One is struck in reading the 1924 Congressional debate that, while virtually all of the anti-restrictionists raised the issue of Nordic racial superiority [i. e, alleged that a belief in such superiority motivated the drive to restrict immigration] those in favor of the legislation rarely did.You can see more videos by Faith, or subscribe to her YouTube channel, here.
After a particularly colorful comment in opposition to the theory of Nordic racial superiority, restrictionist leader Albert Johnson remarked that
“I would like very much to say on behalf of the committee that through the strenuous times of the hearings this committee undertook not to discuss the Nordic proposition or racial matters.”Several restrictionists explicitly denounced the theory of Nordic superiority.
Clearly, the reformers did not see the concept as helpful to their cause.
What can be found in the statements of the reformers is actually fear of inferiority. Several representatives from the far West seem to have viewed the Japanese as racially equal or superior, not inferior. One senator stated,
“we admit that [the Japanese] are as able as we are, that they are as progressive as we are, that they are as honest as we are, that they are as brainy as we are, and that they are equal in all that goes to make a great people and nation.”A congressman described the Japanese as
“a relentless and unconquerable competitor of our people wherever he places himself.”Apparently, many restrictionists, far from feeling they were members of a superior ethnic group, worried that their people could not compete with Japanese and Chinese.
Was the 1924 Immigration Cut-off “Racist”?, June 19, 2003