Four times pseudoscientific concepts were invented to uphold white supremacy

Nii Ntreh Feb 23, 2021 at 12:00pm

February 23, 2021 at 12:00 pm | History, Opinions & Features

Nii Ntreh

Nii Ntreh | Associate Editor

February 23, 2021 at 12:00 pm | History, Opinions & Features

A drawing by the 18th century American natural historian Samuel George Morton, who although was a respected scientist, perpetuated the pseudoscience of phrenology. Photo Credit: Penn Museum

“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”- Karl Marx (Theses on Feuerbach)

It does appear a bit out of place to start a recollection of the travesties of scientific racism by referring to another memorable declaration by a thinker who was not occupied by the tensions of racial identity and race generally, even if he wrote On The Jewish Question.

But Marx provided normative support to progressive learning, the attitude that attacked the heartbeat of the scientific racism of his time, and the times before and after. If traditionally accepted science itself was to face philosophical rigor and found wanting, there was bound to be what Thomas Kuhn called a paradigm shift.

Paradigm shifts were automatically world-changing events because as our minds are reformed, one would expect so would our ways and perceptions of the natural world, including of ourselves. Today, we refer to scientific racism as pseudoscience because thinkers did not entertain the temptation to interpret the world according to the knowledge inherited but rather challenge and change the world based on legitimately contradicting information.

To this end, the question remains – were these bits of knowledge unscientific because they did not appeal to the scientific method? Or were they unscientific because they were by and large, motivated reasoning of white people seeking justification for their sense of superiority? These two questions are different and to explain the difference would require much longer and deliberate explanations.

It does beat the mind a little that the era of scientific racism is the same one we refer to as the European age of enlightenment. The lesson here is quite loud as all of what we are about to cite was scaringly done in good faith.

As follows are four results of an era when science was also used to support the supremacy of Caucasians::

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