Measuring Prejudice: Race Sciences of the 18-19th Centuries


     For the literate and, thus, the superior of the Western world, Europeans thought what they knew was fact. Sometimes what they knew was merely based on the writings and images imagined from the experiences of those who have actually seen the rest of the world. There was no need to prove the facts they claimed because the simple statement of these facts was enough. During the Age of Exploration, more images were shared of all the different phenotypic diversity of the people of the world. There was no real importance on the truth of the characteristics of someone of a different ethnic origin than those of the civilized European continent, just as long as the characterizations of these “others” were represented as factual evidence of science.
     Phrenology is the analyzing of the variance in the shapes and sizes of the skull of different races. Phrenology is craniology taken one step further to use the measurements found as implications on the personal character and mental abilities of a human being. These “scientific” approaches taken in the Enlightenment era by the ambitions of the explorative world, make the measurements of a mouth, chin, nose and forehead have a more social and outward effect than they may have as simple findings for white scientists. After these methods, society gets to act like their prejudice is backed by research.

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