Originally posted by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights on October 22, 2023 16:32
Over the last 100 or so years, the United States and many other countries around the world have come a long way in terms of erasing pseudo-scientific ideas and influences from their laws and governments. However, these ideas still persist in many ways, even though they might not be terribly obvious on the surface of a country. While they were in use, pseudo-scientific ideas about race bled into American society and affected many significant events of American history. Because of this, these ideas are now a part of American history and still have a prevalent effect on the lives of millions around the country today. Although the racist policies of the past are no longer in place officially, there are many who choose to act as though they still are, perpetuating racist ideas and racist actions into the present day and into the foreseeable future. In addition to this, the widespread use of the internet gives people who believe in racist ideas a platform to spread their ideas and misinformation to millions of people who otherwise would have been unaffected by them, and there is next to no way to stop them from doing so because of the very limited amount of restrictions there are to posting things on the internet and the outrage that would occur if such restrictions were to be put in place. The only way to counter the spread of these ideas across the internet is to oppose them with posts of antiracist topics and to spread antiracist ideas more quickly and widely than racist ideas can be spread.
Racist ideas can also have been founded in the past and then carried into the present just because they never died out. An example of this is that during the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, there was a stereotype that Chinese people were very hardworking and were willing to work for a much smaller salary than your average American worker, because people were afraid of losing their jobs to Chinese immigrants. This stereotype is still seen and referenced today, and you can even see and hear many jokes about it, leading to people being desensitized to these stereotypes and allowing them to create even deeper roots in American society. Even though the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed 80 years ago, stereotypes still exist from that era today, showing how even after they are no longer relevant to the inner workings of society and government, racist ideologies will persist in other forms.
Pseudo-scientific ideas about race are very useful to people who are looking to spread hate in society. They give them an easy way to justify racist ideas to themselves and others, and convince people using false science that people of other races are inferior to them. This has been true for a long time, and was even the reason that pseudo-scientific ideas began to be used by European and American powers in the first place. If a country can justify its conquest and mistreatment of the people of another country using “scientific” methods, people will accept it much more easily than if they just said that they were abusing another group of people because they wanted to. It creates a sort of “us” vs. “them” idea in society if people feel like foreigners are fundamentally different from them and therefore deserve to be subservient to their country, making people believe in their country’s terrible actions much more easily.
Overall, pseudo-scientific ideas about race are certainly still an infectious part of today’s society because certain groups are aware that by perpetuating these ideas, they are put at an advantage and that is an advantage that they don’t want to lose. As long as we continue to give these groups privilege and advantage because of things they cannot control, pseudo-scientific ideas won’t go away.
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I love how you emphasize the current pervasive ideas that spawned from these pseudo-scientific ideas. We mustn't fall into the trap that forces us to think that these ideas were only used in the 19th and 20th century because we can see them right now. We can see them in the school system, the work system, police brutality, and more.