The legacy of race in the United States is a permanent reality in the minds of Americans, engraved in the fabric of the culture. The ideology of race superiority was present in America as early as the 14th century, manifested first by the murder and torture of Aboriginals in South America, Native populations in the north, and later the enslavement of Africans. The Declaration of Independence codified the notionof a superior European culture, thereby creating a color cast system based on dichotomous racialized social system that justified colorism, legalized racism, and codified black codes. These codes were adopted by major institutions and shaped the beliefs, attitudes, and social behaviors of all Americans. The Age of Enlightenment also contributed to this process through pseudosciencethat legitimatize ideas of race superiority and those practices that came along with it. During this period, pseudoscientists adopted a deterministic approach, inappropriately designing experiments to support the idea of race as a biological reality. These studies relied heavily on the evaluation of differences in morphological traits such as color, skeletal structure, and geographical distributions of populations in relationships to apes, gorillas, and monkeys. Embedded in this pseudoscience was the idea that non-whites were animals, whereas whites were civilized non-animals. These ideas lead to social polices, laws, and educational curricula that supported mistreatment of nonwhites forever changing the perceptions of race globally.
Voices of Fire