Scientific Racism

Scientific racism is a term used by critics to describe the use of pseudoscientific techniques and hypotheses to sanction the belief in racism, racial inferiority, or racial superiority. Since the gravamen of the criticism is that these techniques are in fact unscientific, this usage is at odds with the normal meaning of the first term.

According to the United Nations convention, superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere.

As a term, scientific racism denotes the contemporary and historical theories that employ anthropology (notably physical anthropology), anthropometry, craniometry, and other disciplines, in fabricating anthropologic typologies supporting the classification of human populations into physically discrete human races that are claimed to be superior or inferior, specifically in a historical context of ca. 1880 to 1930. Scientific racism was thus most common during the New Imperialism period (c. 1880s–1914), in the second half of the 19th century, and used in justifying White European imperialism.

After the end of the Second World War (1939–45) and the occurrence of the Holocaust, scientific racism in theory and action was formally denounced, especially in UNESCO's antiracist statement "The Race Question" (1950): "The biological fact of race and the myth of ‘race’ should be distinguished. For all practical social purposes ‘race’ is not so much a biological phenomenon as a social myth. The myth of 'race' has created an enormous amount of human and social damage. In recent years, it has taken a heavy toll in human lives, and caused untold suffering." However, the statement acknowledged that different human races exist. Beginning in the later 20th century, scientific racism has been criticized as obsolete, and as historically used to support or validate racist world-views, based upon belief in the existence and significance of racial categories and a hierarchy of superior and inferior races.

The term "scientific racism" is pejorative as applied to contemporary theories, such as in The Bell Curve (1994), which investigated racial differences in IQ, concluding that genetics explained at least part of the IQ differences between races. Critics argue that such works are motivated by racist presumptions unsupported by available evidence. Publications such as the Mankind Quarterly, founded as an explicitly "race-conscious" publication, have been accused of scientific racism for publishing articles on controversial interpretations of human evolution, intelligence, ethnography, language, mythology, archaeology, and race subjects. The pejorative label, "scientific racism", criticizes studies claiming to establish a connection between, for example, race and intelligence, and argues that this promotes the idea of "superior" and "inferior" human races. Recent authors consider their work to be scientific and dispute use of the term "racism"; they may prefer terms such as "race realism" or "racialism".

Read more about Scientific Racism:  Origins of Scientific Racism, Racial Theories in Physical Anthropology, 1850-1918, Interbellum To World War II, After 1945, Views of Hereditarian Race Researchers

Famous quotes containing the words scientific and/or racism:

    It’s an old trick now, God knows, but it works every time. At the very moment women start to expand their place in the world, scientific studies deliver compelling reasons for them to stay home.
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    Few white citizens are acquainted with blacks other than those projected by the media and the so—called educational system, which is nothing more than a system of rewards and punishments based upon one’s ability to pledge loyalty oaths to Anglo culture. The media and the “educational system” are the prime sources of racism in the United States.
    Ishmael Reed (b. 1938)