Uploaded by Abdul Muezz Ejaz

Modernity Assignment 1

Ideology is the cultural binding of a beliefs (Blaut, 1992). These beliefs have a huge impact on our
social life just as much as it did hundreds of years ago. When a society is formed on the ideas of
inequality, progress is hindered. Today, there is just as much racism as before but there are very
few racists. The reason, among many, is that prejudice reduction efforts targeted solely toward
explicit prejudice attitudes may not address implicit dimensions of prejudice. (Burkard, Medler, &
Boticki, 2001, p. 478)
Understanding the multidimensional nature of prejudice and racism and its implications with the
idea of progress becomes quite simple once it is related to progress and colonialism. The reason is
that, by definition, the expansion of the European culture is progress.
In his article, ‘Race and the Ideology of Race”, Manning Nash lists down the racial ideology in
general terms. According to him, racial ideology
1) provides a moral rationale for systemic disprivilege.
2) allows the members of the dominant group to reconcile their values with their activities.
3) aims to discourage the subordinate group from making claims on the society.
4) rallies the adherents to political action in a “just” cause.
5) defends the existing division of labor as eternal. (Nash, 1962, p.285-288)
The above-mentioned points make way more sense once racism and its origin are studied. Racism
has been supported by various theories in the past and a historical sequence can be noticed that
justified it. Each of these theories is consistent with the psychological and conceptual thinking of
that era.
It is very interesting how these theories have changed in last couple of centuries. In his book,
“Exterminate all the Brutes” (Lindqvist, n.d.), Sven Lindqvist explains it perfectly by giving the
audience a periodic account of how these theories and ideologies changed and how these ideas
were introduced to rationalize the European expansion into Asia and Africa. In the start, he
mentions J. C. Prichard according to whom “the savage races” could not be saved. This was the
start of the 19th century and as Lindqvist named his chapter, it was “the birth of racism”. In 1838,
Herman Merivale, very conveniently, in a lecture on “Colonization and Colonies” mentioned that
“the white is destined to extirpate the savage”.
This led to a new idea called exceptionalism that is the belief that the Europe is unique
technologically, socially and morally and is not as limited as other cultures. This ideology led to
the concept of expansionism which justified and rationalized European expansion and colonization
regardless of their destructive nature.
From the basic reasoning that the extermination of the brutes is supposed to happen, the next era
changed drastically. Science played a very important role in the next stage of development for
racism. Robert Knox, in his book “The Races of Man: A Fragment”, he used “scientific” methods
to prove that “the texture of the brain is generally darker and the white part more strongly fibrous”.
Just by this anatomical exam of a single black person, Knox makes multiple statements on the
inevitable destruction of the darker races because of their inferiority.
The book “On the origin of species” was published in 1859 and was arguably the defining moment
for the ideology of progress and racism. In this book, Darwin mentions the “savage races” and
how the modern human beings have evolved from them. Other authors like Alfred R. Wallace
called them “the lower and more depraved races”. This left the audience on their own to imagine
what it meant, and they certainly did so. Many people started considering that every race was at a
lower level both intellectually and physically. This was the point where science, in a very
controversial way, started proving that the only way forward is to progress and evolve into the
better white races and that darker races were doomed to extinction because they were not fit enough
to survive.
These racist views were only common when colonialism was happening. The ideology of progress
was used to justify the discovery and the barbaric cruelty towards the native Americans. The same
ideology (with a few alterations) was used to rationalize the colonialist activities of the Europeans
that went on for more than a quarter of a century. The kind of progress was, however, different
from time to time. For example, Naval technological progress was a major reason behind the
colonization done by the Europeans. Christian
Interestingly enough, these ideas of progress and their relationship with racism died down after
colonialism ended by the end of the 20th century. That does not mean that racism vanished
completely one day. It did not and it is still here, but it has changed drastically. It will continue to
change as societies commit to the belief of equality and freedom.
An image has been attached with the submission. The image shows how Darwin’s theory of
evolution and Wallace’s theory of survival of the fittest played a pivotal role in the extermination
of the “lesser races”. (Niggers Are Niggers, 1996)
Burkard, A. W., Medler, B. R., & Boticki, M. A. (2001). Prejudice and Racism: Challenges and
Progress in Measurement. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232584518.
Blaut, J. M. (1992). The Theory Of Cultural Racism. 24(4), 0066-4812, 289-299.
Nash, M. (1962). Race and the Ideology of Race. Current Anthropology, 3(3), 285-288. Retrieved
from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2739580
"Niggers Are Niggers". (1996). The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, (12), 114-115.
Niggers Are Niggers. (1996). [image] Available at: : https://www.jstor.org/stable/2963005
[Accessed 15 Feb. 2019].
Lindqvist, S. (n.d.). Exterminate All the Brutes: One Man’s Odyssey into The Heart of Darkness
& the Origins of European Genocide. pp.121-160.