Scientific racism

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Scientific racism denotes the use of scientific, or ostensibly scientific, findings and methods to support or validate racist attitudes and worldviews. It is based on belief in the existence and significance of racial categories, but extends this into a hierarchy between the races to support political or ideological positions of racial supremacy. Scientific racism can refer to both obsolete and contemporary scientific theories, and includes the use of anthropology (notably physical anthropology), anthropometry, craniometry, and other disciplines in the construction of typologies and the classification of humans into distinct biological races.

Scientific racism was most widespread during the New Imperialism period in the second half of the 19th century. These theories often worked in conjunction with racism, for example in the case of "human zoos", in which human beings of various races were presented in cages during colonial exhibitions. Such theories, and associated actions, have been strongly denounced since World War II and the Holocaust, in particular by a 1950 UNESCO statement, signed by an international group of scholars, known as The Race Question.[1]

Today, the phrase is used either as an accusation, or to describe what critics consider to be historical racist propaganda alleging the existence of different races. These critics point to The Race Question, which advocates the use of the more precise term "ethnic group".

The phrase "scientific racism" has been applied retroactively to publications on race as far back as the 18th century.


[edit] Overview

Such theories, which often postulated a "master race", usually "Nordic" and "Aryan", were along with eugenics, pioneered by Sir Francis Galton (among others) and popularized at the turn of the 20th century, a main influence of the Nazi racial policies and their program of eugenics. Galton developed the science of Eugenics whose primary concept was "control" and promotion of quantification and analytical measurements of "desirable traits" so as to set a guide on how to obtain the "truly proper breeding". [2] However, this was not necessarily a continuous relationship, as several influential authors of Nazism were not themselves anti-semitic. Quite to the contrary, Arthur de Gobineau (1816–82), for example, was a philo-semite who placed the "Jewish race" above all. Thus, although his racial theories largely influenced Nazi ideologies, they had to adapt him to suit their mindset. Apart from Gobineau's 1853 The Inequality of Human Races,[3] other scientific racist works that largely influenced Nazism include Francis Galton’s 1870 Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into Its Laws and Consequences,[4] Madison Grant’s 1916/1924 The Passing of the Great Race[5] and Lothrop T. Stoddard’s 1920 The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy[6] For the most part, however, scientific racism is a pejorative label sometimes given to modern theories or arguments that allege that scientific evidence shows significant evolutionary differences between races or ethnic groups.

In this sense, the term is used to criticize modern studies of human genetics or studies claiming to show a link between race and intelligence, as well as hierarchically classifying races, hence asserting the superiority or inferiority of specific ones. Critics of such studies assert that both "race" and "intelligence" are fuzzy concepts.

[edit] Earliest examples of scientific racism

According to Benjamin Isaac's The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity, [7] roots of scientific racism may be found in Greco-Roman antiquity. Other authors (such as the French author Raphaël Lagier, Les races humaines selon Kant — Human Races According to Kant, 2004[8]), however, reject this claim, highlighting the very different scientific frame created in the 19th century with the birth of modern biology, making any interpretation of continuity between ancient racist theories with modern scientific racism hazardous at best. B. Isaac discussed in his book the alleged role of Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen and many other notable figures in the gradual formation of the modern scientific racist worldview. He presents for instance the fifth century BC treatise Airs, Waters, Places by Hippocrates as a prime instance of early (proto)scientific racism, and links Pseudo-Aristotle's suggestions to Hippocrates: "The idea that dark people are cowards and light people courageous fighters is found already in Airs, Waters, Places..."[9] He also quotes Vitruvius (70–25 B.C.) who, relying on the racial theories of Posidonius, wrote "those races nearest to the southern half of the axis are of lower stature, with swarthy complexions, curly hair, black eyes and little blood on account of the sun. This poverty of blood makes them over-timid to stand up against the sword...On the other hand, men born in cold countries are indeed ready to meet the shock of arms with great courage and without timidity."[10]

Regular publications on race and other claimed differences between people of different geographical locations began at least as early as the 18th century. The 17th and 18th century were marked by natural history, in which the concept of evolution had no sense. Early attempts at distinguishing various races had been made by Henri de Boulainvilliers (1658–1722), who divided the nation of France between two races, the aristocratic, "French" race, descendants of the Germanic Franks, and the Gallo-Roman, indigenous race, which comprised the population of the Third Estate. According to Boulainvilliers, the descendants of the Franks dominated the Third Estate by a right of conquest. In the exact opposite of modern nationalism, the foreigners had a legitimate right of domination on indigenous peoples. But contrary to later, scientifically-justified theories of race, Boulainvilliers did not understand the concept of race as designing an eternal and immutable essence. His account was not, however, only a mythical tale: contrary to hagiographies and epics such as The Song of Roland, Boulainvilliers sought some kind of scientific legitimacy by basing his distinction between a Germanic race and a Latin race on historical events. However, his theory of races was completely distinct from the biological concept of race later used by nineteenth century's theories of scientific racism.

Carolus Linnaeus (1707–78), a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist, who laid the bases of binomial nomenclature (the method of naming species) and is known as the "father of modern taxonomy" (the science of describing, categorizing and naming organisms) was also a pioneer in defining the concept of "race" as applied to humans. Within Homo sapiens he proposed four taxa of a lower (unnamed) rank. These categories are, Americanus, Asiaticus, Africanus, and Europeanus. They were based on place of origin at first, and later skin color. Each race had certain characteristics that were endemic to individuals belonging to it. Native Americans were reddish, stubborn, and angered easily. Africans were black, relaxed and negligent. Asians were yellow, avaricious, and easily distracted. Europeans were white, gentle, and inventive.[11]

In addition, in Amoenitates academicae (1763), Carolus Linnaeus defined Homo anthropomorpha as a catch-all race for a variety of human-like mythological creatures, including the troglodyte, satyr, hydra, and phoenix. He claimed that these creatures actually existed, but were in reality inaccurate descriptions of ape-like creatures.

He also defined in Systema Naturæ Homo ferus as "four-footed, mute, hairy." It included the sub-races Juvenis lupinus hessensis (wolf boys), who he thought were raised by animals, and Juvenis hannoveranus (Peter of Hanover) and Puella campanica (Wild-girl of Champagne). He likewise defined Homo monstrosous as agile and fainthearted, and included in this race the Patagonian giant, the dwarf of the Alps, and the monorchid Hottentot.

Edward Long, a British colonial administrator, created a simpler classification of race in History of Jamaica (1774). The next year, Johann Blumenbach published his thesis, On the Natural Varieties of Mankind, one of the foundational work of scientific racism. Blumenbach, however, supported monogenism, according to which all mankind had a common origin, against Samuel von Sömmering and Christoph Meiners, who supported polygenism, the view that separate races originated independently.

[edit] 19th century theories of race

Before Darwin had published his theory of evolution, Josiah Clark Nott's and George Robins Gliddon's Indigenous races of the earth (1857) used misleading imagery to suggest that "Negroes" had been created to rank between "Greeks" and chimpanzees.[12]

The scientific classification proposed by Linnaeus was a prerequisite of any attempts at scientifically classifying humanity according to various races. Unilinealism depicting a progression from primitive human societies to industrialized civilization became popular amongst philosophers including Friedrich Hegel, Immanuel Kant and Auguste Comte. Some have interpreted the Bible to sanction slavery, and from the 1820s to the 1850s it was cited in the Southern States of the United States of America to support the idea that negroes had been created unequal, suited to slavery, by writers such as the Rev. Richard Furman, Joseph Smith Jr. and Thomas R. Cobb.[12]

Arthur Gobineau's An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853–1855) proposed that there were three races, and that race mixing led to the collapse of civilization. Polygenist theory alleged that there were different origins of mankind, thus making it possible to conceive of different, biological, human races, or to classify other humans as akin to animals without rights.

Charles Darwin's 1859 On the Origin of Species was very influential, although it made no mention of humanity and when he published his views in his The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex of 1871 he was emphatic that there were no clear distinctive characteristics to categorize races as separate species, and that all shared very similar physical and mental characteristics indicating common ancestry.[12][13] In making his case for the reality of one human species, Darwin contrasted "civilized races of man" with "the savage races", like almost everyone else at that time (except Alfred Russel Wallace) making no clear distinction between biological races and cultural races. He also noted the likelihood of "savage races" being wiped out at that time of colonial expansion, but gave no support to such extermination. However, although Darwin was not racist and throughout his life strongly opposed slavery,[14] the term "Social Darwinism" was applied in the 1940s to denote various ideologies including pre-Darwinian racist ideas combined with concepts loosely based on evolution by natural selection. Scientific racist theories became associated with the expression "survival of the fittest", coined by Herbert Spencer in 1864.[12]

Ancient ideas of improving human races were developed with ideas take from Francis Galton's concept of voluntary "eugenics" into popular campaigning for coercive government programs. Scientific racism theories, influenced by other discourses and events, became extremely popular towards the end of the 19th century.

Phrenology, which attempted to describe traits of character by outward appearance, including by the shape of skulls, measured via craniometry, and of skeletons, was put to use in racist ends. Thus, skulls and skeletons of black people and other indigenous people were displayed between apes and white men. Thus, Ota Benga, a Pygmy, was displayed as the "Missing Link" in 1906 in the Bronx Zoo in New York, alongside apes and other animals. Some of the most influential theories included Vacher de Lapouge (1854–1936)'s "anthroposociology" and Herder (1744–1803), who applied "race" to nationalist theory to develop the first conception of ethnic nationalism. To the contrary, Ernest Renan famously argued in 1882 against Herder for a conception of nation based on the "will to live together," which was not founded on any ethnic or racial prerequisite. Scientific racist discourse posited the historical existence of "national races" such as German and French, branching from basal races supposed to have existed for millennia, such as the "Aryan race", and believed political boundaries should mirror these supposed racial ones.

[edit] Craniometry and physical anthropology

Dutch scholar Pieter Camper (1722–89) was one of the first theorists of craniometry, the measure of skulls, which he used to justify racial differences. In 1770, he invented in one of his numerous memoirs the concept of the "facial angle", a measure meant to determine intelligence among various species. According to this technique, a "facial angle" was formed by drawing two lines: one horizontally from the nostril to the ear; and the other perpendicularly from the advancing part of the upper jawbone to the most prominent part of the forehead. Camper claimed that antique statues presented an angle of 90°, Europeans of 80°, Black people of 70° and the orangutan of 58°, thus displaying a hierarchic and racist view of mankind, based on a decadent conception of history. These scientific racist researches were continued by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772–1844) and Paul Broca (1824–80).

Samuel George Morton (1799–1851), one of the inspirators of physical anthropology, collected hundreds of human skulls from all over the world and started trying to find a way to classify them according to some logical criteria. Influenced by the common racist theories of his time, he claimed that he could judge the intellectual capacity of a race by the cranial capacity (the measure of the volume of the interior of the skull). A large skull meant a large brain and high intellectual capacity, and a small skull indicated a small brain and decreased intellectual capacity. By studying these skulls he decided at what point Caucasians stopped being Caucasians, and at what point Negroes began. Morton had many skulls from ancient Egypt, and concluded that the ancient Egyptians were not African, but were white. His two major monographs were the Crania Americana (1839), An Inquiry into the Distinctive Characteristics of the Aboriginal Race of America and Crania Aegyptiaca (1844). In Crania Americana, he claimed that the mean cranial capacity of the skulls of whites was 87 in³ (1,425 cm³), while that of blacks was 78 in³ (1,278 cm³). Based on the measurement of 144 skulls of Native Americans, he reported a figure of 82 in³ (1,344 cm³) [sic].

William Z. Ripley's map of the "cephalic index" in Europe, from The Races of Europe (1899).

Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002), an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science, studied from a historical perspective these craniometric works in The Mismeasure of Man (1981). He alleged that Samuel Morton had fudged data and "overpacked" the skulls with filler in order to justify his racist opinions.

In 1873, Paul Broca (1824–1880), founder of the Anthropological Society of Paris in 1859, found the same pattern described by Samuel Morton's Crania Americana by weighing brains at autopsy. Other historical studies alleging a black-white difference in brain size include Bean (1906), Mall, (1909), Pearl, (1934) and Vint (1934).

[edit] Monogenism and polygenism

Morton's followers, particularly Josiah C. Nott (1804–1873) and George Gliddon (1809–57) in their monumental tribute to Morton's work, Types of Mankind (1854), carried Morton's ideas further and claimed that his findings in fact supported the notion of polygenism, which claims that humanity originates from different lineages and is the ancestor of the multiregional hypothesis. Morton himself had been reluctant to explicitly espouse polygenism because it was a major challenge to the biblical account of creation. Charles Darwin opposed Nott and Glidon's polygenist — and creationists — arguments in his 1871 The Descent of Man, arguing for a monogenism of the species. Darwin conceived the common origin of all humans (aka single-origin hypothesis) as essential for evolutionary theory.

Furthermore, Nott translated Arthur de Gobineau's An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853–55), which is one of the founder of "biological racism", in contrast to Boulainvilliers (1658–1722)'s theory of races.

[edit] Philosophers of the Enlightenment and racial classifications

A few years later, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), celebrated as the symbol of the Enlightenment's philosophy of progress and humanism, wrote his essay On the Different Races of Man (1775) in which he attempted a scientific classification of human races. Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) would also include a strongly evolutionist account of history in Lectures on the Philosophy of History, describing the development of the Geist (Spirit or Reason) in history through a serie of incarnations in specific Volkgeists (Folk Spirit). Hegel's philosophy of history was explicitly biased in favor of Europe, and, in particular, of the Prussian state, conceived as the achievement of history (the "End of History"). In his chapter on the Geographical Foundings of Universal History, Hegel wrote that "each People represented a particular degree of the development of the Spirit," thus forming a "nation." This notion of nation, however, is not explicitly linked to physical or racial particularities, rather it is concerned and the concrete historical and geographical site where the Spirit unfold. Influenced, as many others, by Montesquieu's theory on the influence of climate on mores and laws, which the latter had developed in The Spirit of the Laws (1748), Hegel wrote that:

"It is true that climate has influence in that sense that neither the warm zone nor the cold zone are favourable to the liberty of man and to the apparition of historical peoples."[15](i.e. of peoples that "have" a history, in contrast with "savages" that allegedly have no history).

Unsurprisingly, Hegel thus favored the Geist in temperate zones. Hegel finally made an account of "universal history," which started with the Oriental World, then the Greek Antiquity, then the Roman and the Christian World, and, ultimately, the Prussian World.[16] It is true, however, that Hegel's philosophy, as Kant for that manner, can not be reduced to such evolutionist statements. In the same lessons, Hegel thus write that "America is the country of the future", but that "philosophy does not concerns itself with prophecies", but with history.[17] Nevertheless, as great as Hegel's philosophy may be considered to be, it has provided justifications for Europe's imperialism until World War I. In the same way, the works of Montesquieu, one of the early founder of modern sociology, has provided various justifications over the age claiming to scientifically ground "Negroes' inferiority" on claims of the alleged influence of climate. Such racial and evolutionist statements would be echoed by Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) who attributed civilizational primacy, on naturalistic grounds, to the "white races" who gained their sensitivity and intelligence by refinement in the rigorous North:

"The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste or race is fairer in colour than the rest and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmins, the Incas, and the rulers of the South Sea Islands. All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want and misery, which in their many forms were brought about by the climate. This they had to do in order to make up for the parsimony of nature and out of it all came their high civilization."[18]

[edit] Various typologies

One of the first typologies used to classify various human races was invented by Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854–1936), a theoretician of eugenics, who published in 1899 L'Aryen et son rôle social (1899 — "The Aryan and his social role"). In this book, he classified humanity into various, hierarchized, races, spanning from the "Aryan white race, dolichocephalic", to the "brachycephalic" "mediocre and inert" race, best represented by the "Jew [sic]." Between these, Vacher de Lapouge identified the "Homo europaeus (Teutonic, Protestant, etc.), the "Homo alpinus" (Auvergnat, Turkish, etc.), and finally the "Homo mediterraneus" (Neapolitan, Andalus, etc.) Vacher de Lapouge became one of the leading inspiration of Nazi anti-semitism and Nazi racist ideology.[19]

Vacher de Lapouge's classification was mirrored in William Z. Ripley in The Races of Europe (1899), a book which had a large influence on American white supremacism. Ripley even made a map of Europe according to the alleged cephalic index of its inhabitants. He was an important influence of the American eugenist Madison Grant.

Furthermore, according to John Efron of Indiana University, the late 19th century also witnessed "the scientizing of anti-Jewish prejudice," stigmatizing Jews with male menstruation, pathological hysteria, and nymphomania.[20][21] At the same time, several Jews, such as Joseph Jacobs or Samuel Weissenberg, also endorsed the same pseudo-scientific theories, convinced that the Jews formed a distinct race.[20][21] Chaim Zhitlovsky also attempted to define Yiddishkayt (Ashkenazi Jewishness) by turning to contemporary racial theory.[22]

[edit] Deniker, Grant and the "Nordic race"

Deniker's "Races de l'Europe" from 1899, including la race nordique.

Joseph Deniker (1852–1918) was one of Ripley's main opponents. While Ripley maintained, as Vacher de Lapouge, that Europe was composed of three racial stocks, Joseph Deniker held that there were ten European races (six primary races with four subsidiary or sub-races). Deniker's most lasting contribution to the field of racial theory was the designation of one of his races as la race nordique (the Northern race). While this group had no special place in Deniker's racial model, it would be elevated by Madison Grant (1865–1937) in his Nordic theory to the engine of civilization. Grant adopted Ripley's three-race model for Europeans, but disliked Ripley's use of the "Teuton" for one of the races. Grant transliterated la race nordique into "Nordic", and promoted it to the top of his racial hierarchy in his own popular racial theory of the 1910s and 1920s.

Furthermore, Deniker proposed that the concept of "race" was too confusing, and instead proposed the use of the word "ethnic group" instead, which was later adopted prominently in the work of Julian Huxley and Alfred C. Haddon. Ripley argued that Deniker's idea of a "race" should be rather called a "type", since it was far less biologically rigid than most approaches to the question of race.

[edit] Scientific racism in the Svecoman movement in 19th century Finland

A language strife developed in the Grand Duchy of Finland in the 19th century, supported by Finnish-speaking nationalists, the Fennomans, which aimed at raising the majority language, Finnish, from the peasant status it had during the Swedish reign to the position of a national language and status. These were opposed by the Swedish speaking minority living in Finland, called Svecomans and best represented by the linguist Axel Olof Freudenthal (1836–1911), who defended the use of the Swedish language against Finnish. Svecomans were influenced by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840) and others racialist theorists, and thus considered that Finland was separated into two discrete "races", one speaking Finnish, and the other, "superior one", the "Germanic race," spoke Swedish.

[edit] Scientific racism and eugenics

Stephen Jay Gould described Madison Grant's The Passing of the Great Race (1916) as "the most influential tract of American scientific racism." In the 1920s–30s, the German racial hygiene movement embraced Grant's Nordic theory. Alfred Ploetz (1860–1940) coined the term Rassenhygiene in Racial Hygiene Basics (1895), and founded the German Society for Racial Hygiene in 1905. The movement advocated selective breeding, compulsory sterilization, and a close alignment of public health with eugenics.

Racial hygiene was historically tied to traditional notions of public health, but with emphasis on heredity — what philosopher and historian Michel Foucault has called state racism. In 1869, Francis Galton (1822–1911) proposed the first social measures meant to preserve or enhance biological characteristics, and later coined the term "eugenics". Galton, a statistician, introduced correlation and regression analysis and discovered regression toward the mean. He was also the first to study human differences and inheritance of intelligence with statistical methods. He introduced the use of questionnaires and surveys to collect data on population sets, which he needed for genealogical and biographical works and for anthropometric studies. Galton also founded psychometrics, the science of measuring mental faculties, and differential psychology, a branch of psychology concerned with psychological differences between people rather than common traits.

Like scientific racism, eugenics grew popular in the early 20th century, and both ideas influenced Nazi racial policies and Nazi eugenics. In 1901, Galton, Karl Pearson (1857–1936) and Walter F. R. Weldon (1860–1906) founded the Biometrika scientific journal, which promoted biometrics and statistical analysis of heredity. Charles Davenport (1866–1944) was briefly involved in the review. In Race Crossing in Jamaica (1929), he made statistical arguments that biological and cultural degradation followed white and black interbreeding. Davenport was connected to Nazi Germany before and during World War II. In 1939 he wrote a contribution to the festschrift for Otto Reche (1879–1966), who became an important figure within the plan to remove populations considered "inferior" from eastern Germany.[23]

[edit] Scientific racism and popular racist ideology

A caricature of Saartjie Baartman, called the Hottentot Venus. Born to a Khoisan family, she was displayed in London in the early 19th century that sparked the indignation of the African Association. She was examined by French anatomist Georges Cuvier and then died in 1815. Her remains were conserved until 1974 at the Musée de l'Homme and have since been returned to South Africa on Nelson Mandela's request.

Human zoos, sometimes called "ethnographic exhibitions" or "Negro villages," were objects of anthropology and anthropometry and also an important means of bolstering "popular racism." Human zoos were popular from the 1870s until World War II, and the concept survived into the 21st century. Ethnographic zoos were often predicated on unilinealism and a version of Social Darwinism. Many placed indigenous people (particularly Africans) in a continuum between Europeans and the non-human hominids.

Fundamental to scientific racism, unilinealism claimed Western culture was the contemporary pinnacle of social evolution. It was upheld by famous thinkers such as August Comte (1798–1857), Edward Burnett Tylor (1832–1917), Lewis Henry Morgan (1818–1881), and Herbert Spencer (1820–1903). Social evolutionism attempted to scientifically formalize social thinking, and was later influenced by the biological theory of evolution.

Displaying human beings in cages to demonstrate scientific racist theories was common in the second half of the 19th century. The 1889 World Fair in Paris had as major attraction a "Negro village" where 400 indigenous people were displayed. Carl Hagenbeck, a German merchant in wild animals, exhibited in 1874 Samoans and Sami people described as "purely natural" populations. Two years later, he sent an emissary to Sudan to capture wild beasts for his circus attractions, along with Nubians. Geoffroy de Saint-Hilaire, son of Edouard Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and owner of the Parisian Jardin d'acclimatation, presented Nubians and Inuit in 1877.

In 1906, Madison Grant, head of the New York Zoological Society, had Congolese pygmy Ota Benga put on display at the Bronx Zoo in New York City alongside apes and other animals. At the behest of Grant, a prominent eugenicist, the zoo director placed Ota Benga in a cage with an orangutan and labeled him The Missing Link, illustrating that in evolutionary terms Africans like Ota Benga were closer to apes than were Europeans.

Historian Pascal Blanchard et al. thus wrote:

Human zoos, the incredible symbols of the colonial period and the transition from the nineteenth to twentieth century, have been completely suppressed in our collective history and memory. Yet they were major social events. The French, Europeans and Americans came in their tens of millions to discover the "savage" for the first time in zoos or "ethnographic" and colonial fairs. These exhibitions of the exotic (the future "native") laid the foundations on which, over an almost sixty-year period, was spun the West's progressive transition from a "scientific" racism to a colonial and "mass" racism affecting millions of "visitors" from Paris to Hamburg, London to New York, Moscow to Barcelona...[24]

[edit] Justification of slavery in the nineteenth century

An 1839 drawing by Samuel George Morton of "a Negro head... a Caucasian skull... a Mongol head."

Some, mostly in the United States, aimed to scientifically justify African enslavement to quell moral questions raised by the Atlantic slave trade. Alexander Thomas and Samuell Sillen described black men as uniquely fitted for bondage due to their "primitive psychological organization."[25] In 1851, antebellum Southern physician Samuel A. Cartwright (1793–1863) of Louisiana considered the attempts of slaves to gain freedom as a treatable mental illness he named "drapetomania". He wrote that with "proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many Negroes have of running away can be almost entirely prevented."[26] Cartwright also described dysaethesia aethiopica, "called by overseers 'rascality'". By 1840 the challenge to slavery had begun in earnest. An 1840 census seemed to indicate that Northern blacks had higher rates of mental illness than enslaved Southern blacks. Southerners concluded that Negroes seeking freedom suffered only from "mental disorders". The census served as a political weapon against abolitionists. [2]

Attention to race near the time of the American Civil War led to studies of physiological differences between Caucasians and Negroes, with focus on the question of miscegenation. Early anthropologists such as Josiah Clark Nott, George Robins Gliddon, Robert Knox, and Samuel George Morton aimed to prove scientifically that Negroes were not the same species as white people, that the rulers of Ancient Egypt were not actually Africans, and that racially mixed offspring were infertile or weak. After the Civil War, Southern physicians wrote many texts outlining scientific studies claiming freed blacks were dying out, implying blacks benefited from slavery.

[edit] In the twentieth and twenty first centuries

Scientific racism continued through the early twentieth century, and soon intelligence testing became a new source for racial comparisons. Poorly designed studies appeared to support the physical and mental inferiority of "Negroes" (African Americans) and Latin Americans, and, at the turn of the century, "racial scientific" questions about the equality of Eastern Europeans and Jews, to Northern European whites. In the United States, eugenicists such as Harry H. Laughlin and Madison Grant sought to prove the physical and mental inadequacy of certain ethnic groups to scientifically justify compulsory sterilization and immigration restriction. Compulsory sterilization continued until the 1960s and beyond. In France, Nobel Prize winner Alexis Carrel, who founded the ancestor of the present INED demographic institute, followed a similar discourse under the Vichy regime. However, Vichy didn't implement any eugenics programs.

[edit] Nazi Germany

The Nazi Party and its sympathizers published many books on scientific racism, seizing on the eugenic and anti-Semitic ideas with which they would later become associated, although these ideas had been in circulation since the 19th century. Books such as Rassenkunde des deutschen Volkes ("Ethnology of the German People") by Hans F. K. Günther and Rasse und Seele ("Race and Soul") by Dr. Ludwig Ferdinand Clauss attempted to scientifically identify differences between the German, Nordic, or Aryan people and other, supposedly inferior, groups. German schools used these books as texts during the Nazi era.

In the early 1930s, the Nazis used racialized scientific rhetoric based on social Darwinism to push its restrictive and discriminatory social policies. During World War II, Nazi racialist beliefs became anathema in the United States, and Boasians such as Ruth Benedict consolidated their institutional power. After the war, discovery of the Holocaust and Nazi abuses of scientific research (such as Josef Mengele's ethical violations and other war crimes revealed at the Nuremberg Trials) led most of the scientific community to repudiate scientific support for racism.

[edit] South African Apartheid

Scientific racism played a role in establishing Apartheid in South Africa. In South Africa, white scientists, like Dudly Kidd, who published The essential Kafir in 1904, sought to "understand the African mind." They believed that the cultural differences between whites and blacks in South Africa might be caused by physiological differences in the brain. Rather than suggesting that Africans were "overgrown children," as early white explorers had, Kidd believed that Africans were "misgrown with a vengeance." He described Africans as at once "hopelessly deficient," yet "very shrewd."[27]

The Carnegie Commission on the Poor White Problem in South Africa played a key role in establishing Apartheid in South Africa. According to one memorandum sent to Frederick Keppel, then president of the Carnegie Corporation, there was "little doubt that if the natives were given full economic opportunity, the more competent among them would soon outstrip the less competent whites"[28] Keppel's support for the project of creating the report was motivated by his concern with the maintenance of existing racial boundaries.[28] The preoccupation of the Carnegie Corporation with the so-called poor white problem in South Africa was at least in part the outcome of similar misgivings about the state of poor whites in the American South.[28]

The report was five volumes in length.[29] At the turn of the century, white Americans, and whites elsewhere in the world, felt uneasy because poverty and economic depression seemed to strike people regardless of race.[29] White poverty contradicted notions of racial superiority, and hence it became the focus of "scientific" study.

Though the ground work for Apartheid began earlier, the report provided support for this central idea of black inferiority. This was used to justify racial segregation and discrimination[30] in the following decades.[31] The report expressed fear about the loss of white racial pride, and in particular pointed to the danger that the poor white would not be able to resist the process of "Africanisation".[28]

Although scientific racism played a role in justifying and supporting institutional racism in South Africa, it was not as important in South Africa as it has been in Europe and the United States. This was due in part to the "poor white problem", which raised serious questions for supremacists about white racial superiority.[27] Since poor whites were found to be in the same situation as natives in the African environment, the idea that intrinsic white superiority could overcome any environment did not seem to hold. As such, scientific justifications for racism were not as useful in South Africa.[27]

[edit] Justification for racial segregation

The intellectual roots of Plessy v. Ferguson, the landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of racial segregation under the doctrine of "separate but equal" were, in part, tied to the scientific racism of the era. The popular support for the decision was more likely a result of the racist beliefs held by most whites at the time.[32] Later, the court decision Brown v. Board of Education would reject ideas about the "need" for segregation, especially in schools. Both scholarly and popular ideas of scientific racism played an important role in the ensuing backlash.[32] The Mankind Quarterly is a journal that has published scientific racism. It was founded in 1960, in part in response to Brown v. Board of Education.[33][34] Many of the publication's contributors, publishers, and Board of Directors espouse academic hereditarianism. The publication is widely criticized for its extremist politics, anti-semitic bent and its support for scientific racism.[35]

[edit] Civil rights era

In April 1966, Alex Haley interviewed American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell for Playboy. Rockwell explained why he believed blacks were inferior to whites, citing a study by G.O. Ferguson that showed black people who were part white outperformed "pure-black niggers" (Rockwell's words) on a test. Rockwell's use of these statistics is a textbook example of a statistical fallacy used to propagate scientific racism.[36]

Following the United States Civil Rights Movement, many scientists who previously studied racial differences moved to other fields. For example, Robert Yerkes, who previously worked on the World War I Army intelligence testing, moved to the field of primatology.

[edit] IQ tests and intelligence research

Early IQ tests of soldiers during World War I have been criticized as measuring acculturation to the USA more than latent intelligence.[37] They included highly context-based questions, such as: "Crisco is a: patent medicine, disinfectant, toothpaste, food product" and "Christy Mathewson is famous as a: writer, artist, baseball player, comedian." Recent immigrants did poorly on such questions, and scores correlated most with the time spent immersed in American culture. Modern studies on race and intelligence overcome many of these concerns, and remain subjects of intense interest because they continue to show differences between races.

Dorothy Roberts writes that the early eugenics movement in the US was strongly tied to older scientific racism used to justify slavery. Roberts writes that the development of eugenic theory paralleled the acceptance of intelligence as the primary indicator of human value. Eugenicists claimed IQ tests could quantify innate human ability in a single measurement, despite the objections of the tests' creator, Alfred Binet.[38]

Until the 1920s such work was regarded as science and faced little criticism. But soon, cultural anthropologist Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict began to note methodological errors and claim politics and ideology biased the work's conclusions. Through the 1920s and 1930s, the Boasian school of cultural anthropology slowly replaced physical anthropology in a bitter institutional battle, though the Boasians were later defeated.

Many geneticists and anthropologists, such as Julian Huxley and Alfred C. Haddon, denounced Nazi views on race and the studies purported to support them. Some works were even made into anti-racist propaganda and distributed as pamphlets. Many began to specifically identify Nazi Germany with racist attitudes previously accepted by scientists in Western Allied nations. After the war, the association with Nazism led to widespread denunciation of scientific research into racial differences.

International bodies such as UNESCO attempted to draft resolutions that would summarize the state of scientific knowledge about race and issued calls for the resolution of racial conflicts. In its 1950 The Race Question, UNESCO declared that "A race, from the biological standpoint, may therefore be defined as one of the group of populations constituting the species Homo sapiens", which were broadly defined as the Mongoloid, Negroid, and the Caucasoid "divisions" but stated that "It is now generally recognized that intelligence tests do not in themselves enable us to differentiate safely between what is due to innate capacity and what is the result of environmental influences, training and education."[1] To this day, the statement is controversial among some scientists who disagreed with its accuracy (such as R. A. Fisher), or its purpose (as a political declaration of scientific consensus). The statement also conflicts with the views that deny the reality of race.

In 1978, the UNESCO Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice proclaimed no race was superior to any other, but, in contrast to the 1950 statement, relied more on "moral and ethical principles of humanity" rather than science.[39] The corresponding 2001 statement by UNESCO, Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity does not mention race at all, and does not justify its views on cultural diversity with science.[40] Views, or at least the language, of racial discourse, have clearly evolved over the half-century.

The issue has remained controversial. In 2007, James Watson, famed pioneer of DNA, was criticized after being quoted as saying that black people (notably Africans) were less intelligent than white people (notably Westerners).[41]

[edit] Contemporary usage

Today, "scientific racism" refers to politically motivated research aiming to scientifically justify racist ideology. Researchers accused of scientific racism often claim that their work is objective, and that their critics are motivated by political correctness or censorship.

Contemporary researchers who have been described as scientific racists include Arthur Jensen (The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability); J. Philippe Rushton, president of the Pioneer Fund (Race, Evolution, and Behavior); Chris Brand (The g Factor: General Intelligence and Its Implications); Richard Lynn (IQ and the Wealth of Nations); Charles Murray; and Richard Herrnstein (The Bell Curve), among others.[42] The critics of these authors, such as Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, and others write that their works are motivated by racist assumptions and are not supported by the available evidence.

Some publications, such as the Mankind Quarterly, have been accused of systematically publishing racist research. The Mankind Quarterly is an anthropology journal that contains articles on human evolution, intelligence, ethnography, language, mythology, archaeology, and race. The journal publishes work they feel might otherwise be ignored, due to its controversial nature.[43]

In the New York Review of Books, Charles Lane characterized The Bell Curve's sources as "tainted", noting seventeen researchers cited in the book who had contributed articles to the Mankind Quarterly, of whom ten had been editors. He describes the Mankind Quarterly as "a notorious journal of 'racial history' founded, and funded, by men who believe in the genetic superiority of the white race".[44]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "The myth 'race' has created an enormous amount of human and social damage. In recent years it has taken a heavy toll in human lives and caused untold suffering." UNESCO, The Race Question, p. 8
  2. ^ a b Higgins, 1994
  3. ^ *Tucker, William. 2002. The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press; *Poliakov, Leon. 1974. Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe. New York, NY: Basic Books;* Biddiss, Michael D. 1970. Father of Racist Ideology: The Social and Political Thought of Count Gobineau. New York: Weybright and Talley
  4. ^ (Tucker 1994)
  5. ^ *Tucker 1994; *Mintz, Frank P. 1985. The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood.)
  6. ^ *Kühl, Stefan. 1994. The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. New York, NY: Oxford University Press;* Tucker 1994)
  7. ^ Princeton University Press, 2006
  8. ^ Raphaël Lagier, Les races humaines selon Kant, PUF, 2004. ISBN 9782130546573 (French)
  9. ^ Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity, p. 356
  10. ^ Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity, p. 83
  11. ^ Linnaeus, Carl. Systema Naturae (1767), p. 29
  12. ^ a b c d Price, R.G. (June 24, 2006). "The Mis-portrayal of Darwin as a Racist". Retrieved on 2008-01-06. 
  13. ^ "It may be doubted whether any character can be named which is distinctive of a race and is constant... they graduate into each other, and.. it is hardly possible to discover clear distinctive characters between them... As it is improbable that the numerous and unimportant points of resemblance between the several races of man in bodily structure and mental faculties (I do not here refer to similar customs) should all have been independently acquired, they must have been inherited from progenitors who had these same characters.", Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man p225 onwards,
  14. ^ "Quote Mine Project: Assorted Quotes". Talk Origins. Retrieved on 2007-12-29. 
  15. ^ Friedrich Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of History, 1828–1830, Chapter IV, Natural Conditions—The Geographical Foundings of Universal History; 1, General Definitions; A. Natural Conditioning, §5.
  16. ^ Hegel, ibid., Chapter V
  17. ^ Hegel, ibid., IV, 2, The New World, 4 (1 is the Introduction) "North America and its Destiny," excipit
  18. ^ Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena: Short Philosophical Essays, Volume II, Section 92
  19. ^ See Pierre-André Taguieff, La couleur et le sang — Doctrines racistes à la française ("Colour and Blood — Racist doctrines à la française"), Paris, Mille et une nuits, 2002, 203 pages, and La Force du préjugé — Essai sur le racisme et ses doubles, Tel Gallimard, La Découverte, 1987, 644 pages
  20. ^ a b John M. Efron (History and Jewish Studies, Indiana University), Defenders of the Race: Jewish Doctors and Race Science in Fin-De-Siecle Europe, Yale University Press, 1995, ISBN 978-0300054408
  21. ^ a b Richard Bodek. "Review of John M. Efron, Defenders of the Race: Jewish Doctors & Race Science in Fin-de-Siècle Europe", H-SAE, H-Net Reviews, May, 1996 (English)
  22. ^ Matthew Hoffman, From Pintele Yid to Racenjude: Chaim Zhitlovsky and racial conceptions of Jewishness in Jewish History, Vol. 19, n°1 / January 2005
  23. ^ Kuhl, 1994.
  24. ^ **"Le retour des zoos humains (par Pascal Blanchard et Olivier Barlet)". Africacultures. October 28, 2005. ;**"From human zoos to colonial apotheoses: the era of exhibiting the Other by Pascal Blanchard, Nicolas Bancel and Sandrine Lemaire (English version)". Africacultures. October 28, 2005. ;**Black Deutschland, von Oliver Hardt
  25. ^ Alexander Thomas and Samuell Sillen (1972). Racism and Psychiatry. New York: Carol Publishing Group.
  26. ^ Samual A. Cartwright, "Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race", DeBow's Review—Southern and Western States, Volume XI, New Orleans, 1851
  27. ^ a b c Scientific Racism in Modern South Africa By Saul Dubow. 1995. ISBN 052147907X
  28. ^ a b c d The Silent War: Imperialism and the Changing Perception of Race By Frank Füredi. Pages 66–67. ISBN 0813526124
  29. ^ a b The American Century: Consensus and Coercion in the Projection of American Power By David Slater and Peter James Taylor. Page 290. ISBN 0631212221 1999
  30. ^ Racially segregated school libraries in KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa by Jennifer Verbeek. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, Vol. 18, No. 1, 23–46 (1986)
  31. ^ Haunted by Empire: Geographies of Intimacy in North American History By Ann Laura Stoler. Page 66. ISBN 082233724X
  32. ^ a b Race, Law, and Culture: Reflections on Brown v. Board of Education By Austin Sarat. Page 55 and 59. 1997. ISBN 0195106229
  33. ^ "'Scientific’ Racism Again?': Reginald Gates, the Mankind Quarterly and the Question of 'Race' in Science after the Second World War," Journal of American Studies (2007), 41: 253–278 Cambridge University Press by Gavin Schaffer
  34. ^ Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case Against Brown v. Board of Education. By John P. Jackson. ISBN 0814742718 Page 148
  35. ^ E.g., Arvidsson, Stefan (2006), Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science, translated by Sonia Wichmann, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
  36. ^ The statistics used in the study and the excerpt from the Playboy article were used as an example of a "statistical fallacy" in the book Flaws and Fallacies in Statistical Thinking by Stephen K. Campbell.
  37. ^ Gould, Mismeasure of Man, p. 222-252.
  38. ^ Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts. Page 63. December 1998 ISBN 0679758690
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^ Fury at DNA pioneer's theory: Africans are less intelligent than Westerners — The Independent
  42. ^ Critical Social Issues in American Education By H. Svi Shapiro and David E. Purpel. page 228. 2005. ISBN 080584452X
  43. ^
  44. ^ Weyher, Harry F. (February 2 1995). "'The Bell Curve' and Its Sources". The New York Review of Books 42 (2). Retrieved on 2008-01-06. 
  45. ^ "American Renaissance". Retrieved on 2008-03-03.  "Race and racial conflict are at the heart of the most serious challenges the Western World faces in the 21st century."

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] External links

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