Race as a Human History Pattern – Essay Sample

There are quite some ancient historical constructs that become a pattern in human history today. Race is one of them. As a matter of fact, race is a categorization of groups of people based on social relations, ancestry or physical traits. It is a false classification with no scientific truth.  It is better termed as a political construction rather than a natural development considering that it was a uniting tool of Europeans to maintain control and dominance over African slaves and Native Americans[1].  So, the sole purpose of the concept of race was to give power to the white people and to justify their dominance over non-white people. As such, people from different geographical regions belonged to various races. Importantly, the whites or Homo Europeus were regarded as superior with gentle manners, and of a fair complexion. On the contrary, the Homo Afer, were humans of black skin, indolent, uncivilized and crafty were inferior. Such differences brought about discrimination of the inferior complexions by the superior gentlemen. In fact, the blacks acted as whites’ slaves. Despite the fact that race has no taxonomic significance, some people still embrace it to exploit and control others. Efforts of eradicating the vice which in modern terms is regarded as being against human dignity, racism is still experienced in some parts of the world. This work, therefore, analyzes the causes and significance of race as a pattern in human history using historical documents.

Racism started with the observable physical differences among people from different places on the planet. The Europeans and white Americans realized that there are creatures that looked like them but their skin color was different. They were too dark to be classified at the same level as themselves. Social scientists and anthropologists as such began finding out the basis for the differences. Unfortunately, the foundations of their arguments were based on linguistic differences, cultural stereotypes, and physiological characteristics[2].

Contrary to the notion that racism is dumb and backward, we still talk about it. In fact, people continue to be racists despite many speeches, campaigns, videos and articles discouraging the vice. Attitudes emanating from views of people around us, fear, ignorance, and lack of self-worth thus desiring to be superior are some of the causes of racism in our modern day. During the 20th century, fascism played a significant role in instilling racist attitudes in the society. The authoritarian doctrine sent the Europeans into believing that they were the supreme and could conquer the world[3].

Initially, racism was justified. As such, there are several justifications of racism. One of them is religion. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were regarded as reformation periods. In the 1500s, race went hand in hand with slavery. During this time, demand for labor in the Americas and Europe was high. This was met through slavery, indentured servitude and waged labor. Europeans were thus exposed to Africans and North and South American indigenous people. The Christian religious group was tasked with establishing whether Indians and blacks were human by virtue of owning souls or not[4]. In response, the Catholic Church admitted that indeed Indians and blacks had souls. That finding saved slaves in Catholic colonies and so they could no longer get killed without valid reason. Elsewhere, people of color were regarded as soulless, pagans and were thus subjected to brutal slavery[5].

Secondly, science justified race. Social scientists and philosophers picked up the Darwinian theory of the origin of species which was not racist in itself. In point of fact, these individuals were highly esteemed thinkers as such their thinking and assertions brought about brutal implications. Their findings placed human beings in three groups; that is, the savage, semi-civilized and the civilized. Notably, the latter were the Europeans, Aryans, and Semitic people. On the other hand, the former were the Chinese and the savage group was made up of Africans and indigenous people. Apparently, the Chinese were people of color but were more civilized than their counterparts. The reason as to why they belonged to the semi-civilized was basically because their society was stuck in development[6].

Thirdly, presumptions in the medical field also exacerbated the situation. In 1850, Robert Knox, a renowned anatomist under the influence of popular prejudices came up with a scientific conviction that all the savage people had little intelligence because they lacked nerve endings and had rough brain texture[7]. The dark individuals’ psychological inferiority is the only reason as to why they were slaves to lighter skinned persons. This and other related studies led to the eugenics movement in the 19th and 20th centuries. Ironically, eugenics was regarded legitimate then. It advocated for immigration restriction, sterilization of genetically unfit individuals, ethnic and racial groups separation and prohibition of interracial marriages. In fact, any of the above was considered an object of scientific concern. This was very unfortunate because eugenics is bad, evil and against human dignity.

The undervalue accorded to the Africans, Negros, Asians, Indians and Latinos from the 16th century to the 20th century in one way or the other lowered the self-esteem of the victims from generation to generation. As a result, they languished in poverty and hardly innovated anything to their names. Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray (1994) came up with The Bell Curve that explains the reason why the cognitive underclass; the people of color faced social inequalities and poverty. The two scholars claimed that all the problems populations of the dark skinned people encountered were intelligence-driven rather than socioeconomic background. This was basically justifying racial inequality[8]. No wonder the Europeans were able to colonize their countries for a long duration before they could discover their abilities to rule themselves. Such assertions have had policy implications in the developed world. For instance in the U.S, during the 1990s, poverty was criminalized. In point of fact, poverty was linked to genetic inferiority. With an increase of anti-racism advocacy, whiteness has become an artificial construct. It has changed with time. Assimilation that aided certain cultural losses has allowed the Italians, Jews and Irish to be termed as white. They thus gain white power and privileges[9].

By the fact that racism is constructed, it has fundamentally affected the world in real ways; racial caste system in the US denied respect and human dignity. Despite the fact that slavery was abolished, it did not end racism. In fact, the manifesto of the current president of US, Donald Trump of deporting non-Americans could be looked at as being ethnocentric. Such ideologies deepen the roots of hatred. As a matter of fact, white supremacy has extended. It is sad that legislators are still passing racially discriminatory laws in the segregation cases in the 21st century. Also, considering the interrelationship of racism and colonization, African countries that were under European domination have inherited ethnic tribal hatred. For instance in Ivory Coast, white foreigners visiting or livings in the country are subjected to frequent violent attacks. Besides, the border lines instituted by colonialists have been the justification for tribal warfare and racist attitudes.

It is undoubted that race is a pattern that has been difficult to erase from the 1500s. Even today, the rich still control the poor who act as their subjects and servants. The effects are paramount. Many tragedies have been perpetuated due to racism. The victims suffer in the hands of a racist. They thus become bitter and violent. Their self-esteem is ruined and destroys communities as divisions are created in the society. Much needs to be done regarding decreasing racial injustice. Improving the way we view each other despite our skin color is a tool enough to discredit racial inequality.






Aquinas, Thomas. The Summa Contra Gentiles. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. New York: Benziger Brothers Inc., 1924.

Li, Dun J. The Civilization of China. Simon & Schuster, 1975.

Mussolini, Benito. The Doctrine of Fascism. Rome: Enciclopedia Italiana, 1932.

Scivias. Patrologia. Translated by Henry A. Myers. Paris: J.P. Migne, 1853.

Smith, Adam. An Onquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations. 8th Edition. San Francisco, 1776.

Thatcher, Oliver, and Edgar McNeal. Unam Sanctam. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905.

[1] Oliver J., Thatcher and Edgar J. McNeal, Unam Sancta,Source book for Medieval History(New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905), pages 280-281.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Benito Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism, (Rome: Enciclopedia Italiana, 1932).

[4] Ibid., 1

[5] Thomas Aquinas, The “Summa Contra Gentiles” translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province (New York: Benziger Brothers, Inc., 1924).

[6] Dun J. Li, The Civilization of China, (Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1975).

[7] Ibid

[8] Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations, (1776), 8th Edition, 96-101.

[9] Scivias in S. Hildegardis Abbatisae Opera Omnia, Patrologia, (Paris: J.P. Migne, 1853), columns 453-457.

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