the myth of race: the troubling persistence of an unscientific idea by robert wald sussman
this is something that troubles me about malaysia - of how racist people in this country can be. the book discussed the origins of racist ideas in the western world, starting from spanish inquisition up present times. it is interesting that the book traces the intellectual development of racist ideas and how it was sustained by rich people who does not want their position threatened by equality or democracy (which is the case in the US), obviously colonial powers who thrives on telling local populations that they are inferior and no good because of their skin colour, culminating with the infamous nazis who systematically poisoned millions of people in their efforts to breed the best humans from the best genes (eugenics).
elaborating on the two major racist hypotheses - that of the pre-adamite and monogenism - which had an unusual longevity until it was countered by the concept of culture introduced by franz boas, worth iterating here...
focusing only those aspects of the change having specifically to do with the culture idea, one might say that it involved the rejection of simplistic models of biological and racial determinism, the rejection of ethnocentric standards of cultural evaluation, and a new appreciation of the role of unconscious social processes in the determination of human behavior. it is implied a conception of a man not as a rational so much as a rationalizing being...boas did not...offer a definition of anthropological "culture". but what he did do was to create an important portion of the content in which the word acquired its characteristics meaning...by changing the relation of "culture" to man's evolutionary development, to the burden of tradition, and to the processes of human reason, transformed it into a tool quite different from what it had been before. in the process he helped to transform both anthropology and the anthropologist's world.
the truth of the matter is - there is no race. humans come from the same gene pool, and are of the same species, the persistent hatred for other skin colours is a man made invention useful for people who benefits from the oppression of others.
we should be asking ourselves who benefits from pitting different ethnic groups against each other.
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