Race, simple external differences linked to other complex internal differences, has historically created issues in American society. “Race and racial inequalities are one of the most vital issues confronting contemporary U.S. society,” explains Sociologist Ronald Takaki. In the past race has had both biological and social implications across the country.
However, the video Race: The Power of Illusion presents significant evidence refuting the biological theories of race. Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory instructor Scott Bronson and several high school students from different ethnicities conducted personal genetic research exploring biological race theory. Students’ typed their blood, compared ...view middle of the document...
At the turn of the 19th century through the white face of prosperity, waves of confidence were growing in the United States that led the country’s emergence as an industrial power.
However, African Americans at the time living under Jim Crow segregation laws suffered poverty, overcrowded housing and had no access to health care resulting in higher mortality rates among the black population. Biological theorist, Frederick L. Hoffman, a Prudential Insurance statistician, believed the cause of these higher rates was that American Negros were naturally inferior and any effort to improve their housing, education and health needs was futile. Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro, published in 1896, Hoffman writes, “Their extinction is inevitable, encoded in their blood.” What Hoffman and other biological theorists of their day did not take into consideration were the ignored insidious effects of poverty and social neglect suffered by African Americans.
These hideous views of biological inferiority led to excuses for social differences in America, and those social differences then became accepted in biology. By the 1920s, strengthening views of inferiority the One Drop policy stated that if a single drop of blood reflected any African ancestry in an individual, white skin or not, identified them as Negro and considered inferior in every way. The effects of this policy, laws against interracial marriages and the Eugenics movement of the day meant to safeguard the purity of Anglo-Saxon bloodlines in the country.
This social movement, professed the goal of improving genetic traits of the American population by means of selective procedures, based on the idea it was possible to discern between superior (Anglo-Saxon) and inferior (Negro) elements of society. These early eugenic proponents laid the groundwork for segregation, sterilization, restrictive marriage, and euthanasia programs, creating one of the greatest horrors in American history.
Directly tied to eugenic policies first developed by American scientists, Nazi propaganda machines predicted an...