Week 2 Analytical Post

My understanding of racialization is that it is a way for those in power – historically whites – to categorize those deemed inferior as a certain race, when those individuals may not have identified in such a way independently. With this process also comes certain traits or beliefs being ascribed to those individuals, which they may not actually exemplify or believe. I think one of the most prominent examples of racialization in our society today, both through media coverage and through current events, has been with Muslims. Because of the radical views and actions of groups like ISIS, many people in our society fear and even loathe Muslims altogether. In reality, Islam is first and foremost a religion of peace; because a small portion of Muslims have chosen to participate in terrorist attacks in what they claim to be the name of Islam, a lot of people think Islam is a religion rooted in violence and so its followers must be threats to us. This is, of course, and unfair blanket statement over an extremely large group of people that has a very small percentage of those who wish to do harm.

The Morton/Gould controversy has quite a simple explanation. Samuel Morton, a physician in the early nineteenth century, did a study on skull size of the different races that were recognized at the time: caucasians, Mongolians, Ethiopians, Malays, and Americans. He collected skulls from each of these groups and measured their size, as he believed that brain size was directly correlated to intelligence and he wanted scientific data of which race was most intelligent. His results showed that caucasians had the largest average skull size. Although he made several mistakes in analyzing his data, this research confirmed for him and many others that whites were the superior race. About a century later, Gould published an article accusing Morton of knowingly skewing his data to get the results he was looking for. This didn’t garner the response Gould was looking for, however. He conducted his own study of skull size among Native American populations and claimed that Morton’s data was inaccurate, but many people accused Gould of fudging his data in order to support his own bias against Morton.

I don’t think Gould’s inaccuracies lend credibility to Morton, but I don’t think his research served the intended purpose of discrediting Morton either.


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