Episode 32: How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)

March 1, 2017

For much of human history, people viewed themselves as members of tribes or nations but had no notion of “race.” Today, science deems race biologically meaningless. Who invented race as we know it, and why? By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai Kumanyika.

Photo: The Monument to the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal. The highlighted figure in the center is an effigy of Gomes Eanes de Zurara. The figure at the top right is Prince Henry the Navigator. Photo by Harvey Barrison.

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12 comments on “Episode 32: How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)

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  1. Janet bland Apr 21, 2017

    I find your podcast extremely informative and feel very fortunate to be a listener.

  2. Shelly Musgrove May 3, 2017

    The slavery still exists on every social level.
    How do we change the balance of power?

  3. Excellent commentary

  4. There is one race – the human race. Anything else is pigmentation.

  5. Tom Wyllie May 4, 2017

    So, graduating from high school in 1972, most of the history here was retold with a similar bias. Looking back to my college Western Political Thought class, there is not a difference so much in facts as in this podcast’s focus on the intent of Aristotelian and later philosophers’ purpose in attempting to define truths about the nature of man and societies, There seems to be cherry picking on the podcast’s point of view. Most of the ancient and medieval philosophers can be found to espouse ideas which support any position. Well, that’s true of them all if their writings survived in bulk. My understanding is that it was the German Enlightenment philosophers who believed and promulgated the belief that white Europeans conquered the world because they were superior. Their thinking, however, seems to have been adopted by the English in their views and treatment of the Irish deemed inferior as a species. In the mid Nineteenth Century, millions of Irish fleeing famine, arrived in the North as indentured servants. Slaves. For a limited time, it is sure, but slaves. The same attitude is portrayed in “The Jungle”; but for a different white ethnic group. In understanding the history of racial prejudice in the USA, it is, imo, necessary to require a common denominator in historical fact and political disenfranchisement for both Southern Blacks and their Northern counterparts. That denominator offers important clues. maybe not decisive clues, but thought s to ponder. We live in dangerous times, exciting times.

    • Kristin Sep 19, 2017

      I disagree about the idea that slavery and indentured servitude are equal. I’ve heard people make this false equivalency to undermine the “black lives matter” movement or to weaken the threat of white supremacy. Indentured servitude was a contract to repay or settle debt. Once freed, they could own property and many went on to own slaves. The Irish were not captured, kidnapped, sold as property, raped and bred like livestock to improve the owner’s stock. Indentured servants were granted their freedom per the contract. Slaves were property in perpetuity unless freed by their owner.

  6. Very informative thank you. Yes these are scholars ive read and need to be read by the masses. I hope to spread the word of this show to the best of my ability. Hey Chenjerai it’s been a minute.

  7. Marvin Jefferson May 5, 2017

    Excellent! We need more of this!
    Thank You!

  8. Patricia Trujillo Oviedo Aug 5, 2017

    Great podcast! Enlightening…

  9. Rosemary Adaser Aug 30, 2017

    Brilliant series, comprehensive in it’s scope and gently explored by a range of learned people from all ‘ethnicities’ (better watch my language!), should be compulsory in all European and USA schools.

  10. Linda Swayze Aug 31, 2017

    I was introduced to this series through co-workers and all I can say is WOW…… what an eye opener. I can’t wait to hear the other episodes. Great work to all connected to the project!

  11. Yes, this is well deserved information that all academia secondary classes need to use. I’m excited about this podcast. As an African American woman I am appreciative of this discussion and speaking truth to power.
    Thank you .

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