Racism revisited

I am re-reading ‘Black Athena: the Afro-Asiatic roots of classical civilisation’ by Martin Bernal. I have extracted some of his words on racism.

“All cultures have some degree of prejudice for, or more often against, people whose appearance is unusual. However, the intensity and persuasiveness of North European, American and other colonial racism since the 17th century have been so much greater than the norm … By the 15th century, there is no doubt that clear links were seen between dark skin colour and evil and inferiority, when the newly arrived Gypsies were feared and hated for both darkness and their alleged sexual prowess … a more clear-cut racism grew up after 1650 and this was intensified by the increased colonization of America, with its twin policies of extermination of the native Americans and enslavement of Africans”

“ … Aristotle linked ‘racial superiority’ to the right to enslave other peoples, especially those of a ‘slavish disposition.’ … John Locke, the philosopher was … a racist, as was … philosopher David Hume. … Christian European attacks on heathen Africans and Americans … were classed as ‘just wars’ because the latter were not defending their property, but merely ‘waste land’ … entitlement to land came from cultivation.”

“In Hume’s case, racism so transcended his religion that he was a pioneer of the view that there had been not one creation but many different ones …”

I wish I had been aware of Bernal’s multi-disciplinary scholarship when I had looked at Locke and Hume (perhaps somewhat casually) a very long time ago. As one brought up to reject the societal evils of racism, of the Indian caste system, and of social class, and because of my own spiritual beliefs, I am truly saddened to find that these 3 Western philosophers were so ignorant.