Time and again he stressed that minorities should conform to the society in which they cast their lot. However, he did not hold that Anglo-American culture, or Western European culture, was intrinsically superior to all others. Hybridism never pays.
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On the right, we encounter white separatists as opposed to white supremacists , who believe the races should dwell in peace, but apart. On the left, similar notions are held by Louis Farrakhan and his followers. To weigh the validity of this position, we must consider the plight of the American Indian.
Oops, never mind. Truly, the expansion of European civilization into the Western hemisphere was a catastrophe for the indigenous peoples. However, not every white person in 19th Century America was blithely indifferent to it. The subjugation of the Indian was roundly and rightly condemned in the liberal press. And yet H. Certainly, they seem less offensive now than they did forty years ago.
Remarkable individuals often do have flaws commensurate with their stature. Imagine John Lennon beating the snot out of friend and fellow band member Stu Sutcliffe.
“Fuck Dagon.” “Yes!”
Henry Ford was a notorious anti-Semite, as was Richard Wagner. Woodrow Wilson was an unreconstructed Southerner with all the racist views that went along with it. Thomas Edison had a reputation for unscrupulous business practices and cheating important colleagues like Nikola Tesla. Narrowing our focus to notable literary figures, it is disconcerting to learn that Charles Dickens was a xenophobe who subjected his wife to extreme mental cruelty.
Sylvia Plath, like many another writer, was suicidal --so much so that she took her life even though she was abandoning two small children.
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Oz creator L. Frank Baum once advocated the extermination of American Indians. Both Hamsun and Pound were formally charged with treason. Possibly because there are no Cantos role-playing games. Unfortunately, Lovecraft is to some extent a victim of his own popularity and posthumous success. Lovecraft was in good --or bad-- company, depending on your point of view.
Lovecraft would not be the same man, or the same writer, without the rough edges. And now for the big one. If this whole essay consisted of just this one point, it would be more than enough. It really renders my first eight excuses superfluous. But the bottom line is this: what looms larger in the big picture? Is it tasteless comments and faulty reasoning expressed to friends and relatives? And, yes, the former does have something to do with the latter. Lovecraft routinely vents his spleen on more than just the usual suspects blacks and Jews.
Nor does he stop with the squalling Italians and jabbering Portuguese. Recognizing Lovecraft as a xenophobe does alter our estimation of him somewhat. Rather, he was seriously troubled by a sense of fear and revulsion that was deeply rooted in the core of his personality. Possibly, he is more deserving of pity than contempt. No one is likely to mistake either of these for kindly gentlemen.
Lovecraft, on the other hand, seems to me not truly a bigot, but a man with a bigot on his back. The notion of bigotry as a kind of personal demon is by no means exclusive to Lovecraft. We can admire individuals for their accomplishments without condoning everything they do.
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It is largely a matter of degree that determines how reprehensible the presence of racism is in an individual, since it is hard to do away with it completely. Everyone is prey to fear and insecurity, and these are the natural manure of intolerance. Nowhere is this more true than in regard to sex.
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Sex is the true litmus test for vestigial racism among basically tolerant, easy-going males. Howard, cuts to the heart of the matter in one of his reincarnation fantasies, making this bold statement: A man is no better and no worse than his feelings regarding the women of his blood, which is the true and only test of racial consciousness. A man will take to himself the stranger woman, and sit down at meat with the stranger man, and feel no twinges of race-consciousness.
It is only when he sees the alien man in possession of, or intent upon, a woman of his blood, that he realizes the difference in race and strain. So I, who had held women of many races in my arms, who was blood brother to a Pictish savage, was shaken to mad fury at the sight of an alien laying hands upon a woman of the Aesir. Sounds like something touched a nerve.
We also detect a little bit of a double standard here.
Full text of "Lovecraft Studies #18v08n01 ( Spring) (CosmicJukebox)"
I should point out that Howard, though he did make use of racial stereotypes, was also capable of portraying blacks and other ethnics sympathetically. In the thirties, this was a rather rare quality among Southerners, and even some New Englanders. I cite the paragraph above to call attention to a common, if not universal, male insecurity.
This particular prejudice is common to all males, regardless of their ethnicity. It has to do with competition for females, which reaches back to the dawn of time. It must, therefore, be regarded in some sense as innate and instinctive, as Howard seems to suggest in the above passage. Only social conditioning can serve to alleviate this tendency. I mention all this because it lies at the root of the concept of miscegenation. The term is not heard so much today, but it was bandied about freely in Nineteenth Century America.
Lovecraft was most definitely familiar with it. The Nazis got considerable mileage out of crude caricatures of troll-like Jews slavering over golden-haired Rhine maidens. Of course, the double standard decrees that women of other races are fair game. A white man lying with a black woman is having an adventure; a black man lying with a white woman threatens the pillars of civilization. This is no mere digression as far as HPL is concerned. However, he did buy heavily into the belief that miscegenation posed a ghastly threat to the white race and Western civilization.
They represent a nightmare of miscegenation.
Readers will recall that the Innsmouth natives begin life as more-or-less normal looking humans. Finally, they complete their metamorphosis into full-blown Deep Ones, leaving the land behind to dwell in the depths of the ocean. Lovecraft considered the malign suspension of natural law the most terrible conception of the human brain.
With the Deep Ones, we see evolution itself thrown into reverse. Life began in the oceans, slowly migrated onto land, and developed into complex organisms.