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“…I see racism in stores being sold as cream, on television as movies and in church as baptismal name and many other places we all know but refuse to acknowledge. The labours of our heroes past have already gone in vain because our mentality has been colonized…I hope that either the world accepts us or we accept ourselves…”
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
According to Western State centre (2012), during the reformation of the 16th and 17th century,
one of the key questions among religious hierarchy was whether blacks and Indians had souls
and were humans. This was at the time when Europeans were freshly exposed to Africans and
people from North and South America. The question brought a division between the catholic and
the protestant. However, the catholic was the first to come up with an answer. The catholic
agreed that Blacks had souls and therefore it became an offence in most Catholic colonies to kill
a slave without reason, (Western State Centre dismantling racism project 2012). Due to the
importance and necessity of slavery, religious was used to justify slavery and racism as people of
color were classified as pagans and soulless. The conversion of a large number of people of color
to Christianity and the eventual decline in importance and power of religion and religious
leaders, the need arises to employ a new way to promote racism so as to justify slavery. This
eventually led to the employment of biological, zoological geographical and botanical theories to
promote and justify slavery and by implication, racism.
Europe in the 19th century became developed in sciences and social sciences like never before. It was during this period that Darwin (1859) published ―The Origin of Species‖, where he analyzed and explained the evolution process of man (as cited in Western State center dismantling racism project 2012). Although, it is widely believed that Darwin theory itself wasn‘t racial but philosophers and social scientist used it to promote, enhance and justify racism. It was later called Social Darwinism. JC Prichard (1838) during his lecture on the ―Extinction of Human Race‖ was reported to have said the savage race couldn‘t be saved because it was the law of nature for only the fittest to survive (as cited in Western State Center dismantling racism project 2012). His point was made clearer by W. Winwood Reade (1864) and I quote;
“England and France will rule Africa; Africans will dig the ditches and water the desert. It will be hard work and the Africans will probably become extinct. We must learn to look at the result with composure…law of nature that the weak must be devoured by the strong
(Cited in Western State Centre dismantling racism project 2012).
This strongly, but sadly points to how Africans were seen. Africans were dying of diseases, poverty but mostly hardship and hard labor not to mention slavery imposed on them by the white men and all they could do was to justify it by the law of nature (survival of the fittest).
Fredrick Farrar (1866), as cited in Western State Centre dismantling racism project (2012)
during his lecture on ―Aptitude of Race‖, divided race into 3:
1. Savage (All Africans and people of color)
2. Semi-Civilized (Chinese)
3. Civilized (Europe, Aryans, ETC)
When the survival of the fittest theory could not really totally justify racism, it was time to forge another theory. A famous English anatomist, Robert Knox (1850) went way further to prove that people of color were intellectually inferior. It was later discovered that his argument was based on an experiment he conducted on the autopsy of only but one man of color (as cited in Western State Center dismantling reason project 2012). This time, it was based on intelligence. This theory in conjunction with other theories brought about the Eugenics –an effect to breed better humans by encouraging the reproduction of people with good genes and discouraging those with bad genes from reproducing. They were said to fight to keep racial, ethnic and regional groups separated. This was the true story behind the Holocaust perpetrated by Adolf Hitler in Nazis Germany, not to mention the United States which was said to have about 20,000 students focused on the Eugenics in 1928 (western state centre 2012).
When the concept of intellectual inferiority could no longer hold water, a new theory had to be developed. The third world which at first was a harmless term for all the non-aligned (mostly African) countries during the cold war between first world (NATO) led by USA and second world (Warsaw Pact) led by USSR became associated with the (underdeveloped) developing countries of Africa. Third world lost it initial meaning and became synonymous with Africa pointing to the underdevelopment, wars, poverty and crime many believe is an unbeatable part of the black continent. Third world which was Africa, was synonymous with poverty, backwardness crime and war and most countries claimed to be sending huge amounts of money to Africa as aids and over exaggerating and over publicizing wars, crime and poverty in Africa which triggers hatred among the citizens of those countries who believe their government is not doing enough for them but sending it to Africa.
Over the years, mainly the 16th, 17th and 18
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