What’s wrong with this picture? More blatantly than most, it typifies the racism inherent in a lot of human evolutionary progressions. Did you notice that the transitional hominid just before the end (second from right) looks like a modern-day African (albeit a bit scruffier), while the pinnacle of human evolution is a ‘white’ European-looking man? Why is a white person as a representative of modern humans, when a majority of the world’s population has medium-brown skin, eyes, and hair coloration? The subtle message here is that lighter skin means that the individual is more evolved.
The shocking thing is that this image isn’t from a fringe white supremacist group, but from the highly respected Smithsonian.com website, as an illustration to its ‘Top ten daily consequences of having evolved’ article.1 And in the comments under that article (at the time of writing—a month after the Smithsonian article’s posting), not one commenter noticed the blatant racism in the image. Why is this?
There’s no question that evolution when applied to explaining the origins of humankind, from its inception, was a racist idea. In the CMI documentary The Voyage that Shook the World, the Cambridge-educated evolutionary historian Peter Bowler stated, when talking about Darwin:
“That by the time he writes the Decent of Man in 1871 it’s pretty clear that he by that time shares the growing suspicion or conviction of many Europeans. The non white races simply do not have the capacity to be elevated properly into civilized human beings that they are mentally and morally at a more limited level. In a sense they are stuck at an early stage in the biological evolution of the human species.”….
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