Racism is a controversial topic with several distinguishing features. Some of these features include but are not limited to: the color of a person’s skin, someone’s race or ethnicity, superiority, inferiority, and class. Together these factors influence and discriminate one race or group of people as a means to dominate or be seen as greater than another race and/or group of people. It is unclear when and where racism first began; however according to lecture and readings, Jews are considered to be one of the first groups of people that experienced racism first hand. As early as the thirteenth and fourteenth century, Jews were discriminated against when associated with the devil and witchcraft. Later in the sixteenth century, Jews were discriminated against once more for converting to Christianity. In this example we see that Jews experienced racism based off of their religion. They were faced with several exclusions in an effort to attest the purity of their identification against the decree. This goes to show that racism is not only subject to the color of your skin but to other social characteristics as well.
We then see what is arguably the most known form of racism which was Europeans enslaving Africans for an extensive amount of time. This enslavement was solely based upon the pigmentation of one’s skin. Contributing to this, laws were created to further exclude and segregate black people from interacting with whites. The connection between race and the European Enlightenment shifts the focus of racism from a religious standpoint to humans being subcategorized into different classes.
I disagree with the statement “Modern biological science and the concept of race grew up hand-in-hand.” As mentioned before, there is no clear beginning to racism or the concept of differentiating race. However, its first known experience came about several years before the concept of modern biological science became popular. Therefore, I consider the concept of race as influencing modern biological science as opposed to growing hand-in-hand. I do however consider both concepts as relating to one another. Both place one group as being dominant and the other as inferior. We see this demonstrated in the material presented on Morton’s research to prove inherited intelligence and class and it’s differences when compared to Caucasians.