Week 2 Reflection Post

The origin of race is not easily explained. It involves looking at when the concept of race was first developed. In lecture, I learned that the concept of race and differences between people was a way to exploit people and continue the patterns of inferiority and superiority. I learned that racialization was first seen with Jews in the fifteen century. I found this to be rather peculiar since Jews are identified through their practice of religion, not their race. The Alhambra Decree was an edict ordering the expulsion of Jews, in other words, obligating people to prove the “purity” of their non-Jewish blood. This is comparable to racial discrimination because it radicalizes differences in religion creating an unchangeable divide between people. Unlike the changing one would have with social or economic class, which is merit based, one cannot simply change their ‘race.’ The concept of race developed in the belief that races are inherently different.

As our weekly blog reflection, we were asked if “ Modern biological science and the concept of race race grew up hand-in-hand,” and asked if we agreed. I think they grew up hand-in-hand if we define “the concept of race,” as a means to create a superiority complex. If that is the case, then this is exactly how I would describe how the concept of race developed,especially after what was presented in our lecture slides and I believe many scholars would agree. This is most evident when polygenism first emerged and Samuel Morton came out with his findings about the brain capacities among different races. What he failed to do was to make sure what he was measuring was consistent and accurate. In the video he described Africans and Aboringes as having the smallest brain capacity and dubbing them as less intelligent. He didn’t know that the largeness of brain capacity isn’t correlated with intelligence. He also measured women and children’s skulls for some races while using men’s skull for others, which would leave him with an invalid conclusion. Nott’s “Types of Mankind” followed after this release which also helped in the development of the concept of race and modern biological science. Science defined race as something that one could not change and one could only be granted the rights that corresponded to his or her race. 

2 thoughts on “Week 2 Reflection Post

  1. Hello. Your post has really caused me to rethink what my answer was on if I agree with the statement, “Modern biological science and the concept of race grew up hand-in-hand.”. When reading your post I find myself wondering about how you are defining what modern biological science is. I took it to mean the quest to seek agreement from biological science that would prove or disprove the concept of race. As of right now there is no biological proof that there are different races within the human species. The science does not confirm a biological basis for physical traits that would define one “race” versus another.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I was a bit confused by the question myself. I thought it was asking if biological science and the concept of race grew hand in hand and I believe it did. Whether I agree that the science was correct or if its justifiable way of viewing race is a different question.

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