concept of fixed intelligence, which he called a "brutal pessimism" against which "we must protest." In the United States, however, a handful of psychologists, in the words of Stephen Jay Gould, soon "perverted Binet's intention and invented the hereditarian theory of IQ. . . . They assumed that intelligence was largely inherited, and developed a series of specious arguments confusing cultural differences with innate properties."4

Halfway around the world, Stanley Porteus, working in a school for mentally retarded children located in an industrial suburb of Melbourne, agreed with those who contended that intelligence and other mental functions, such as "temperament," were capacities and characteristics that were predominantly inborn. Then he added an idea of his own. He decided (in "a flash of insight," as he later put it in his autobiography) that the fundamental characteristic of all the truly retarded children at his school lay in their inability to propose and to carry out long-range plans. With this in mind, he developed what he called his "maze test," modeled on the idea of the hand-drawn urban street maps that he routinely prepared for his students when sending them on errands in town. For the next half-century, until the time of his death, Porteus was obsessed with proving to the world the superiority of his maze test over all other intelligence tests. He was not very successful. The test never was used as widely as he had hoped and, as he admitted in 1959, on several occasions it was close to falling into disuse and losing "its psychological significance" altogether.5 But, whatever the discouragements, he never gave up on it.

Porteus believed there was a correlation between head size and intelligence. He took some 10,000 measurements in a few years--in the mistaken belief that there was a correlation between large head size and large intelligence, and small head size and mental retardation. Otto Klineberg later pointed out that Porteus's data was confounded by socio-economic differences in his samples. His normal children came from higher economic levels than his sample of feebleminded children and this could well have accounted for the small differences he found. As Thomas F. Gossett's points out his his study of racism, craniology had been throughly discredited by the time Porteus took up his studies. And, despite criticism he continued to that the correlation was valid. 6

While still in Australia Porteus had published several articles on education and the use of his maze device for the testing of "mental defectives." Because of this his name began making the rounds of schools for the mentally retarded whose philosophies were in line with the hereditarian viewpoint regarding intelligence. One of these schools was the Vineland Training School for the Feebleminded in New Jersey. This is the school referred to as "then a world leader in the field of mental testing and the study of the mentally retarded" by the UH Board of Regents in its July 1974 statement honoring Stanley Porteus. In fact, the Vineland School was the research home of H.H. Goddard, described by Stephen Jay Gould, in his study of scientific racism, as "the most unsubtle hereditarian of all . . . [who] used his unilinear scale of mental deficiency to identify intelligence as a single entity, and [who] assumed that everything important about it was inborn and inherited in family lines."7

Goddard was the inventor of the term "moron." He regarded this newly created category of mental defective as composed of individuals who were higher on the scale of intelligence than "idiots" or "imbeciles," but actually of more danger to society because of their relative hierarchical proximity, in intellectual terms, to the "merely dull." (See, for example, his 1912 article in the journal Pediatrics, "The Menace of the Feeble-Minded.") Morons were dangerous, Goddard thought, because, like Porteus, Goddard at that time believed in a direct link between intelligence and immorality--criminals, alcoholics, and prostitutes were largely of moron-level intelligence, he claimed--and he further contended that both intelligence and immorality were imbedded in a person's biological heritage. In a phrase, both men believed, as historian of science Hamilton Cravens has put it, "that innate mental defect caused antisocial conduct," and that morons in particular--though able to function socially in many ways, most troublingly in their desire and ability to breed--"did not possess sufficient intellect to have developed a moral sense."8

For some time Goddard had been convinced that recent waves of immigrants, especially those from Mediterranean and Eastern European countries, were of inferior biological stock--an inferiority that threatened to pollute and in time to degrade the "quality" of the American population at large. In 1912 he published a lurid (and, as is now known, intellectually dishonest) book entitled The Kallikak Family, in which he purported to demonstrate once and for all the biological heritability of low intelligence and a related predisposition of people with low intelligence to lead lives of crime and social deviance. In Hamilton Craven's words, the mythical "Kallikak family," in Goddard's disingenuous account, "was comprised chiefly of high-grade mental defectives who were for that reason criminals, degenerates, prostitutes, and other kinds of offenders."9 This book--combined with subsequent works by the same author, such as Feeble-mindedness: Its Causes and Consequences (1914) and The Criminal Imbecile (1915)--created great excitement, not to say social panic, outside scientific circles and was a major influence on the rash of laws soon passed by the federal government and various states limiting immigration and directing the forced sterilization of purportedly feebleminded persons.

Riding the crest of his public prominence, Goddard left the Vineland School for a much larger salary in March of 1918 as the head of the Ohio Bureau of Juvenile Research. The man selected as his replacement at Vineland was, not surprisingly, a person of like opinions--Stanley D. Porteus, lately of the Bell Street School for retarded children in Fitzroy, near Melbourne, Australia.

Porteus remained at the Vineland School for several years, although almost from the start he was spending a part of his time in Hawai'i, which he had visited in the course of his initial trip to the United States, and to which he was determined to return. During his time at the Vineland School, however, he continued to publish work on cranial capacity and intelligence--in addition to the supposed success of his maze test in locating the biological roots of such social problems as "Truant, Backward, Dependent and Delinquent Children," "Social Mal-adjustment," and "Mental Deviations."10 Porteus remained convinced, as he would until the day of his last published work half a century later, that low intelligence and deviant social behavior were causally interconnected, largely inbred, biologically heritable phenomena--and inbred and inherited with potentially predicable differentiality among the races and nationalities of the world.

By this time, however--the early 1920s--Goddard had joined the growing exodus of most prominent psychologists from this position, now increasingly recognized as pseudo-scientific. From his work with Florence Mateer at the Ohio Bureau of Juvenile Research, Goddard embarked on a steady retreat from the central underpinnings of virtually all the work that had made him famous (or, in some circles, infamous): he now argued that "mental defect and antisocial conduct were independent of one another from a causative point of view"; he started emphasizing the importance of environment over heritability as a cause of both problems; and he began moving away from the notion that these matters were best studied by examining groups and their different "evolutionary pasts," and toward the position that social deviance was best addressed by recognizing the personal experiences of individuals. As Cravens remarks, "it had been the artificiality of social convention and scientific ideology that had created [the] concept of a natural hierarchy of superior and inferior groups in the national population in the first place, whether such groups signified socioeconomic class, ethnic nativity, color of skin, religious identification, sex, or such categories as 'delinquent' or 'genius.'" Now, however, Goddard--along with others in what Gossett calls the "Scientific Revolt Against Racism" of the 1920s--was in the process of completely reversing direction: "In effect the man who had become famous in the early 1910s for propagandizing that scheme [of scientific racism] was now turning it on its head, and loudly proclaiming that it was careless science and callous social policy."11

Goddard, in the company of his most outstanding colleagues at the time, was in essence recognizing belatedly the wisdom of Alfred Binet's warning, a decade and a half earlier, that the notion of inborn or inherited intelligence was both wrongheaded and a "brutal pessimism." Among the rapidly shrinking minority of psychologists who continued to disagree was Stanley Porteus. Two years after Goddard began publishing a series of articles demonstrating the falsity of his earlier position, Porteus proceeded to resign his post at the Vineland School and to accept a permanent position at the University of Hawai'i.12 Ironically, Porteus's new post was created, as Porteus himself recalled in 1969, because the UH's "Dr. Arthur Andrews, professor of English, had read with fascination Goddard's Kallikak Family [published ten years earlier], but was horrified to be told how neglect of the problem of the feebleminded threatened to lead the nation to the threshold of ultimate disaster." Here in Hawai'i, now swimming directly against the changing tide of mainstream scientific opinion, Porteus remembered in his later years how, finally, and unlike elsewhere, "I could concern myself with groups rather than with individuals."13

Porteus readily admitted that his was now the minority opinion among professionals in his field. By the time he composed the opening words of the chapter entitled "Race Differences in Maze Performance" in his 1933 book The Maze Test and Mental Differences, he was openly acknowledging that most psychologists (whom he dismissed in that text as nothing but "race levellers") did not accept his contentions regarding the innate inferiority of African Americans. But, he added in his defense, at least "the man in the street" agreed with him. "Even if all the psychologists were unanimous in holding the contrary view," Porteus wrote, "he [the man in the street] would not be convinced that the average negro is the intellectual equal of the average white." He continued:

It is possible that the attitude of many psychologists toward this question is influenced by their anxiety not to be found on the side on which so much popular prejudice is enlisted. Common opinion, however, even though ill-grounded in reason, is sometimes right, and the scientist must not feel averse to siding with the popular view if the facts point that way.14

While a great deal of work was then proceeding elsewhere in the United States on the individual problems of mental retardation, previous efforts to study the possibility of ethnic or racial mental defectiveness had been hampered by increasingly effective scientific criticisms that the groups of people targeted for study varied so greatly in their social and educational backgrounds that comparison among them was inherently biased. In Hawai'i, however, Porteus claimed that all racial groups except whites lived in similar social conditions, and, since education was compulsory in the Territory, there were sufficiently equal opportunities for all groups (excluding, again, whites) so that any differences in intelligence or "temperament" that he could find among those groups were bound to indicate fundamental and thus permanent racial distinctions.

Porteus also came to Hawai'i, it is worth remembering, with two very strong convictions, even before he began his work here. The first conviction was that his maze test was superior to all other measures of human intelligence and ability--the opinion of the rest of the psychological profession to the contrary notwithstanding. His second conviction was--also against the grain of prevailing and increasing professional opinion--that deep and important "inbred" mental differences did indeed exist across racial lines, and that what now was needed was proof of this assumed fact. Hawai'i, he wrote, "provides a better proving ground for the hypothesis of racial differences than can be found elsewhere."15

Needless to say, Porteus found what he had come looking for. His approach was twofold: second-hand social observation and deployment of his maze test. Taking the second of these first, he and his assistants initially gave the famous Binet examination--what he regarded somewhat presumptuously as his competitor's test--to different groups of local children. The children's intelligence, as measured by the Binet test, was as he put it "approximately equal" across racial lines. Then he gave them his own maze test and, to no surprise, the groups of children showed marked racial differences in measured abilities--differences, he simply asserted, that could not be "explained away" on the basis of "cultural or educational inequalities."16

From the moment that he first devised the maze test, as already noted, the key to Porteus's definition of superior intelligence and temperament was the ability of a person or a group to engage in long-range planning. Thus, he was especially pleased to note--with an astonishing scientific naiveté or ignorance or both--that the maze test's ranking of the races in Hawai'i correlated marvelously well with such other indices of "prudence and planning capacity" as home ownership and bank savings accounts. The absurdity of this sort of backwards logic may have reached its zenith with Porteus's methodological summary of what he had achieved with his research. He had proved the superiority of the maze test over the Binet test, he said, and his alleged "evidence" for its superiority was nothing more than the simple fact that whereas the Binet test had found an equality of ability among the races studied, the maze test had apparently identified distinctive gradations of racial-group inferiority--and racial-group inferiority due not to "cultural or environmental handicaps," but to racially inherited differences in "native ability."17

The maze test portion of his work was sophisticated in comparison with the preposterous findings of his work based on second-hand social observation. Here, Porteus was after something more than "intelligence" or "mentality": he was seeking to identify "differences in mental energy to which emotional, volitional and temperamental traits contribute"--"psychosynergic traits," he called them, which "we consider to have become engrained in racial character through heredity, environment inter-acting to select and perpetuate certain temperamental types."18

Mimicking a procedure pioneered by Goddard years earlier, Porteus began this phase of his work in Hawai'i by selecting twenty-five supposedly knowledgeable "observers" of "the various [non-white] racial groups" in Hawai'i.19 Goddard's assistants had some limited training and actually administered some sort of test to their subjects. Porteus's "observers" were neither given guidance nor even asked to interact with those on whom they were reporting. They simply relied on what they already ostensibly "knew" about the various non-white races in Hawai'i in providing Porteus with their opinions. All of the observers were white, sixteen of the twenty-five were plantation managers, and the rest were what Porteus described as "head workers of social settlements, plantation doctors, and several educationists." It was based on the reports of these people that Porteus devised what he proudly, and with what can only be called delusions of grandeur, christened his "Racial Efficiency Index."20

The results of Porteus's investigation were actually a comical parody of scientific research--then as well as now. Taking what he admitted with understatement were "rough and ready estimates" of his subjects' racial characteristics and abilities, as provided by his "observers," Porteus then assigned spuriously precise quantitative equivalents to these observations, and proceeded to scale and graph them. Thus, on the measure of "prudence" the Chinese "scored" 4.28 compared with the Japanese average of 4.24, while on "tact" the Hawaiians did best, scoring 4.72 as opposed to the next-highest Chinese average of 3.96--while the apparently utterly tactless Japanese came in last with 1.88, higher even than the frequently bottom-scoring Filipinos, "Porto Ricans," and Portuguese, whose respective "scores" on "tact" were 2.8, 2.3, and 2.28 respectively. (The Filipinos and the Puerto Ricans generally "vie with one another," Porteus wrote, "for the invidious distinction of being last on the list in almost all traits.") Moreover, as he put it in the most straightforward language, so as not to be misunderstood: "These traits evidently have an organic basis and are thus part of man's original endowment."21

In florid prose describing what the numerical rankings "meant," Porteus produced the cascade of racist attributions of inherent intelligence and character that are by now well known to those even minimally familiar with his work: page after page--hundreds of them--describe, for example, "the inborn . . . submissive retrovert temperament" of the Chinese; the "racial immaturity" and "reasoning deficits" of the Hawaiians; the "absolute inferiority of the negro"; and the "lack of resolution and trustworthiness" of the Puerto Ricans--due in large part, he said, to their being "a hybrid of blood strains" that "out-Mexicans the Mexican." Of course, there also was the "aggressiveness and unscrupulousness" of the Japanese, who scored relatively high on tests of mental ability as young children, but who rapidly fell behind white people after the age of twelve. And the "educational retardation" of the Portuguese, who ostensibly were white--but who ranked next to last on this measure, barely beating out the Hawaiians--was of course attributable to their "considerable mixture of negro blood" and the suspicion that the Portuguese who migrated to Hawai'i were the descendants of "political and other prisoners." Then there was the "primitivism" and "jungle fear" of the Filipinos, who also displayed their inborn inferiority by being remarkably "super-sensitive," Porteus quite seriously said, to such things as "the suggestion that [they] are in any way racially inferior." Filipinos also, according to Porteus, are "little addicted to reflection or to the inhibition of impulse," noting that in this regard they are "at the very opposite extreme from the taciturn, canny, long considering Scotchman."22 (Porteus was himself, unsurprisingly, of Scots ancestry.)

When all was said and done, Porteus totaled up and averaged the "scores" of all Hawai'i's non-white (including Portuguese) racial groups on his Racial Efficiency Index. "Assuming 100 percent efficiency for the Caucasian other than Portuguese," he wrote ("assuming," that is, without any testing of non-Portuguese Caucasians at all) he calculated that the combined average score for all Hawai'i's non-white peoples was only 73.3. Less than three-quarters of the presumed average score of white people. He was shocked--especially since "low social efficiency indices are thoroughly characteristic of the mentally defective and psychopathic."23

Noting that "feeblemindedness being a social condition, the ability to manage oneself with ordinary prudence, which is the distinctive mark of normality, is largely dependent on one's possession of resolution, planning capacity, resistance to suggestion, self control, stability of interest, and the ability to 'get along with people,'" Porteus wondered aloud about the disturbing situation he had uncovered in Hawai'i: "What then are the results if a community possesses a low average capacity in these important respects?" His answer was not hard to guess: inevitable "economic waste, poverty and shiftlessness and social dependency"--all of these traceable not to oppression and economic exploitation, of course, but to the inborn racial inferiority of Hawai'i's non-white citizens. Education might help some, he thought, but given the fundamental defectiveness of most non-white groups in Hawai'i, attempting to educate them was akin to "helping lame dogs over stiles, and when they are over they are still lame."24

Although Porteus had flamboyantly derogatory things to say about all non-white groups in Hawai'i, he seemed especially disdainful of the capacities of Filipinos. The Philippines were then still under American control, but it was a far from unchallenged hegemony, so his comments were intended to be more than racially insulting. In enumerating the varied "racial defects" of the Filipinos--including "their distrust of each other, their instability of purpose, their lack of foresight and organizing ability"--Porteus warned that "if the traits that we have found to be characteristic of the Filipinos in Hawaii are also typical of the Filipino at home then we are forced to the conclusion that they are a long way from the stage of development at which they could be safely entrusted with self-government. A single glance at their list of racial defects should be sufficient to demonstrate the wisdom of this conclusion."25

In addition to its outright racism, this pessimistic summary (based on "data" that were nothing more than the subjective comments of white plantation overseers, it must not be forgotten) is a classic example of what historian George M. Fredrickson has described as the 19th century "pseudo-Darwinian conception that the contest of human races entailed a 'struggle for existence' leading to the survival or dominance of 'the fittest.'" This "late Victorian shibboleth," Fredrickson adds, "helped to rationalize the notion that in some instances, especially where Europeans were faced with large populations of racial 'inferiors,' it might be necessary to rule the latter with a firm hand and deny them access to full citizenship."26

Of course, Porteus was not writing in the "late Victorian" period, although like the "pseudo-Darwinians" of that era he too was fond of describing the ongoing "ceaseless racial struggle for dominance that no number of platitudes about brotherly love will obviate . . . [the] struggle for dominance [that] is by no means waged on equal terms." Nor did the draconian prescriptions regarding the sorts of political and social policies that Porteus wished to see following from his racial categorizations stop with Filipinos. For others (particularly the Japanese) he suggested a policy of "rigid exclusion from Canada, the United States, and Australia"--all of these being, in his words, "lands that belong to the white race by right of peaceful conquest." "Nordic strongholds," was what he approvingly called North America and Australia, lands that must be kept under the dominance of what he also liked to refer to as people of northern European "natio-racial" ancestry, lest they otherwise succumb to the "race suicide" that is an inevitable consequence of allowing immigration by inferior peoples.27

Porteus would did not go as far as Madison Grant, a prominent New York lawyer and eugenics activist. Grant called for a policy of strict immigration restriction, antimiscegenation laws, and compulsory sterilization. Porteus disagreed with Grant's proposals for a massive, sterilization campaign to be "applied to an ever-widening circle of social discards, beginning always with the criminal, the diseased and the insane and extending gradually to types which may be called weaklings rather than defectives and perhaps ultimately to worthless race types."28

Porteus too thought that something should be done to eliminate "the heaviest handicap that western civilization still carries"--the "humanitarian impulse . . . towards preserving and perpetuating the unfit." But in contrast to Grant, Porteus contended that mandatory sterilization should not be carried out wholesale against particular races, but only against "defectives with anti-social tendencies who cannot be institutionalized, and the worst types of sex offenders." While, in the end, such a plan would "by no means rid the world of its troubles," Porteus admitted, it would at least "provide a small measure of directed selection which may partly take the place of that natural selection which medical science, both curative and sanitary has largely overcome."29

This is only a small sampling of the offensive and dangerously racist propaganda that flowed from Porteus's pen in the name of "scientific research" mostly during the 1920s and early 1930s. Previous criticisms of Porteus and proposals that his name be removed from the UH Social Science Building, have focused almost entirely on this period of his life and on the writings reviewed here, especially Temperament and Race. This has led defenders of Porteus, as noted earlier, to claim that such criticisms are flawed for two reasons: first, they are said to be misplaced because Porteus allegedly was only expressing the conventional scholarly wisdom of his day; and second, they are said to be unfair because in time Porteus supposedly changed his mind about these matters. Here, we will examine only the first of these defenses, holding scrutiny of the second defense for the second part of this report.

In 1933 Stanley Porteus turned fifty years of age. The claim that during the preceding decade the work of this supposedly mature scholar reflected the professional opinion of his time is false. Indeed, from the very start of his career Porteus was clumsily out of step with conventional wisdom within his claimed profession--beginning with his head-measuring obsession and his false belief that cranium size correlated with intelligence, a long-discredited notion that he was claiming legitimacy for at least half a century after it had been abandoned by most serious psychologists.

In addition, the bulk of the work that he did in attempting to compare the supposed racial intelligence and personality characteristics of non-white people in Hawai'i was published in book form under the title Temperament and Race in 1926--and immediately it was denounced by professional reviewers in the leading scholarly journals for, among other things, its confused and contradictory uses of such terms as "race," "intelligence," and "temperament" (a distinct liability for a book with that title); its overall poor scholarship; and its ignoring (or being ignorant of) the work of other scholars and of a vast body of well-established scientific fact. As the reviewer for the American Journal of Psychology warned in 1928, at the conclusion of a withering review, Porteus's work demanded attention, but only because it "may do much harm to the development of psychology."30 Clearly this was not in the mainstream of scholarly opinion of the time, nor was it as the UH Regents' claimed in their statement of July 18, 1974, "a classic in its field."

Indeed, as noted earlier, at the beginning of his chapter on "Race Differences in Maze Performance" in the 1933 volume The Maze Test and Mental Differences, Porteus himself acknowledged that, in its assumption of inborn "negro inferiority," his work was fundamentally at odds with the overwhelming opinion of psychologists at the time. These were the mainstream and leading professionals whom he dismissed by curtly referring to them as mere "race-levellers" and saying that he preferred what he presumed to be the racially prejudicial but more accurate opinion of "the man in the street."31 But in fact, on even this point Porteus may have been wrong--at least if a national opinion poll released in 1940 had any relevance to attitudes at the time Porteus was writing. This poll, published by the National Education Association, showed that when a cross-section of the nation was asked, "Do you think that the same amount of tax money should be spent in this state for the education of a Negro child as for a white child?" Southern whites were split evenly in their responses, while Northern whites responded in the affirmative by a nearly nine to one margin. In contrast with what Porteus regarded as these benighted "men in the street," whose thinking was "ill-grounded in reason"--but who strongly supported equal educational opportunity for all races--Porteus had written with much sarcasm and cruelty in Temperament and Race that money spent on schooling for Filipinos (like that expended on "the idiot or the imbecile," as he noted elsewhere) was essentially money wasted. Indeed, he added, more than wasted, money spent on the education of such people, pushing them beyond their low native intelligence levels, was likely to produce nothing but "malcontents."32

What is important to realize here is that the 1920s and the early 1930s was a time of enormous growth and change in the field of the psychology of race. One survey of the 1927 volume of Psychological Abstracts has demonstrated that the overwhelming majority of work published in that year--the year immediately after Porteus's Temperament and Race was published--"explicitly rejected genetic explanations [for racial differences in intelligence], insisting instead that differences in scores of racial groups were most likely attributable to differences in a range of environmental and experiential factors." In fact, contrary to the claims of Porteus's defenders, the dominant scholarly opinion being formed at this time was a rapidly growing reaction against pseudo-scientific racism of the Porteus variety. Centered around the work of people like Franz Boas and Otto Klineberg, the majority opinion of leading professionals reflected Boas's assertion in 1927 that "all our best psychologists recognize clearly that there is no proof that intelligence tests give an actual insight into the biologically determined functioning of the mind."33

Even writers who earlier had been identified with ideas similar to Porteus's were by this time publicly abandoning them en masse. Goddard continued his dramatic turn, begun around 1920, away from his earlier positions on group intelligence and the biological heritability of mental and social character. By 1928 he was happily admitting that he had "gone over to the enemy." Others joined in. C.C. Brigham, who at one time claimed, like Porteus, that Nordic immigrants were of a superior "race" to southern Europeans, had completely reversed himself by 1930. Writing in the Psychological Review, he noted that "comparative studies of various national and racial groups may not be made with existing tests," adding that "in particular one of the most pretentious of these comparative racial studies--the writer's own--was without foundation." The following year, in his book Race Psychology, Thomas Russell Garth reported on his findings after an exhaustive survey of the existing literature. While admitting that he had begun the project with "a silent conviction" that he would find "clear-cut racial differences in mental processes," all the evidence led him to conclude that "there are no sure evidences of real racial differences in mental traits," adding that "it is useless to speak of the worthlessness of so-called 'inferior peoples' when their worth has never been established by a fair test."34 Thomas Gossett this change of perspective:

The shift of the scientists and social scientists with regard to race did not occur because of any dramatic or sudden discovery. Racism had developed into such a contradictory mass of the unprovable and the emotional that the serious students eventually recognized that as a source of explanation for mental and temperamental traits of a people it was worthless. Once this point was accepted, the top-heavy intellectual structures of racism began to topple, one after another.35

2. Psychosurgery, Eugenics, and Mankind Quarterly

We have seen that the first defense of Porteus against charges of racism--the claim that his work, however offensive in the present, was consistent with scholarly opinion and attitudes at the time that it was published--is baseless and contrived. It is time now to turn to the second major line of defense: the assertion, to quote Professor Ronald Johnson, that "Porteus changed mightily in his opinions between 1926 and the time of his death," along with the allied assertion, as expressed in a 1974 Honolulu Advertiser editorial, that his views on race need to be viewed "in the light of his magnificent total record."36

In Temperament and Race and elsewhere, Porteus repeatedly referred to the largely innate and "organic" nature of intelligence and temperament, while at the same time he made sweeping attributions regarding the mental capacities and character traits of specific races and nationalities. It was because of these beliefs that he feared diluting the bloodlines of those "Nordic strongholds" of North America and Australia by the large-scale immigration of less mentally endowed races and nationalities and by unchecked birth rates among inferior peoples already living within those lands. To permit free immigration was to court "race suicide," he warned. Unlike the infamous Madison Grant, however, who concluded his violently racist Passing of the Great White Race on a pessimistic note, blaming the racial "altruism" of the United States for driving the white race "toward a racial abyss," Porteus found grounds for optimism. "It may be true, it unfortunately is true," he wrote in the final paragraph of Temperament and Race, "that the more intellectual stocks are losing ground, numerically speaking, through voluntary birth control." However, he believed, the means were at hand to assure "race survival," and thus, "we need fear no racial competition, no rising tide of colour, if we can conserve our existing strength."37 ("We" and "Our" in every case of course refers to white people, specifically those of Nordic ancestry: it never seems to have occurred to Porteus that anyone else might be reading his work.)

The term for what Porteus was advocating is "eugenics." The word was coined by Francis Galton in 1883 when he defined it as "the science of improving the stock," adding that the eugenics movement should aim to give "the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable."38 A more recent writer puts what in time became "the eugenics movement" in sharper historical focus. Eugenics, writes Sheila F. Weiss, is

a political strategy denoting some sort of social control over reproduction. In the interest of 'improving' the hereditary substrata of a given population, this supposed science seeks to regulate human procreation by encouraging the fecundity of the allegedly genetically superior groups ('positive eugenics') and even prohibiting so-called inferior types from having children ('negative eugenics').39

Recent research by German and American historians has shown how closely allied and mutually supportive were American proponents of eugenics and Nazi race propagandists during the 1930s, the decade leading up to the Holocaust. As Stefan Kühl points out in his 1994 book entitled The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, racism was "at the core" of the American eugenics movement. Some American eugenicists openly praised Hitler and expressed admiration for the Nazi sterilization laws, while others--sensing the dangerous extremes to which affairs were heading in Germany--became more circumspect. But overall, notes Kühl, within the international eugenics movement "no other country played such a prominent role in Nazi propaganda" as did the United States. And central to that propaganda campaign were such pseudo-scientific writings as H.H. Goddard's The Kallikak Family.40

Of course, by this time Goddard (who lived until 1957) had long since abandoned his eugenicist views and the scientifically discredited notions that undergirded them: belief in the biological and hereditary nature of intelligence and feeblemindedness, and the sweeping attribution of mental abilities and inabilities to entire nationalities and races. But Stanley Porteus was still at it. After a trip to Australia, to assess the racial intelligence and temperament of Aborigines (or "Australids," as he called them), in 1934 he headed for Africa, where he administered his maze test to the so-called "Bushmen" of southern Africa. These were people who had suffered so terribly from white violence that they appeared to be on the verge of extinction, and were at that time being herded into reserves where they might survive as "living fossils."41 After administering the maze test, Porteus found that his African subjects possessed an average mental age of precisely 7.56 years.42

The leading American student on the subject of "race differences," Otto Klineberg of Columbia University, pointed out the incredible cultural ignorance and personal insensitivity Porteus displayed when conducting his maze experiments--such as, in his study of Australian Aborigines, his including "among his subjects one convicted murderer whose test performance was complicated by the presence of a chain on his leg and a police constable standing over him with a gun."43 Indeed, Porteus's work is among those most singled out by Klineberg as representing the failure of some writers still to accept the clear scientific evidence "that there is nothing in the brain or blood of other races which justifies our ill-treatment of them," adding that "every single one of the arguments used in order to prove the inferiority of other races has amounted to nothing."44

But Porteus soldiered on, publishing work on "racial group differences in mentality" as late as 1939.45 This, of course, is the year that Germany invaded Poland, thus initiating the Second World War. Eugenics lost what few scraps of scientific credibility it still had at that time. And even among the American eugenics advocates who remained true to the cause, as Stefan Kühl points out, relations with "German racial hygienists began to cool in the late 1930s," in large part because of "gradual recognition by the public and the scientific community that anti-Semitism was at the core of Nazi race policy." Not that the American eugenics movement was not thick with anti-Jewish sentiment--it was. But "with the increasing American criticism of the anti-Semitic policy in Nazi Germany, it became difficult even for mainline eugenicists to support Nazi race policies openly and to maintain close relationships with their German colleagues."46

For the next two decades the eugenics movement in the United States went into hibernation, damaged by its earlier association with Nazi scientists and propagandists who had provided scholarly justifications for what became the systematic extermination of millions of innocent people. Porteus turned to writing novels--which, of course, themselves were filled with racist comments and stereotypes.47 Then, much to his relief, he found another and more socially acceptable outlet for deployment of his maze test: psychosurgery, in particular the rising interest during the 1950s in prefrontal lobotomies. And when that fad passed, he found uses for the test in experimenting on psychiatric patients who were being treated with tranquilizing drugs, especially chloropromazine.48

But the anti-eugenics mood of Americans did not last forever. And in July of 1960 a new publication appeared in Britain and the United States dedicated to the eugenicist agenda. Its name was The Mankind Quarterly, a publication a publication supported with grants from the Pioneer Fund--a foundation that was formed by Harry H. Laughlin and Frederick Osborn in 1937 to promote eugenics in the United States. The editors and advisors of The Mankind Quarterly are described by UH historian Idus Newby as "The Field Marshalls of Scientific Racism." The journal's editor was a Scotsman, one Robert Gayre (listed on the masthead as "R. Gayre of Gayre" who also liked to refer to himself by what he called his official title, "The Laird of Nigg"). Gayre was a longtime associate of Nazis, a champion of apartheid in South Africa and white rule in Rhodesia, who had been arrested in Britain under the Race Relations Act for distributing materials "likely to stir up racial hatred," and who had testified in court on behalf of the British Racial Preservation Society by "offering his expert opinion that blacks are 'worthless."50

The Associate Editors and Advisory Board were cut from the same cloth. They ranged, among numerous others of like background, from Henry Garrett, one the nations most influential psychologist, a former president of the American Psychological Association and a personal friend of Porteus. Garrett was also a pamphleteer for the White Citizens' Councils. There were others as well like Corrado Gini, the leader of fascist Italy's eugenics movement under Mussolini; R. Ruggles Gates, a Prof. of Botany at the University of London who argued that races were separate species; to Count Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a leading race scientist in Nazi Germany whose one time assistant, Joseph Mengele, Auschwitz's reviled "Angel of Death," used to send him sample body parts (including pairs of eyes) from his experiments on prisoners in the death camps. And so on and so forth--on down to and including one Stanley David Porteus, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawai'i.51

The Mankind Quarterly has produced a stream of racist and antisemitic propaganda.52 No sooner had its first issue appeared than numerous reputable scientists, attacked The Mankind Quarterly for its reprehensible use of scholarly trappings to thinly conceal a racist, antisemitic, and at times even a pro-genocide agenda. In 1961, writing in Man, the journal of Britain's Royal Institute of Anthropology, G. Ainsworth Harrison noted that "few of the contributions [to the new journal] have any merit whatsoever," most of them being "trivial and third rate"--"no more than incompetent attempts to rationalize irrational opinions." Harrison concluded by expressing his "earnest hope" that "The Mankind Quarterly will succumb before it can further discredit anthropology and lead to even more harm to mankind."53 In that same year the prestigious American journal Current Anthropology carried an extraordinarily detailed attack on the Quarterly, entitled "'Scientific' Racism Again?" by the distinguished Mexican anthropologist Juan Comas, who expressed his "profound concern" over the recent appearance of The Mankind Quarterly, with its "racist orientation" that harked back to a time before "the downfall of Nazism and Fascism." And again in 1961, in Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Santiago Genoves denounced the Quarterly for "distorting facts" and attempting to use "science, or rather pseudoscience, to try to establish postulates of racial superiority or inferiority based on biological differences."54

Of course, care must always be taken to avoid unfair attributions of guilt by association. It is always possible that one or more of the persons whose name appeared on the journal's inaugural masthead became involved with this racist enterprise by accident--not knowing what he was getting into. And, indeed, that is what at least one original member of The Mankind Quarterly's advisory board, the Yugoslav anthropologist Bozo Skerlj, said had happened to him. So he resigned, publicly stating that he had become a member while unaware of what he called the journal's "little concern for facts" and its "racial prejudice," a matter of particular concern to him, he said, since he had been prisoner in Dachau. When The Mankind Quarterly's editor refused to print his letter of resignation from the Advisory Board, Professor Skerlj had it and an appended commentary published in Man, so concerned was he that "the widely circulated association of my own name and status with this editorial policy could, as I see it, reflect in an adverse way on my personal and professional integrity."55

Unlike Bozo Skerlj, Stanley Porteus did not feel that his integrity was compromised at all by his public association with this instantly infamous racist journal. Indeed, Porteus defended The Mankind Quarterly against attack and happily stayed on as an enthusiastic advisor until the day that he died. From the very beginning he was one of the journal's most productive contributors on such predictable matters as inborn racial and ethnic group differences, as measured, of course, by his now long-moribund maze test (an article that subsequently received wide distribution by the Mississippi White Citizens' Councils) and on the backwardness of Australian Aborigines.56

In the first of his Quarterly articles, which appeared in the journal's premiere issue, Porteus went out of his way to express regret that the rise of Hitler had made "the climate" for this sort of work "unfavorable" for such a long time--a theme often replayed by Mankind Quarterly editors and authors during its early years. And in his defense of the Quarterly from Juan Comas's attack in Current Anthropology, he conceded that low intelligence can occur among all races ("obviously, since imbecility can occur in both Australian Aborigines and Whites," he wrote, "the lowest racial levels are equivalent") but whites alone inhabit the high intelligence zones, or at least so he said he would believe "until, of course, there appears an aboriginal Shakespeare or Einstein or even a few Edisons."57

Other Porteus contributions to the Quarterly resulted from a collaboration with A. James Gregor (born Gimigliano), at the time a young assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Hawai'i. According to Newby, Gregor was "in many respects [the] most distinctive of the prominent scientific racists," and he was already a productive contributor of articles to such pro-fascist and eugenicist publications as Oswald Mosley's The European, Corrado Gini's Genus, and Eugenics Review. A member of The Mankind Quarterly's Advisory Board, like Porteus, Gregor had distinguished himself on several counts, including his arguing in print that "racism" is a natural and beneficial human trait, and openly admitting an intellectual kinship with the ideas of European fascists, demonstrating in particular a friendship for Nazi race doctrines.58

After publishing an appreciative essay on Porteus's maze test in The Mankind Quarterly--asserting its "enormous potential value in the study of group differences in mentality"--Gregor joined Porteus on a trip to Australia where he administered the test at an Aboriginal settlement about two hundred miles north of Alice Springs. Although the results showed a relatively high level of mental ability among these rural "Australids," at least when compared with recent age-level scores of between 7.44 years and 9.63 years found among "jungle tribes in India," in the Qualitative Test the Aborigine score was barely in the range of an earlier-tested group of Honolulu juvenile delinquents. This led Porteus to conclude that the prospects for Aborigine "assimilation" into white Australian society were dim--a finding that no doubt was greeted happily by his research collaborator, who long ago had insisted that "racial harmony will come only when whites and Negroes agree to live together--separately."59

Porteus's activism in the 1960s and early 1970s on behalf of the resurrected eugenics movement, and his support for racist ideas in general, was not limited to his work with The Mankind Quarterly. He continued to publish ideologically racist essays in pro-eugenicist volumes--such as one anthology that introduces itself by condemning the anti-racist program of UNESCO as "a veritable bible for egalitarians" and opens with a list of edifying quotations from leading scientific racists to the effect that human beings are not, in fact, all of the same species; that any man who believes in racial intermarriage should "be prepared to marry his daughter for example to an Australian aboriginal"; that "arguments for racial equality" are "positively harmful"; and that race-mixture inevitably leads to "the production of physiologically inefficient individuals" and "less harmonious and well-balanced types."60

The editor of this volume, which included a contracted piece by Porteus on "Ethnic Groups and the Maze Test," was Robert E. Kuttner, a well-known racist, anti-integration political activist, and the president of the International Association for the the Advancement of Ethnology and Eugenics (IAAEE). Although, as Stefan Kühl points out, in the post-World War Two era most eugenicists had turned to calling themselves "population scientists," "human geneticists," and the like, to avoid association with the taint of Nazism, some, like Kuttner, were proud to be associated with the term eugenics. So was Stanley Porteus, who was pleased to serve as one of America's leading scientific racists (along with his then-collaborator, A. James Gregor) on the Executive Committee of the IAAEE--the single organization, in Idus Newby's words, writing in 1967, that "has done more than any other 'scientific' body in the country to facilitate the use of science and scientific literature by segregationists and anti-Negro racists."61

Porteus also helped William Shockley organize the Foundation for Education on Eugenics and Dysgenics. Shockley's ideas on the biological inferiority of black people and his "voluntary sterilization bonus plan" made his a highly visible and controversial figure in the late sixties when Porteus was working with him. And it is noteworthy that one of Porteus's final articles, published only five years before his being honored by the UH Board of Regents, was an effort to explain the alleged "ethnic group retardation" of people who live near the equator (that is, Africans, Polynesians, and other dark people) by attributing their supposed intellectual deficits to the "extreme speed of the rotational spin" they endure as inhabitants of the outer edge of the earth as it turns on its axis--compared with the more comfortable "medium" rate of rotational speed experienced by white people who live in the temperate zones.62

If we can learn to understand this "ethno-cyclotronic" phenomenon, Porteus wrote with hopeful anticipation in 1970, perhaps "the Africans in the U.S.A. would not be averse to returning to Africa if only it could become a better environment." Indeed, he thought that wholesale "remedial re-distribution of global populations" might be a good idea. As for his adopted home, Hawai'i, he was not sanguine, noting that its location "just on the margin of the tropical belt . . . may be a handicap," and suggesting that, since its indigenous population was obviously mentally inferior (like the Filipinos, he wrote elsewhere at this time, the Hawaiians "have lived too long in the tropics to attain toughness of mental fiber") "those of [the University of Hawai'i's] alumni who have shown creativity may have brought their mental energy with them."63 This, of course, was a racist a set of ideas out of tune with the mainstream of science at the time. Thus, the goal of his life's work was aimed at explaining racial differences in intelligence and character traits.

He was not alone in this, of course. At the end of his 1969 autobiography, Porteus singled out one person in particular with whom he had always found himself "strongly allied" regarding "the principle of racial differences." That person was Henry E. Garrett, probably the most prominent psychologist in the segregationist camp. Garrett testified against school integration before the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that black people are genetically inferior, and the author of the earlier-cited article in the first issue of Mankind Quarterly (of which he was one of the chief editors) on the great damage done by belief in the equality of humankind--a communist-inspired idea, he wrote, promoted largely by Jews who, since the rise of Hitler, had become overly sensitive on matters of racial distinction.64

This was Stanley Porteus's self-described "strong ally" on "the principle of racial differences." Was Porteus a racist? Here is the world's most widely accepted and straightforward definition of racism, from the 1967 UNESCO Statement on Race and Racial Prejudice: "Racism falsely claims that there is a scientific basis for arranging groups hierarchically in terms of psychological and cultural characteristics that are immutable and innate."65 It's as if it were written with Porteus's work specifically in mind. Of course Porteus was a racist--and he was one throughout all of his professional life. A racist and much more--a promoter, as well, of eugenicist ideas that at times were potentially genocidal, according to the United Nations definition of genocide, which includes "public incitement" toward "imposing measures intended to prevent birth" within "a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group" as one of the Genocide Convention's prohibited acts.

Two final points are worth making, because they are likely to be cited in support of Porteus by his defenders. The first of these concerns the fact that Porteus was fond of describing his position on the matter of inherent racial inferiority as occupying the "middle ground" between extremes. But what were those extremes? Like his compatriots at The Mankind Quarterly, his "middle ground" or "middle position" was one stipulated as being between the "Nazi doctrine of racial superiority" and the allegedly equally wrongheaded reigning ideology of "racial egalitarianism." That is hardly the conventional golden mean. As for Porteus's related admission late in his life that the hereditary racial differences supposedly uncovered by his maze test were "slight," he was insistent on adding that "this does not mean that they were insignificant." As with "athletic contests," he said, so with race: "the team that wins consistently is the best," he observed, "even though the margin of victory may be small." And, as his maze testing clearly showed--at least since his early work in Hawai'i in the 1920s--"Anglo-Saxons" were consistently the "winners."66

The final possible last-minute defense that Porteus's supporters might offer is the fact that, following World War Two, Porteus frequently referred to his quite obviously racist writings as not supportive of the idea of racial inferiority and superiority, but only of racial difference. This assertion invariably is belied by the larger thesis promoting hierarchical, inbred, and even spuriously quantified racial "rankings" within which it is always embedded, but more than that it needs to be pointed out that this was the official line of pseudo-scientific racists in the post-Nazi era who, as Newby points out, sought "to avoid the appearance of overt racial bigotry." It is a canard with an ancestry that harks back to the middle of the nineteenth century, when the proslavery polemicist Samuel Cartwright, wanting to denigrate blacks as inferiors but also to justify their being put to forced hard labor, promoted the idea of their mental inferiority existing in contrast with their (in some respects) superior physical bodies. Indeed, the idea is traceable back even further than that--at least to the mid-sixteenth century, when the Spanish magistrate in Peru, Juan de Matienzo, justified the enslavement of the native peoples of the Andes because "such types were created by nature with strong bodies and were given less intelligence, while free men have less physical strength and more intelligence." And it has a contemporary provenance as recent as David Duke.67

Whenever Porteus claimed that his work was devoted to studying race differences rather than inequalities, he simply was spouting the approved damage-control slogans of the editors of The Mankind Quarterly, who insisted as a matter of policy that while they "rejected racial egalitarianism," they did not, "on the other hand, subscribe to doctrines of racial superiority or inferiority," claiming only that "in respect of some characters various stocks will be superior to others, and in other cases inferior." It just so happens, they then noted, that the areas in which whites are superior include the higher mental faculties of reason and logic and organization, while blacks (or as they put it "Melanoids") and other darker skinned peoples excel in such areas as "humor, music, art, ability to live a communal life and existence (as distinct from the competitive form of civilization which the Caucasoids tend to erect), feeling for emotional religious expression, or physical ability in boxing, running, and much else."68

Henry E. Garrett, Porteus's self-described "close ally" regarding the "principle of racial differences," enjoyed arguing (in words that echo Porteus's own on numerous occasions) that "the weight of the evidence favours the proposition that racial differences in mental ability (and perhaps in personality and character) are innate and genetic," while efforts "to help the Negro by ignoring and even suppressing evidences of his mental and social immaturity" are misguided at best. But this same man, again like Porteus, persisted in maintaining the falsehood that he was not speaking of racial inferiority or superiority, but only of the unique abilities possessed by whites to "create a modern technical society," such as the ability "to think in terms of symbols--words, numbers, formulas, diagrams." As for non-whites, and especially blacks, their areas of superiority are such that--to cite a more recent recipient of the Pioneer Fund's fascist largesse--they most closely resemble Neanderthals.69

3. Conclusion and Recommendations

There is no question that Stanley D. Porteus is, by any measure, not deserving of having a building on any university campus named in his honor. Porteus's sole possible claim to professional or scholarly distinction is the pseudo-psychological work to which he devoted his life, the work that is undeniably racist in its near-entirety, and the work that was recognized as wrongheaded and racist by his more eminent peers throughout the whole of his academic career

From the time that he left the Vineland School for the Feebleminded in 1922 to take up residence at the University of Hawai'i until his final days in the 1960s serving as a director of various violently racist and eugenicist organizations (while still, to the end, writing shoddy and at times nearly lunatic "explanations" for the alleged mental defectiveness of non-white, non-Nordic peoples) Porteus's work was at intellectual and ethical odds with both emerging and mainstream scholarship. Largely ignored, reviled, or ridiculed by leading scholars in his field, much of his work, understandably, was published by marginal or even vanity presses.

There is not a single legitimate reason why Stanley Porteus should be honored by having a respectable university name a building after him, and there are compelling reasons why his name should be removed from the UH Social Science Building as soon as possible. Since Porteus's only professional activities of significance were as a pseudo-scientific racist and as an activist on behalf of the post-Nazi era eugenics movement, having a building at UH Manoa named in honor of him is inherently a major statement of institutional support for racism--it can be nothing else--and an insult to the majority of students on this campus and the majority of citizens in the state of Hawai'i. Honoring Professor Porteus with a building in his name is no less outrageous or morally offensive than would be the naming of a building on a predominantly Jewish campus after a professional antisemite. Or the naming of a building on a predominantly African American campus after a lifelong anti-black racist ideologue.

At the time of his death, Stanley Porteus was a socially prominent man in Honolulu, with friends and family in high places in the business and political communities. It is apparent that the Board of Regents, in naming the Social Science Building for Porteus, was guided by the efforts of influential family members and associates of the recently deceased emeritus professor to have this honor bestowed on him. It also is evident that the BOR did little or no research of its own on Porteus's professional life or work.

But years have passed, and now we know better. It is time to change the name of Porteus Hall. Other universities have done it. At the University of Colorado at Boulder a number of years back it was discovered that the man whose name had always adorned the main administration building--David Nichols, the principal founder of the university--had been an advocate of mass murdering the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. The Colorado Regents promptly removed Nichols's name from the building and renamed it Cheyenne-Arapaho Hall.

Examples of similar name changes abound. And not always for reasons such as this. There once was a time, for instance, as many on this campus will recall, when the words Thomas Jefferson Hall were emblazoned in large letters across the top of what is now called the Imin Center on East-West Road.

Although certainly the name Porteus deserves to be stripped from the Social Science Building immediately, it may be possible to make the change more positive than negative by agreeing from the start as to what the new name of the building should be. Some on campus have been urging the adoption of the name "Lili'uokalani," in part because of the dearth of both Hawaiian and female names on campus buildings, and in part because the dignity with which Queen Lili'uokalani carried herself during the extraordinarily trying times of governmental overthrow and annexation represents behavior most deserving of honor. And the timing would be felicitous since 1998 is the centennial of Hawai'i's annexation by the United States

If such a transition can be effected gracefully, with ceremonial emphasis on the positive re-naming, rather than the removal of Stanley Porteus's name, so much the better. If not, the name Porteus must still be removed from the building with all possible haste. Every day that it remains represents another day in which the powers that be at the university continue to tolerate a gross racial offense against the majority of students, an affront to the humane sensibilities of everyone, and an implicit insult to the very motto of the university itself.


1 "President's Report," in Ku Lama: The Newsletter of the University of Hawai'i System, 4:14 (November 21, 1997), p. 1. References to BOR statements are from Regents' minutes of the relevant meetings. For more information on the history of this debate, see files in the UH Department of Ethnic Studies Resource Room and Document Series 5, Testimony on Renaming Porteus Hall, compiled by the Center for Research on Ethnic Relations, UH Social Science Research Institute, on file in the Hamilton Library Hawai'i-Pacific Collection. See also, "Old Debatte Over Building's Name Rekindled," The Chronicle of Higher Education XLIV no. 20 (23 January 1998) A8.

2 The first quotation in this paragraph is from pages 2 and 19 of the May 15, 1975 BOR testimony of former UH Professor of Political Science Robert S. Cahill, while the quotation from Professor Johnson appears on page 5 of his testimony on that occasion; both documents appear in Testimony on Renaming Porteus Hall. Professor Johnson's closeness to the Porteus family is discussed in Elizabeth Dole Porteus, Let's Go Exploring: The Life of Stanley D. Porteus (Honolulu: Ku Pa'a, Inc.), pp. 172-73. Johnson also defended the reputation of another UH-affiliated psychologist who has been accused by professional colleagues of racism - Raymond B. Cattell. The best review of Cattell's work is Barry Mehler, "Beyondism: Raymond B. Cattell and the New Eugenics," Genetica, 99 (1997), 153-63. The excision of Temperament and Race from the bibliography in Elizabeth Dole Porteus's above-cited biography is evident on p. 187.

3 For this and other general biographical data on Porteus, see Porteus, Let's Go Exploring and Stanley D. Porteus, A Psychologist of Sorts: The Autobiography and Publications of the Inventor of the Porteus Maze Tests (Palo Alto: Pacific Books, 1969).

4 Alfred Binet, Les Id�es modernes sur les enfants (Paris: Flammarion, 1913), pp. 140-41; see also, Alfred Binet and Victor Henri, "La psychologie individuelle," L'Ann�e psychologique, 2 (1895), 411-15. For brief discussions, and references to these citations, see Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (New York: Norton, 1981), pp. 146-58; and R.C. Lewontin, Steven Rose, and Leon J. Kamin, Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature (New York: Pantheon, 1984), pp. 83-85.

5 See discussion in the Preface to Porteus's Maze Test and Clinical Psychology (Palo Alto: Pacific Books, 1959). We will return to this matter later.

6. Klineberg, Otto. Race Differences. New York and London: Harper and Brothers, 1935. p. 81. Porteus's extraordinary commitment to pursuing the link between head size and mental ability is recounted in Porteus, Let's Go Exploring, pp. 32-33, 39. Porteus was still embarked on this dead-end venture decades after Franz Boas and others had demolished the notion as absurd. For Porteus's continued efforts to make long-out-of-date craniological linkages as the years went by, see, for example, his books, The Matrix of the Mind (Honolulu: University Press Association, 1928), p. 450, and The Porteus Maze Test and Intelligence (Palo Alto: Pacific Books, 1950), p. 111. Boas's famous series of demonstrations that there is no validity to the notion began before the turn of the twentieth century, at least as early as his article "The Cephalic Index," American Anthropology, 1 (1899), 448-61. Thomas Gossett remarks that Boas's work made "all attempts to classify races on the basis of craniology so impossible as to be preposterous," although Porteus was still at it fully half a century later. See, Race: The History of an Idea in America (New York: Schocken Books, 1965), p. 421.

7 Gould, Mismeasure of Man, p. 160.

8 Hamilton Cravens, "Applied Science and Public Policy: The Ohio Bureau of Juvenile Research and the Problem of Juvenile Delinquency, 1913-1930," in Psychological Testing and American Society, 1890-1930, ed. Michael M. Sokal (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1987), pp. 161, 163. The title of this piece refers to the fact that, upon leaving the Vineland School in 1918, Goddard became the director of the Ohio Bureau of Juvenile Research. For Porteus's views at this time, see his "Mental Tests for the Feebleminded: A New Series," Journal of Psycho-Asthenics, 19 (1915), 200-213, where he discusses the alleged failure of the Binet test (as compared with his own maze test) to measure the multiple social and moral dimensions of intelligence "which count so much in the individual's adjustment to the complexities of daily life," including "instability of temperament, peculiar emotional conditions, general unreliability and lack of sense of proportion and the fitness of things."

9 Cravens, "Applied Science and Public Policy," p. 164, emphasis added. On the dishonesty of certain data produced and discussed in The Kallikak Family, see again Gould, Mismeasure of Man, pp. 168-71.

10 See the bibliographies for this time printed in Porteus, A Psychologist of Sorts, pp. 262-67 and Porteus, Let's Go Exploring, pp. 188-90.

11 Cravens, "Applied Science and Public Policy," pp. 174-80.

12 See, for instance, the following publications by Goddard at this time, reversing positions he had taken previously: "The Problem of the Psychopathic Child," American Journal of Insanity, 77 (1920), 511-16; "In the Light of Recent Developments: What Should Be Our Policy in Dealing With the Delinquents--Juvenile and Adult?" Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 11 (1920), 426-32; "Feeble-Mindedness and Delinquency," Journal of Psycho-Asthenics, 25 (1920), 168-76; and "The Sub-Normal Mind Versus the Abnormal," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 16 (1921), 47-54.

13 Porteus, A Psychologist of Sorts, pp. 77, 81.

14 Stanley D. Porteus, The Maze Test and Mental Differences (Vineland, N.J.: Smith Printing and Publishing House, 1933), pp. 101-102.

15 Ibid., p. 109.

16 Ibid., esp. pp. 112-18.

17 Ibid., pp. 123, 134.

18 S. D. Porteus and Marjorie E. Babcock, Temperament and Race (Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1926), p. 327.

19 See Gould, Mismeasure of Man, pp. 165-66 for a discussion of Goddard's assistants.

20 Porteus, Temperament and Race, pp. 90.

21 Ibid., pp. 96-97, 324, 339.

22 Ibid. p. 64.

23 Ibid., pp. 110-12.

24 Ibid., pp. 112-14.

25 Ibid. p. 68.

26 George M. Fredrickson, White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), p. 188.

27 Porteus, Temperament and Race, pp. 327, 335-36.

28 Madison Grant, The Passing of the Great Race (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922), p. 51. Porteus misquotes Grant in his rendering of this passage, replacing "social discards" with "social diseases."

29 Porteus, Temperament and Race, pp 331-33.

30 Joseph Peterson, "Review of Temperament and Race," American Journal of Psychology, 40 (1928), 640-41. Cf. reviews and commentaries by R. Pinter in Psychological Bulletin, 24 (1927), 249-50, and F.H. Hankins in Social Forces, 5 (1927), 656-61.

31 See note 14.

32 The 1940 opinion poll by the National Education Association is reported on in Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy - Twentieth Anniversary Edition (New York: Harper & Row, 1962), pp. 893-94; Porteus's comments on Filipinos and education are in Temperament and Race, pp. 69-70, and on "idiots and imbeciles" on p. 307.

33 Testimony of Robert S. Cahill, p. 10, in Testimony on Renaming Porteus Hall; Franz Boas, "Fallacies of Racial Inferiority," Current History, 25 (1927), 681.

34 H.H. Goddard, "Feeble-mindedness: A Question of Definition," Journal of Psycho-Asthenics, 33 (1928), 224; C.C. Brigham, "Intelligence Tests of Immigrant Groups," Psychological Review, 37 (1930), 165; Thomas Russell Garth, Race Psychology: A Study of Racial Mental Differences (New York, 1931), p. 211. All of these works are cited and discussed in Gould, Mismeasure of Man, pp. 172-74, 191-92, 232-33; and in Gossett, Race, pp. 424-26.

35 Gossett, Race, p. 430.

36 Testimony of Ronald C. Johnson, p. 6, in Testimony on Renaming Porteus Hall; Honolulu Advertiser, editorial page, December 14, 1974.

37 Porteus, Temperament and Race, pp. 339, 351; Grant, Passing of the Great White Race, p. 263.

38 Francis Galton, Inquiries Into Human Faculty (London: Macmillan, 1883), p. 24.

39 Sheila F. Weiss, Race Hygiene and National Efficiency: The Eugenics of Wilhelm Schallmayer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987), p. 1.

40 Stefan Kühl, The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 37, 40.

41 For an important analysis of the historical collaboration of scholars in the racial politics of South Africa, and in their help with the oppression--and near-extermination--of the "Bushmen," or San peoples of southern Africa, see Robert J. Gordon, The Bushman Myth: The Making of a Namibian Underclass (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), esp. pp. 147-54, for discussion of the time when Porteus did his work among the San.

42 Stanley D. Porteus, Primitive Intelligence and Environment (New York: Macmillan, 1937), p. 257.

43 Otto Klineberg, Race Differences (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1935), p. 156.

44 Ibid., pp. 348-49. For other references to Porteus in this volume, see pp. 81, 91, 155, 159-62, 171, 180, 279, 282, 289.

45 Stanley D. Porteus, Racial Group Differences in Mentality," Tabulae biologicae (Haag), 18 (1939), 66-75. I am grateful to Professor Barry Mehler, Director of the Institute for the Study of Academic Racism at Ferris State University, for this and several other bibliographical references.

46 Kuhl, Nazi Connection, pp. 97-98.

47 See especially And Blow Not the Trumpet (Palo Alto: Pacific Books, 1947) for page after page of anti-Japanese racist propaganda that is only partly attributable to wartime xenophobia.

48 See Porteus, Maze Test and Clinical Psychology for discussion.

49 Kühl, Nazi Connection, pp. 24-25, 48-49, 87.

50 I.A. Newby, Challenge to the Court: Social Scientists and the Defense of Segregation, 1954-1966 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1967), pp. 91-117, see also pp. 118-45. Charles Lane, "Tainted Sources," in The Bell Curve Debate: History, Documents, Opinions, ed. Russell Jacoby and Naomi Glauberman (New York: Times Books, 1995), p. 126; Magnus Linklater, "The Curious Laird of Nigg," in ibid., pp. 142-43; and Barry Sautman, "Theories of East Asian Superiority," in ibid., p. 209.

51 Lane, "Tainted Sources," pp. 126-27; American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 6 (1948), 385-87; Kühl, Nazi Connection, pp. 102-103. For more extensive discussion of both Mengele and Verschuer, see Robert Jay Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 1986), pp. 337-83, esp. pp. 339-58.

52 See the editorial policy statement published in the opening volume: Henry E. Garrett, "The Equalitarian Dogma," The Mankind Quarterly, 1 (1960), 253-57.

53 G. Ainsworth Harrison, "The Mankind Quarterly," Man, 61 (1961), 163-64.

54 Juan Comas, "'Scientific' Racism Again?" Current Anthropology, 2 (1961), 303-40, including commentaries by others; Santiago Genoves, "Racism and 'The Mankind Quarterly,'" Science (December 8, 1961), 1928-32.

55 Bozo Skerlj, "The Mankind Quarterly," Man, 60 (1960), 172-73.

56 See Stanley D. Porteus, "A New Anthropomorphic Approach," The Mankind Quarterly, 1 (1960); Stanley D. Porteus, "Ethnic Group Differences," The Mankind Quarterly, 1 (1961); Stanley D. Porteus, "The Will to Live," The Mankind Quarterly, 3 (1962); Stanley D. Porteus, "Australid 'Assimilation,'" The Mankind Quarterly, 4 (1964); Stanley D. Porteus, "Problems of Aboriginal Mentality," The Mankind Quarterly, 5 (1965). On the circulation of Porteus's "Ethnic Group Differences" by the Mississippi Citizens' Councils, see Newby, Challenge to the Court, p. 87.

57 Stanley D. Porteus, "Comment," in Current Anthropology, 2 (1961), 327, emphasis added.

58 Newby, Challenge to the Court, pp. 121-29. Subsequent to Newby's discussion of his work, Gregor took unsuccessful legal action in an attempt to have Challenge to the Court removed from circulation.

59 A. James Gregor, "The Maze Test and Clinical Psychology," The Mankind Quarterly, 2 (1962), 199; Porteus, "Will to Live"; Stanley D. Porteus and A. James Gregor, "Studies in Intercultural Testing," Perceptual and Motor Skills, 16 (1963), 705-24; Porteus, "Australid 'Assimilation'"; Stanley D. Porteus, Porteus Maze Tests: Fifty Years' Application (Palo Alto: Pacific Books, 1965), p. 220; Newby, Challenge to the Court, p. 124.

60 See Robert E. Kuttner, ed., Race and Modern Science (New York: Social Science Press, 1967), pp. xvii, xxiv-xxvii. Porteus's contribution is on pp. 409-27.

61 Kühl, Nazi Connection, p. 105; Newby, Challenge to the Court, pp. 119, 129.

62 Mike Culbert, "'FREED': Eugenic research Board Established ," Berkeley Gazette, 3/30/70. S.D. Porteus, "Possible Effects of Rate of Global Spin," Perceptual and Motor Skills, 30 (1970), 503-509. Publication of this piece "was kindly supported by a grant from the University Foundation."

63 Ibid; see also Porteus, A Psychologist of Sorts, p. 85.

64 See note 52 for citation.

65 Cited in Kühl, Nazi Connection, p. 3.

66 The Editor, "The Mankind Quarterly Under Attack," The Mankind Quarterly, 2 (1961), 82; Porteus, A Psychologist of Sorts, pp. 79-80; Porteus, Race and Temperament, p. 293.

67 Newby, Challenge to the Court, p. 98; Cartwright and Duke are cited and discussed in John Hoberman, Darwin's Athletes: How Sport Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997), pp. 145, 152-53; Juan de Matienzo is cited in David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 219-20.

68 Editor, "Mankind Quarterly Under Attack,", 80-81.

69 Garrett, "Equalitarian Dogma," 257; Newby, Challenge to the Court, p. 100; J. Philippe Rushton, Race, Evolution, and Behavior (New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1995), p. 233.

Stannard, David E. "Honoring racism: The professional life and reputation of Stanley D. Porteus" Social Process in Hawai'i. 39 (1999): 85-125.