Controversy: Einstein's racist comments released in his diary

One of the most iconic and beloved figures in science is undoubtedly the German physicist Albert Einstein. In addition to being remembered for his theories - the most famous being the theory of general relativity and the special theory of relativity - the genius was also known for his political activism and his involvement in the struggle for equality between black and white civil rights. in the US, which he adopted as a home.

Private diary

However, the release of a translation of an old Einstein travel diary surprised everyone by containing xenophobic notes. More specifically, the content was produced during a physicist's trip to Japan, China, India, and Sri Lanka, which took place between October 1922 and March 1923, and although the German text was made available to the public for a long time, it was only recently has he received an English translation.

Albert Einstein

(Wikimedia Commons / Underwood and Underwood / Public Domain)

According to Rafi Letzer of the Live Science website, Einstein wrote in his diary when he was in his early 40s and had already received the Nobel Prize for his research on the photoelectric effect. In the notes, according to the translation, the physicist refers to China as a "peculiar, herd-faced nation" where the population "more like automatons, " describing the Chinese as "industrious, filthy, obtuse people."

Moreover, Einstein further comments that “even those who are forced to work as horses never give the impression of conscious suffering” and confesses that he noted that “there is little difference between men and women” and that he did not understand “what kind of fatal attraction Chinese women possess that enchant men "to the point of making them" unable to defend themselves against the formidable blessing of their offspring. "

And the scientist even formulated his impressions of Chinese children, speaking of them as being "spiritless and obtuse" and commenting that it would be "a pity if the Chinese supplanted all other races."

More impressions

Although China's population received the most criticism from the physicist, he also had comments about other countries, such as Ceylon - about which he wrote that the population lived “with a great filth and considerable stench on the ground”, adding it was a people that “do little and need little”.

Albert Einstein

(Wikimedia Commons / Orren Jack Turner / Public Domain)

Einstein did not have a good first impression of the Egyptian people either, since he wrote in his diary that he came across "risers of all shades, as if they had been vomited from hell." Tense, right? Especially if we consider that the physicist was very public about his anti-racist struggle and how absurd he thought racial segregation was, and used to say that he thought xenophobia was a disease of whites.

It is noteworthy that all these impressions, though xenophobic and blunt, were written in Einstein's personal journal - a notebook that the physicist probably thought would never be exposed to the public. Either way, the publication of the translation casts a shadow over the reputation of the beloved scientist and is undoubtedly quite controversial.


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