Maria Braganini – Week 2 Reflection

For  my reflection post this week I’ve chosen to answer the question — What are the distinguishing features of racism?

I found very interesting in the lectures discussing race, that Spanish officials passed blood purity laws to divide ancestors of Jewish decent after the in the inquisition. I believe this piece of history tells a lot about the history and structure  racism holds. I also discovered that in the second half of the 19th century, Darwinism, the decline of the Christian belief, and growing immigration were all perceived by many white Westerners as a threat to their cultural control. European and American scientists and philosophers devised a false racial “science” to “prove” the supremacy of non-Jewish whites. While the Nazi annihilation of Jews discredited most of these supposedly scientific efforts to elevate one race over another, small numbers of scientists and social scientists have continued throughout the 20th century to argue the inborn shortcomings of certain races, especially Blacks. At the same time, some public figures in the Black community have championed the supremacy of their own race and the inferiority of whites – using nearly the identical language of white racists.

I found it extremely interesting that most racism began with a religion — Judaism. In contrast, in today’s society, Judaism and race don’t go hand-in-hand. Any race has the freedom of religion and the power to convert into any religion they see fit, regardless of their skin color. After making such observations in world history, I believe that the main distinguishing feature of racism is race and religion.


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