Johann Friedrich Blumenbach died this month. Well, it was January 22, but in 1840. Why should you care? You should care because he was the first racial profiler. The original name calling, label maker.
"He believed that like skin color, cranial profile, etc., went hand in hand with declarations of group character and aptitude."
Blumenbach, born May 11, 1752 was a German physiologist and anthropologist. His thesis paper written about the difference in people and titled the Natural Varieties of Mankind was considered one of the most influential papers of his time and basically established the way different races are seen in the world today. The separation of the people by race was established in order to institute the separation by social and economic differences.
. It is amazing how the mere words of another person can effect and change the course of history, and the wealth, health and well being of another. Mere words, whether based on truth, personal beliefs or delusion can make or break a world, a nation, a life, mere words. There is nothing in the law of nature that makes one color of person superior to another despite the fact cultural differences, language barrier, and the color of skin all fused together to form a case set against another group of people.
The idea of the Caucasian race to be superior to other races has been spread across the entire world. How people have been accepted and treated within the context of a given society or culture has a direct impact on how they perform in that society. Racial beliefs constitute myths about the diversity in the human species and about the abilities and behavior of people placed into "racial" categories.
The myths combined the perception of behavior and physical features together in the public mind, and blocked the ability to understand behavior is not a genetic determination of a person. Temperaments, dispositions, and personalities, regardless of genetic, are developed by the life we live. Blumenbach's theory was based on his study of 60 human skulls, with these skulls Blumenbach divided humans in to five races, Caucasian (white), Mongolian (yellow), Malayan (brown), Ethiopian (black), and American (red).
He believed that like skin color, cranial profile, etc., went hand in hand with declarations of group character and aptitude. *The "fairness" and relatively high brows of Caucasians were held to be apt physical expressions of a loftier mentality and a more generous spirit. *The epicanthic folds around the eyes of Mongolians and their slightly sallow outer epidermal layer bespoke their supposedly crafty, literal-minded nature
*The dark skin and relatively sloping craniums of Ethiopians were taken as proof of a closer genetic relations to the apes. Despite the fact the skin of chimpanzees and gorillas beneath the hair is whiter than the average Caucasian skin and orangutans and some monkey species have foreheads fully as vertical as the typical Englishman or German.
Blumenbach's analysis sealed the fate of every race other than Caucasian as inferior.
Looking over the list of the awesome people that have made America the fantastic country it is today, it is has been proven time and time again that the 'inferior' label placed on many races is false. Basically what it all boils down to is the fact one set of people decided they were better than another, used the unknown about the Indians and Africans' culture to foster the belief further and spurred the lies and discrimination to justify the psychological, and physical torture aimed at another group of people
Later in life Blumenbach decided to do further anatomical research and come up with the belief that Africans were not inferior to the rest of mankind. Unfortunately these later ideas were far less influential than his earlier assertions with regard to the perceived relative qualities of the different so-called races. It goes to show, once we label or brand something, it is hard to change the conceptual relationship in man's mind. Blumenbach died January 22, 1840. His classification and the scientific concept of human races was widely accepted for about two hundred years, but in the late twentieth century, it came to light that Homo sapiens could not be divided into races or subspecies. After Blumenbach's time, the term Caucasian no longer was associated with peoples from the Caucasus but continued to be used as a racial indicator. Wow, amazing how one person's opinion, a mere word shaped America. We are a nation that thrives on 'mere' words to shape our actions and thoughts...mere can almost be integrated into our name A-mer-i-ca.
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