Racism In The 19th Century

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What is now seen today as blatant racism was common though during the late 19th century. Much of the obvious segregation was due to the boom in scientific discoveries, which gave white Europeans supposed evidence to discriminate against other races, typically groups of people they were already biased against. Specifically, Darwinism and the term “survival of the fittest” gave rise to detrimental ideas of differences between races. The new discoveries in the field of genetics led the population into a world of misguided superiority. These scientific revelations paved the road to racism, which can easily be seen in works of the time, such as Joseph Conrad’s questionable novel, Heart of Darkness. Racism was not even a term during the nineteenth…show more content…
Smallpox, diphtheria, and tuberculosis lingered in the streets of Europe, especially where the cities were predominantly dank and moldy, but never caused as many deaths in Europe as they did in Africa. Colonists often brought these deadly diseases on their voyage, which wreaked havoc on the natural ecosystem of Africa. The native people of Africa had never been exposed to these germs, so their immune systems were not ready for the onslaught of European diseases, and they were not ready when the Belgians brought their germs and guns to the Congo. The deaths from the influx of sickness cannot be accurately counted, as there are no reliable records from this time due to the lack of knowledge about diseases and the Belgians did not care about how many people they slaughtered. The Belgians saw that the natives were falling victim to these common diseases and believed the natives inferior to their European breeding. Unfortunately, sleeping sickness and malaria ran rampant in the Congo due to colonization and relocation. People who had never encountered a disease spreading parasite quickly succumbed to the disease. La Force Republique attempted to aid the “savages” by building a school, but it had to be shut down, since each year “100 out of the 1000 school children were dying of sleeping sickness” (World Health Organization par. 2). It was later discovered that the school, built next to the…show more content…
Nineteenth century readers did not notice the abnormal fashion in which they treated their peers, so they did not filter the disparaging comments in Heart of Darkness. The blatant racism shining through every passage of Conrad’s novel is appalling to today’s readers, but did not even impact the audience Conrad first reached. If science during that era was so skewed, there is reason to say that current science has also been altered to fit modern

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