Ivan Goll takes a more positive perspective on race relations in “The Negroes are Conquering Europe” than Adolf Hitler does in excerpts from Mein Kampf. Goll looks at the Negros music and dancing as a frivolous expression of happiness, a means of self-expression. Although he acknowledges the barbarism of their movements and the lack of restraint with their body, he admires their vivacity and passion for life. He enjoys the sounds but knows they are not traditionally acceptable in Europe. However, “Why should it not be from paradise?” Goll hopes jazz will gain acceptance and spread further throughout Europe, bringing with it an opportunity to let go and free the body from societal constraints.
Hitler takes a far different perspective in Mein Kampf. He claims other races are inferior, especially Jews, who “lack the very qualities distinguishing creative and culturally blessed races.” He claims they have no remarkable art, music or architecture which makes them more barbaric and also thieves, plagiarizing the work of the superior race. However, artistic ideas are often expressed in large movements with ideas flowing between people, societies, and nations. In addition, because Jews were always the minority in the various countries in which they lived during this period, a token “Jewish” style of art, architecture, or music was not popular or mainstream. Although they made their own religious artistic contributions, many of them had assimilated into societies and produced art like everyone else. But because their art did not always center around Judaism or their particular cultural circles or become mainstream, Hitler disqualifies their contributions.
Both Goll and Hitler characterize a race by their culture and their artistic expressions. Goll does acknowledge the role skin color plays in determining race, much more so than Hitler, but focuses mainly on the style and medium through which the race/culture manifests. Hitler is far more concerned with ideological and religious differences among races/cultures, which, although can define culture, does not define race. In addition, Hitler shows no admiration or respect for other races or cultures while Goll both shows respect and desires further information and inclusion into the race’s traditions. To Goll, art of a particular race is a source for cultural exchange, of mutual sharing, of intellectual and artistic transmission. He views it as a tool to serve and unite and celebrate humanity, while Hitler uses it as a judgement marker, a standard that other races, cultures, and religions cannot possibly achieve. And because of his personal bias and taste for traditional European artwork, Hitler shapes his view of Jewish contributions around his opinions and not around the reality of their creations. Goll and Hitler view other cultures’ artistic contributions as a characteristic of race, not necessarily culture, but Goll admires other types of expression while Hitler is intolerant and uses art as a basis for judgement and support for racially charged motions.