This volume in the Sage Series on Race and Ethnic Relations seeks to explain the phenomenon of racism throughout history by drawing on and integrating the massive literature on racism coming out of the economic, political, and cultural realms. In so doing, author Carter A. Wilson tackles four major goals: first, to help resolve the major debates surrounding racism; second, to demystify racism; third, to provide understanding of how racism has been sustained in various historical eras; and finally, to discuss how racism takes on different forms in various stages of history. This eye-opening volume sheds new light on racism and will be vital to students and professionals in race and ethnic studies, sociology, political science, economics, history, American studies and anthropology.
Chapter 3: The Historical Origins of Racism
The Historical Origins of Racism
Racism is a modern historical phenomenon, grounded in alienating, exploitative, and oppressive economic arrangements. It arose in a particular stage in history, after the dissolution of feudalism, after the Protestant Reformation, and with the rise of a new economic order undergirded by an intense drive to accumulate wealth. This drive was both a creative and a liberating force. At the same time, it was destructive, dehumanizing, and exploitative. On the one hand, it contributed to the growth of Western culture and civilization. On the other, it fueled the genocide against Native Americans and propelled the Atlantic slave trade. Modern racism emerged out of slavery and colonialism. These economic institutions created clear demarcation lines between the oppressed ...