People of Color in European Art History


  1. megankmakesthings wrote...

    What are your thoughts on determining the authority of sources? Your interest in accessibility seems tied up in the problem of academia having a monopoly on scholarly authority (and I don't mean unbiased). What brought this up was your link to SPP, which publishes "unconventional or controversial research". Its cautious language in stating its mission lent it credibility, but then I wondered if it does peer review, or if that is even a thing outside academia and hoped you could…muse upon that?

    Well. Part of my goal here is to actually demonstrate the ways in which the relative “authority” of sources is socially constructed, in addition to other ways of determining whether or not a source is ‘better’ or ‘worse’.

    A great example of this is a time when someone challenged my use of Stephen Jay Gould as a source. That actually shocked me a bit, because the guy was one of the more decorated interdisciplinary writers in the sciences that I’d come across, in my own studies back in the day, and in other works I’ve read for my own edification on my own time. I always found him inspiring because of his insistence on writing in context, documenting the historiography of scientific racism, and challenging common misconceptions in the popular consciousness about well, a lot of things.

    Back in 2003, I took an interdisciplinary biology+ethics course, which coincided with the completion of the Human Genome Project, and we read a LOT of Stephen Jay Gould. I loved it. It was like, “what even IS biology, how did we get here, and should we even?” After the class, I ended up xeroxing the incredible Sci Fi short story, Congenital Agenesis of Gender Ideation by K. N. Sirsi and Sandra Botkin, and leaving it in my professor’s mailbox (I had recently purchased Starlight 2, and was pretty high on speculative fiction anthologies at the time). 

    I’m telling you this because I wanted to pose the question: is there anything  that exists that we can really say is “outside academia”?

    If it exists, it can be analyzed, it can be written about, and it can be shared. There is a case to be made that they way we construct “peer review” is in and of itself rather biased; it is inarguable that it IS a form of gatekeeping. The way funding for academic AND scientific studies, projects, and published analyses is allocated is how money controls what does and does not get looked at.

    That being said, it really IS important to shove words back into the mouth they came out of, and take a long, hard look at how that fits into the bigger picture. So basically what I’m getting at is that some people will say “this source is no good”, while others will say, “this source is ironclad”, about the same source. What you do is up to you. :)

    And now, you’ve had my musings on this topic!

  2. 9thdegreeburn replied to your post: blue-popsicle asked:Hi, i don’t k…

    Didn’t the Romans prize Germanic people and Slavs more anyway? And not in terms of skin color. They were just more valued as slaves

    Nope.

    What you’re talking about is an idea derived from how the Greeks basically believed that the further away your country (and climate) of origin was from Greece, the more barbaric you were. Then, there were some Greek writers, philosophers, whatever, who adhered to the whole “climate=personality type” school of determinism.

    That’s an interpretation of evidence.

    You can go back to the sources in the OP and see what they’re talking about, basically. It’s just ethnocentrism, but like, cultural, not racial.

    The problem comes in with the Renaissance, and even further into the European Enlightenment, when the train wreck of “revival of Classical” and “a desperate need to justify chattel slavery and colonialism” got warped into the re-interpetation of geographical origin+climate=biological determinism/personality . They were literally mistranslating and extrapolating on documents that were like thousands of years old to try and justify race-based chattel slavery, and putting forth their own “climate” based theories (by Montesquieu and G.W.F. Hegel, notably).

    So, that idea comes more from the 1700s-1800s in Europe than Ancient Greece or Rome. I recommend some of Frank M. Snowden’s scholarship, not on history, but historiography, and his documentation of the translations of documents from the ancient world:

    Modern scholars have at times suggested that the Greeks regarded the Negro’s physical appearance as ugly and that the Greeks saw something comic in many artistic representations of the Negro type. Nothing in Greek literature, however, warrants such an assumption.

    Not only did many racist historians use biased language in their work, but even used racial slurs in place of terms like “Aethiops”, which was a neutral term (meaning “Ethiopian”) used as a synonym for “Black person”. In his conclusion, he places the blame for this projection of modern racist attitudes squarely where they belong: the shoulders of his “fellow” academics:

    Unless other evidence is brought to light, we cannot place the onus of “color-prejudice” on the ancient Greeks, as some scholars have done. The attitude of the ancient Greeks toward the Negro is epitomized, as this paper has shown, by Menander, who insists that it makes no difference whether one is an Ethiopian or a Scythian; natural bent, not race, determines nobility. The evidence of both art and literature seems to indicate that Menander was representing not merely the philosophic hope of an idealist, but that he was reflecting rather an attitude which had its roots deeply imbedded in the social subsoil of contemporary society.

    The idea that “whiter” slaves were “more highly prized” is a kind of last gasp of the dominating racist narratives that continue to be perpetuated in academia. It’s a further bowdlerization of Ancient Greek texts that mention everything on race from aesthetics, to politics, to  early forms of sciences or biology.

  3. thefoolstale wrote...

    Uh... I'd advise you to reread that post, friend. They were agreeing with you and you just kind of tore 'em a new one.

    iammyfather:

    medievalpoc:

    nocbot:

    medievalpoc:

    Just because someone agrees with me doesn’t mean that I agree with them.

    I don’t think it’s really scientific to claim that black people are not in fact people, actually…

    When in fact, part of that posts cites the father of zoological taxonomy, Carl Linneaus, who literally classified various Africans as “nonhuman”.

    Biological disciplines all use this system. In which Khoisan peoples were designated “nonhuman”.

    Which led to Saartje Baartman being displayed like a zoo animal, and Angelo Soliman, a man who spoke seven languages and was called “the Father of Pure Masonic Thought” being posthumously stuffed and displayed as a curio surrounded by bones and dressed in a loincloth.

    Which led to this awful woman following around Khoisan people TODAY with a thermometer, calling them some kind of connection with “our ancestors”, in the NAME OF SCIENCE.

    Acting as if science and racism are some kind of natural enemies, as if one eliminates the other, merely divorces the present from its historical context, and if you hadn’t noticed, is counter to the purpose of this blog.

    And it’s probably worth noting that the takeaway from this (at least, as I’m reading it) isn’t “Science is bad, we should stop doing science ‘cause all of it’s racist!”

    Rather, it’s to recognize that a rather lot of our current body of scientific…stuff (be it knowledge, terminology, models, etc) either itself dates back to or is built on top of the work of people who were kind of super racist.

    It’s the same thing as, like — to this day we still tend to name sciencey stuff in Latin, and it’s because Enlightenment thinkers had a gigantic hard-on for classical antiquity. Sciencey Latin is pretty ubiquitous and is something we generally take for granted, even though it contributes significantly towards making scientific terminology really inaccessible.

    (We can even contrast the fields of chemistry and biology with, say, modern psychology — which is loaded with its own issues too, but isn’t all in Latin because it (by my layperson Wikipedidating) didn’t start being a thing until a century later.*)

    Scientific racism is the same deal: it’s there, but because it’s built into the woodwork it’s easy to gloss over or take for granted if you aren’t looking for it — and correspondingly difficult to extract without upsetting a bunch of people.

    And even though there’s nothing about race in the scientific method itself, when you’re dealing with people it can be hard to dissociate your process from the environment…which gets you a vast array of scientific studies performed mostly on white, upper-middle class college undergrads.

    ….aaaaaand then I try and track down the source that the numbers I remember hearing regarding that came from, and get this paper, which…basically makes the argument that we should think about college undergrads in the same way as we do one of those wacky, isolated tribes of brown people that anthropology gets all of its anecdotes from. 

    Sigh.

    * The Age of Enlightenment was about 1650 - 1750ish [1], while Wilhelm Wundt built his first laboratory in 1879 [2].

    1. yes, absolutely you make a lot of really great points which i have bolded

    and

    2. I really wish people would stop cutting eras into chunks when I’m trying to demonstrate a linear historical narrative that goes from before the period I’m talking about to after the period I’m talking about. Nothing happens in a void.

    Every discipline is built on the foundations of predecessors. My work is based on foundations laid by people who came before me.

    "Science" was not born like Venus from the foam, come adult and fully formed into the world complete with all the ideas we associate with it, like "objectivity" and "rational thought". It was created on purpose by human beings with thoughts, feelings, beliefs, cultures, genders, sexualities, and, eventually, races as we think of them today.

    The past doesn’t just disappear into the ether when people die or ideas are replaced by others. I mean, the entire point of having records of anything humanity has done is so we can look at them now and be influenced by them.

    Choosing how we are influenced by them is a very important part of learning, growing, and becoming a sentient adult and engaging with our environment and society.

    Alchemy was the basis of modern Chemistry, would people that want to clean up science demand that we discard chemical names and symbols since they were used in Astrology and looking for the transforming lead into gold?

    I don’t know, would they?

    The important thing is, that someone actually discusses it at some point.

    If the Alchemical roots of Chemistry results in running around after people and trying to take their temperature and practically calling them the missing link, then perhaps we should discuss it.

    What you’re doing is creating a strawman and stuffing it with Alchemy and people trying to “clean up” the sciences. It’s like you’re holding a telescope that works two ways, but you’ve never bothered looking in the other end.

    On one side, you have a lot of people very invested in the idea that because they’re practicing scientific processes, that makes THEM “neutral observers”. Even if the process is neutral, their observation IS NOT. Biases in scientific processes and reporting of findings is something that must be actively engaged, acknowledged, and discussed at all levels with diverse input in order to be LESS biased.

    ^ You know what proves that fact? Science.

    The other side of the telescope is the people who are affected by those biases. For example, the African-American women who were misdiagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency because the test used was calibrated using samples from White women and their vitamin D levels.

    Whoops!

    If science is about anything, it’s about correcting false information. So don’t try and spread more of it in the name of Chemistry, Alchemy, or any other looming non-issues you’d like to derail with.

  4. lokathor said:

    I’m just glad that physics and computer science are pretty racist free.

    Computer science? Not so much.

    Mathematics either.

    I’m really curious why so many people are so quick to decide their particular discipline is free of racism. Doesn’t that just prevent you from analyzing things and using critical thinking in your discipline to remedy these problems instead of ignoring them?

  5. ☛ Enlightenment Thinkers Invented Anti-Black Racism, FYI

    plures:

    blackraincloud:

    medievalpoc:

    tackedtothewall:

    medievalpoc:

    auroramere said:

    I’ve fallen hard for Sleepy Hollow and the diversity is teaching me so much about my own racism. It’s about time white people got to look at a room with four black characters in it and say, “That’s funny… I’m not there.” Surprise!

    Yes, apparently this is… [tumblr snipped]

    I know a lot of people have been 
    reacting to Sleepy Hollow, but I’m hoping it’s making even more people *think*.

    I think one of the moments which could really be thought provoking if you let it is the “I see you’ve been emancipated” moment. I mean, bully for you Mr. Crane that you were a member of the AntiSlavery society, but that was no guarantee that he was going to treat Lt. Mills like a person (he did, but that’s his magical 21st century adaptability thing. or possible over exposure to certain Enlightenment thinkers).

    Anyway, this show doesn’t always make me think about race, but it certainly has me thinking about teaching historical thinking (and thinking historically) to the public through pop culture.

    "over exposure to certain Enlightenment thinkers"

    Uhhhhh. I hope you mean the opposite of what you said, because The Enlightenment was basically when racism as we know it today was invented.

    Enlightenment thinkers like Immanuel Kant:

    The Negroes of Africa have by nature no feeling that rises above the trifling. Mr. [David] Hume challenges anyone to cite a single example in which a Negro has shown talents, and asserts that among the hundreds of thousands of blacks who are transported elsewhere from their countries, although many of them have even been set free, still not a single one was ever found who presented anything great in art or science or any other praiseworthy quality, even though among the whites some continually rise aloft from the lowest rabble and through superior gifts earn respect in the world. So fundamental is the difference between these two races of man.

    Enlightenment thinker David Hume the “Abolitionist”:

    I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences…. [T]here are NEGROE slaves dispersed all over EUROPE, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; tho’ low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA, indeed, they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but ‘tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.

    Enlightenment thinker John Locke, who is responsible for codifying race-based chattel slavery into the United States Constitution:

    Sir Leslie Stephan charged Locke with personal racism for inserting section CX: “Every freeman of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his negro slaves, of what opinion or religion soever.” There is some evidence to suggest that Locke did play a part in formulating the sections on religion — though it is possible this may have been at the bidding of Lord Ashley. […] David Armitage has shown that Locke was involved over the years in amending the Fundamental Constitutions of the Carolinas right up to the time at which he was writing the Two Treatises of Government, and while many articles of the Constitutions were removed at various times, this was not the case with the clause about negro slavery. Armitage implies that this shows not only that Locke agreed with the clause about negro slavery in the Fundamental Constitutions but that we should interpret the Second Treatise account of slavery as intended to justify the institutions and practices of Afro-American slavery.

    Enlightenment thinker Thomas Jefferson:

    Jefferson also dodged opportunities to undermine slavery or promote racial equality. As a state legislator he blocked consideration of a law that might have eventually ended slavery in the state.

    As president he acquired the Louisiana Territory but did nothing to stop the spread of slavery into that vast “empire of liberty.” Jefferson told his neighbor Edward Coles not to emancipate his own slaves, because free blacks were “pests in society” who were “as incapable as children of taking care of themselves.” And while he wrote a friend that he sold slaves only as punishment or to unite families, he sold at least 85 humans in a 10-year period to raise cash to buy wine, art and other luxury goods.

    Destroying families didn’t bother Jefferson, because he believed blacks lacked basic human emotions. “Their griefs are transient,” he wrote, and their love lacked “a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.”

    Jefferson claimed he had “never seen an elementary trait of painting or sculpture” or poetry among blacks and argued that blacks’ ability to “reason” was “much inferior” to whites’, while “in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” He conceded that blacks were brave, but this was because of “a want of fore-thought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present.”

    So, I can only assume that it’s a LACK of exposure to Enlightenment thinkers that presumably led to our fictional character Ichabod Crane, time traveling Apocalypse-Thwarter, to eschew the violent and virulent racism that was a product of his time.

    CARL LINNAEUS!!!!! CARL LINNAEUS!!!! TAXONOMY AND SCIENCE STUDY OF “NATURE” ALL DEFINED “HUMANITY” AS “EVERYTHING THAT’S NOT NOR HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH BLACK PEOPLE”

    There were definitely good things that came out of the Enlightenment/Age of Reason, but the racism was not one of them. I don’t think it’s really scientific to claim that black people are not in fact people, actually…

    ~K.

    It seems like you’re trying to disagree with something here, but you’re doing a rather bad job of it.

    (Bear with me, because we’re about to get scare-quote happy as heck.)

    Basically what you’re saying here is, because you don’t feel like “science” and “racism” have anything in common, they don’t…because “science” is “good” and “racism” is “bad”.

    You can’t just divorce two concepts because you like one, and don’t like the other…but the problem IS, that when you take one concept (science) without acknowledging its roots and it HISTORY, you’re reinforcing the other (racism).

    For example, take a science like Dermatology. All textbooks in regard to dermatology ONLY portrayed various skin conditions as they appeared on White skin until just a few years ago.

    Have a look at this description for a medical textbook used in Dermatology curricula:

    This fourth edition contains new chapters on racially pigmented skin, dermatology of different age groups and cosmetic dermatology. 

    "Racially pigmented skin".

    Sadly, I don’t even have to do any research to know what effect this kind of bias has on people’s lives; I know from experience. And this is probably the mildest example of racial bias in modern science there is.

    The point here is, no matter what the intent is, the result is the same: sub-par care and misdiagnosis of skin conditions on people of color, because no one thought to make a a textbook that wasn’t racist.

    Just because you don’t think these above quotes from the founders of science, law and philosophy reflect your idea of science, law or philosophy does not negate the fact that the entire foundation of these sciences in “The West” was built on these racist foundations. THAT is FACT.

  6. ☛ Enlightenment Thinkers Invented Anti-Black Racism, FYI

    blackraincloud:

    medievalpoc:

    tackedtothewall:

    medievalpoc:

    auroramere said:

    I’ve fallen hard for Sleepy Hollow and the diversity is teaching me so much about my own racism. It’s about time white people got to look at a room with four black characters in it and say, “That’s funny… I’m not there.” Surprise!

    Yes, apparently this is… [tumblr snipped]

    I know a lot of people have been 
    reacting to Sleepy Hollow, but I’m hoping it’s making even more people *think*.

    I think one of the moments which could really be thought provoking if you let it is the “I see you’ve been emancipated” moment. I mean, bully for you Mr. Crane that you were a member of the AntiSlavery society, but that was no guarantee that he was going to treat Lt. Mills like a person (he did, but that’s his magical 21st century adaptability thing. or possible over exposure to certain Enlightenment thinkers).

    Anyway, this show doesn’t always make me think about race, but it certainly has me thinking about teaching historical thinking (and thinking historically) to the public through pop culture.

    "over exposure to certain Enlightenment thinkers"

    Uhhhhh. I hope you mean the opposite of what you said, because The Enlightenment was basically when racism as we know it today was invented.

    Enlightenment thinkers like Immanuel Kant:

    The Negroes of Africa have by nature no feeling that rises above the trifling. Mr. [David] Hume challenges anyone to cite a single example in which a Negro has shown talents, and asserts that among the hundreds of thousands of blacks who are transported elsewhere from their countries, although many of them have even been set free, still not a single one was ever found who presented anything great in art or science or any other praiseworthy quality, even though among the whites some continually rise aloft from the lowest rabble and through superior gifts earn respect in the world. So fundamental is the difference between these two races of man.

    Enlightenment thinker David Hume the “Abolitionist”:

    I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences…. [T]here are NEGROE slaves dispersed all over EUROPE, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; tho’ low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA, indeed, they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but ‘tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly.

    Enlightenment thinker John Locke, who is responsible for codifying race-based chattel slavery into the United States Constitution:

    Sir Leslie Stephan charged Locke with personal racism for inserting section CX: “Every freeman of Carolina shall have absolute power and authority over his negro slaves, of what opinion or religion soever.” There is some evidence to suggest that Locke did play a part in formulating the sections on religion — though it is possible this may have been at the bidding of Lord Ashley. […] David Armitage has shown that Locke was involved over the years in amending the Fundamental Constitutions of the Carolinas right up to the time at which he was writing the Two Treatises of Government, and while many articles of the Constitutions were removed at various times, this was not the case with the clause about negro slavery. Armitage implies that this shows not only that Locke agreed with the clause about negro slavery in the Fundamental Constitutions but that we should interpret the Second Treatise account of slavery as intended to justify the institutions and practices of Afro-American slavery.

    Enlightenment thinker Thomas Jefferson:

    Jefferson also dodged opportunities to undermine slavery or promote racial equality. As a state legislator he blocked consideration of a law that might have eventually ended slavery in the state.

    As president he acquired the Louisiana Territory but did nothing to stop the spread of slavery into that vast “empire of liberty.” Jefferson told his neighbor Edward Coles not to emancipate his own slaves, because free blacks were “pests in society” who were “as incapable as children of taking care of themselves.” And while he wrote a friend that he sold slaves only as punishment or to unite families, he sold at least 85 humans in a 10-year period to raise cash to buy wine, art and other luxury goods.

    Destroying families didn’t bother Jefferson, because he believed blacks lacked basic human emotions. “Their griefs are transient,” he wrote, and their love lacked “a tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.”

    Jefferson claimed he had “never seen an elementary trait of painting or sculpture” or poetry among blacks and argued that blacks’ ability to “reason” was “much inferior” to whites’, while “in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” He conceded that blacks were brave, but this was because of “a want of fore-thought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present.”

    So, I can only assume that it’s a LACK of exposure to Enlightenment thinkers that presumably led to our fictional character Ichabod Crane, time traveling Apocalypse-Thwarter, to eschew the violent and virulent racism that was a product of his time.

    CARL LINNAEUS!!!!! CARL LINNAEUS!!!! TAXONOMY AND SCIENCE STUDY OF “NATURE” ALL DEFINED “HUMANITY” AS “EVERYTHING THAT’S NOT NOR HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH BLACK PEOPLE”

    Yep. Pretty much all of them. It’s still fairly difficult really see a tangible difference between “science” and “scientific racism”. I do make that claim, and yes I can back it up.

    Lightweight Version

    Hardcore Version

  7. dykewithadick wrote...

    I don't doubt how much of an awful White anthropologist the woman is, but way you interjected "Their way of life is the closest I could find to that of our ancestors!" makes it seem like it's questioning the veracity of that statement. I was under the impression that as the San were one of the first human population groups to diverge and as such, they are the closest reference anyone has to early humans, genetically and culturally. Still seems like the worst time to take temperatures though.

    In order to help you see why everything you just said is really problematic, I’m actually going to quote from someone who reblogged that post:

    millenia716:

    That woman right there is part of the reason I dropped my anthropology major. The more I learned about anthro and its history, the more I saw white people studying “brown” people and saying “look how different and archaic they are. This is how things were done thousands of years ago”. Uh, no bitch, its literally impossible for any civilization to go thousands of years without changing, evolving, and inventing new ways of doing things.
    The last straw for me was reading about how many subjects of studies are super offended after the anthropologist, who lived with them for a year and became part of the community, writes a book reducing the entire culture down to bits and pieces of mixed up narratives.
    It doesn’t really get more concise than that.

  8. A list of things I did not expect to be controversial among followers of a blog whose entire premise is derived from Critical Race Theory

    raginggenderriver:

    medievalpoc:

    australopithecusrex:

    medievalpoc:

    • Critical Race Theory *

    An analytical perspective that forces me to think critically about my position of privilege in a problematic and oppressive system, demonstrated by applying it to works of art featuring people of colour? *clutches pearls* This is preposterous I am clearly not a racist because I came here to look at these pictures of black folks even though I am white, therefore you’re making it up JUST TO BE REVERSE RACIST WHY DO YOU HATE ME MY ANCESTORS DIDN’T EVEN OWN SLAVES *retreats back into a cocoon of ignorance and self-righteous indignation* 

    The bolded is something that has been a growing concern to me as this blog has risen in popularity. Especially after some of the responses to my posts on Orientalism during 1800s Week.

    I may offer some commissions (by which i mean you write a thing and i give you a money) soon for specialists in the field who have a better grasp on various specifics than I do.

    I’m just more surprised that people don’t understand that Critical Race Theory explains why these works of art are not in your Art History classroom/you never saw them even though you majored in art history/why this or that painting sat in a basement for 200 years instead of being cared for in a museum/et cetera.

    OK, I have a question, but not for medievalpoc to deal with, since they already put a lot of work into their tumblr (which is fucking amazing, btw).

    Can somebody tell me why people are freaking out over CRT?

    I am woefully uneducated about it, though from what I know, I don’t see a problem with it.  Apparently it’s not rational or doesn’t have enough analysis or something.  And some people complain that it’s too… whiny, basically.  Oh, and of course, some people don’t believe that institutionalized racism exists.

    Is that why people are mad at CRT?  Or am I missing something?  Maybe some of the people who have been giving medievalpoc a hard time can come release some of their ire in my direction.

    Actually, I’ll go ahead and address the bolded, because Critical Race Theory is basically just the foundational idea that institutional/systematic racism exists.

    If you look at the definition I linked to, you’ll see:

    CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture.

    I think a lot of people don’t quite get that second part, which is really just saying that racism exists in the legal system, in employment practices, in education, and in just about every system and institution we have because of the devaluation of people of color.

    "The individual racist" in this sentence pretty much means a white person going around openly committing violence fueled by hatred of people of color.

    I’m demonstrating racism in education and academia, as evidenced by:

    The main difference between CRT and popular culture’s concept of what racism is, is that it divorces the discussion from the intentions of White people and instead centers on its tangible, devastating effects on the lived experiences of People of Color.

    Its very framework challenges the power and privilege of whiteness because it takes away the “opt out” idea: that you can just “choose” not to be racist or say you’re not racist, and you’re all good. It analyzes the way we’re educated to believe that European History is “default”, and that European History is synonymous with Whiteness.

    If you received an Art History education that included no works by or of POC, chances are that your professor or teacher also received an education that included no works by or of POC, and so on and so forth, until we’re back a hundred years ago with measuring people’s skull’s and genitals to “scientifically prove” that racism is “justified”.

    Unless this power structure is fought actively and vocally, it will continue unchallenged and this will remain our racist educational standard. This has nothing to do with intent; i.e. “I hate people of color, therefore I do not teach them in my classroom”. It’s about systematic devaluation, marginalization, and just going along with existing power structures.

    And so we’re back at:

    CRT recognizes that racism is engrained in the fabric and system of the American society. The individual racist need not exist to note that institutional racism is pervasive in the dominant culture.

  9. africanamericanhisandherstory:


Who is Saartjie (Sarah) Baartman? 

In 1810, when Saartjie Baartman was in her early twenties, she was persuaded by an English ship’s doctor, William Dunlop, to travel to England to make her fortune. However, as a Khoikhoi woman she was considered an anthropological freak in England, and she found herself put on exhibition, displayed as a sexual curiosity. Dubbed The Hottentot Venus, her image swept through British popular culture. Abolitionists unsuccessfully fought a court battle to free her from her exhibitors.
Saartjie Baartman was taken to Paris in 1814 and continued to be exhibited as a freak. She became the object of scientific and medical research that formed the bedrock of European ideas about black female sexuality. When she died in 1816, the Musee de l’Homme in Paris took a deathcast of her body, removed her skeleton and pickled her brain and genitals in jars. These were displayed in the museum until as late as 1985.
After five years of negotiating with the French authorities for the return of Saartjie Baartman’s remains, the South African government, together with the Griqua National Council which represents the country’s 200,000 Griqua people, part of the Koi-San group, brought Saartjie Baartman back to South Africa. On Friday 3 May 2002, in a moving ceremony attended by many representatives of the Khoikhoi people, Saartjie Baartman was welcomed back to Cape Town. Her final resting place is in the Eastern Cape, where she was born.

    africanamericanhisandherstory:

    Who is Saartjie (Sarah) Baartman? 

    In 1810, when Saartjie Baartman was in her early twenties, she was persuaded by an English ship’s doctor, William Dunlop, to travel to England to make her fortune. However, as a Khoikhoi woman she was considered an anthropological freak in England, and she found herself put on exhibition, displayed as a sexual curiosity. Dubbed The Hottentot Venus, her image swept through British popular culture. Abolitionists unsuccessfully fought a court battle to free her from her exhibitors.

    Saartjie Baartman was taken to Paris in 1814 and continued to be exhibited as a freak. She became the object of scientific and medical research that formed the bedrock of European ideas about black female sexuality. When she died in 1816, the Musee de l’Homme in Paris took a deathcast of her body, removed her skeleton and pickled her brain and genitals in jars. These were displayed in the museum until as late as 1985.

    After five years of negotiating with the French authorities for the return of Saartjie Baartman’s remains, the South African government, together with the Griqua National Council which represents the country’s 200,000 Griqua people, part of the Koi-San group, brought Saartjie Baartman back to South Africa. On Friday 3 May 2002, in a moving ceremony attended by many representatives of the Khoikhoi people, Saartjie Baartman was welcomed back to Cape Town. Her final resting place is in the Eastern Cape, where she was born.

    (via rnylesbiansensesareting-aling)

  10. ☛ People of Color in European Art History: Stephen Jay Gould and "credibility"

    hemipelagicdrifter:

    medievalpoc:

    hemipelagicdrifter:

    medievalpoc:

    This is regarding a fanmail message I recently received from worldisribzys.

    Hello, is it okay that I send you this fanmail message? I just wanted to say that now your blog is starting to talk about eugenics and scientific racism and I was looking through one of the sources you posted…

    Most of the criticisms of Gould’s ideas, at least among paleontologists, are not about sociobiology but about his more abstract evolutionary ideas. (If you’ve ever seen that bumper sticker “Honk if you understand punctuated equilibria”: that’s the big one.) His arguments against anthropological racism are basically completely statistical, and also valid, and therefore haven’t attracted much heat from scientists.

    Punctuated equilibrium is a WHOLE other thing. Don’t get me started.

    Ummmm, well these two scientists spent quite a bit of time and energy trying to uphold Morton’s racist skull-measuring studies and “debunking” Gould’s claim of scientific racism.

    And then, they accuse Gould of being biased. (Against Morton, presumably.)

    So, yeah, the criticisms of Gould are quite often on his work regarding scientific racism.

    Huh. OK, fair enough. I guess my view of Gould is pretty much totally via the paleontological literature; I missed this paper completely. Reading it now.

    ETA: Upon reading their paper I’ve got one question that they haven’t addressed, regarding Gould’s reasoning for omitting population samples with n<4, which stands out to me; paleobiologists of Gould’s school tend to be picky about that kind of thing. Other than that, though, this seems fairly well done, in that they addressed each criticism directly, especially the subgroup-averages one. I’d love to see that worked out for the other groups, but I have some of my own research to do right now. Maybe later. (The volume-measuring error was NOT something of which he accused Morton, although they address it as if it were one of his substantive criticisms.)

    The elephant in the room here, to me, is the potential for bias in the selection and initial taxonomy of the skulls. That could be an interesting follow-up: genotype the skulls, make a historically-appropriate estimate of the race that the individual would have been assigned to (what would be the error bars on this? I don’t know, probably large but there are 1000 skulls), and then see whether there’s evidence for systematic bias in the assignment of skulls to races by cranial size. After all, I don’t think head size was ever one of the criteria for assigning race of living people, but at this time it would have probably been a significant trait for anthropologists trying to assign skull race post-skeletonization.

    bolded: That’s why I linked to it; I think they’re yelling “HA I DEBUNK U!!!”, when they’re also “debunking” claims that were never really made in the first place

    AND

    Notice they never address the fact that Morton’s footstep-follower, Rushton, also saw fit to MEASURE CORPSE’S GENITALS AS WELL.

    I think Morton’s legacy has been a continuing destructive force in these fields, and the article I linked to is just the most recent shameful entry into the annals of justifying racism. To be clear, this is my opinion from analyzing the history of science from a sociological/historiological perspective.

    I highly recommend this article: How “Caucasoids” Got Such Big Crania and Why They Shrank: From Morton to Rushton by Leonard Lieberman.

    It’s a great overview with included responses from experts in the field, including Rushton himself.

    (via hemipelagicdredger)