Darwin’s Racism

One of the most important yet least-known aspects of Darwin is his racism: Darwin regarded white Europeans as more “advanced” than other human races. While Darwin presumed that man evolved from ape-like creatures, he surmised that some races developed more than others and that the latter still bore simian features. In his book, The Descent of Man, which he published after The Origin of Species, he boldly commented on “the greater differences between men of distinct races”.(Source:- Benjamin Farrington, What Darwin Really Said. London: Sphere Books, 1971, pp. 54-56).

In his book, Darwin held blacks and Australian Aborigines to be equal to gorillas and then inferred that these would be “done away with” by the “civilized races” in time. He said: At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes… will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.(Source:- Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed., New York: A.L. Burt Co., 1874, p. 178)

Darwin’s nonsensical ideas were not only theorized, but also brought into a position where they provided the most important “scientific ground” for racism. Supposing that living beings evolved in the struggle for life, Darwinism was even adapted to the social sciences, and turned into a conception that came to be called “Social Darwinism”. Social Darwinism contends that existing human races are located at different rungs of the “evolutionary ladder”, that the European races were the most “advanced” of all, and that many other races still bear “simian” features.


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