This “science” was part of the justification used to denigrate people of color and justify the colonialism, land theft, and slavery that was flourishing in this period of expanding capital.
Understand: race was created. There is no such thing as race, scientifically. Genetically speaking, an Iniut person may have more genes in common with a Bushman from southern Africa than with an American Indian or Sami person.
The definition of race that is often used in anti-racism organizing is this:
Race is a specious classification of human beings created at a certain point in history by Europeans who came to be called white which assigns human worth and social status using “white” as the model of humanity and the height of human achievement for the purpose of establishing and maintaining privilege and power.
Note: the word “specious” means “false but appearing to be true.
This does not mean that race is not a social reality. It is a powerful idea that has been ingrained in us for 300-400 years, and it doesn’t just disappear because it’s based on a lie. Race has powerful and deadly consequences in the real world.
Everyone raised in this culture is exposed to race prejudice from a young age. It is practically impossible to not assimilate some of the racist stereotypes played out in this culture – an issue that plays out in many of us that is called internalized racism. At some level or another, all of us have internalized the lessons of race prejudice. Only by looking at these prejudices head on, analyzing what is behind them, addressing the role of power and hierarchy implicit in the race system, and working to dismantle this system at both personal and societal levels can we move forward.