The Idea of Race

The Idea of Race - Creating Races Modern scientists...

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Creating Races Modern scientists unanimously agree that there is not enough genetic difference between different ethnicities to categorize humans into different “races.” However, this was not always the case. In the 19 th century scientists used any means necessary to not only prove that there were different races, but also most importantly to put them in a hierarchy based on intelligence, with the Anglo-Saxon male at the top. In Measuring Heads , Stephen Jay Gould exposes the biased practices of 19 th century science, namely in the field of craniology. He argues that the scientists were using prior prejudices of ethnicity, gender and social class not factual and unbiased measurements to achieve the conclusion that white eminent males were intellectually superior. The popular practice of craniology, the measuring of the skull, started with the assumption that skull and brain size correlated with intelligence, and a larger skull or brain was a sign of intellect. With this in mind, scientists meticulously measured numerous amounts of skulls and the result was always that white males were most intelligent; if not, the particular data used was deemed unreliable. The truth was that the scientists already had already decided which ethnicity was most intelligent and any means it took to get that result were used, including disproportional samples and their own “creative interpretation” (Gould 106). According to Gould their data was ultimately worthless because “prejudices led through
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course CAT 1 taught by Professor Carlisle during the Fall '06 term at UCSD.

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The Idea of Race - Creating Races Modern scientists...

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