Comment on “Race”, Steven Gregory & Roger Sanjek


“Race” is a book with 16 articles written by different authors  concerning the constructions of Race & the persisting Dilemma-sites of Racism-, with an intro  written by the editors mentioned above. The concept of “Race”, according to Roger Sanjek, is developed to take its political and cultural features only after the Western European expansion, beginning in the 1400s. The labels used in race ranking: “Negro”, “Indian”, “White”, “Mulatto”, “half-Cast”, “Oriental”,  “Aborigine” became real and concrete, taking roots  in Culture, Politics, Identity and Social Order, since the 15th century expansionist politics that began to cover all the corners of our planet. “Science” was an essential part used to affirm these rankings that resulted in catastrophic consequences and huge results for its victims, whether in Africa, the Americas, Australia  or Asia: -“dispossessions, enforced transportation, and economic exploitation of human beings over five centuries”. The world was not “race conscious” prior to that period, as Roger claimed. 

Anthropologists as Franz Boas, was  critical and objected to the idea of these scientific approaches that was dominant among their intellectuals & elites  of the earlier centuries, where the shape of the head, and  the color of the skin was a dominant factor in the ranking of the race . “Racism” was the social result of this ranking, while “race” as a concept itself made no divide line between a “black” and a “white” man,  a “Scandinavian” or from “Congo basin”, from east Asia or western Europe.

The reality of the cultural and political scene of our nowadays, with political  leaders as Trump, who targeted specifically muslims in his speeches and decrees,  to Berlusconi who stated after the war on Iraq in 2003 that “we are more civilized than them”, meaning Muslim-Arab countries,  to the murdering of George Floyd  in 2020 & the international reactions to the killing, to the hundreds of other discriminatory examples, in Palestine, South Africa, Alger and else where, demonstrating the fact that “Racism” was and still until nowadays rooted in most of the cultural, academic  and political folds of societies, after five centuries of its beginnings,  especially in what is named as the “Advanced World”.: and even before the 1400s  I would argue; namely  from the 11th century of the Crusaders’ invasions – whom Bush remembered when invading Iraq in 2003, evoking  their name -Crusaders- to justify its illegal invasion.  In literature and history books as well, the examples are more evident, full of prejudice, arrogance and ignorance_ only to mention one of their patriarchs- Bernard Lewis.       


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