I don’t mean particularly mean to indict Teeny Manolo, because that’s a pretty frivolous blog and I think this was a throwaway comment, posted a ways back:

Between the dangerous lunchbags and leaden Dora the Explorers, China will assure it’s world dominance by having the US produce an entire generation of IQ-challenged children!

But I worry that this attitude might be common. Because that crack reminds me very strongly of a book I once read: Her Father’s Daughter, by Gene Stratton Porter, published in 1921. Wikipedia says:

This novel presented a unique window into Stratton-Porter’s personal feelings on WWI-era racism, especially relating to orientals.

Uh-huh. This was the plot of the book as I remember it:

A plucky band of teenagers, led by a beautiful and intelligent young girl, must expose their high-achieving Japanese classmate as an impostor—an adult planted in California by the Japanese government in order to repeat high school. His mission? to demoralize American youth by graduating as the valedictorian of a Los Angeles high school.

Seriously. You can read the first few pages.

What freaks me out about the book is not so much the sentiment of the author, but that anti-Japanese sentiment ran so high in the 1920s, that people were willing to accept this totally idiotic and preposterous plot about weakening the nation by depressing the students who came second instead of first on tests. The notion of the inscrutable Oriental whose age cannot be distinguished by appearance is only to be expected, but this seems a ridiculous use for it.

Wikipedia also says “She wrote some of the best selling novels and well-received columns in magazines of the day.” I fear this was one of them.

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