"Alt-Archeology" has a Racist Angle

Where have we been?
Bart Stewart
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1045
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:27 pm

"Alt-Archeology" has a Racist Angle

Post by Bart Stewart » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:14 am

It never occurred to me that paranormal nonsense and pseudo-scientific theories of ancient history might be rooted in racism. Apparently some of it is, according to this article from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In the early 19th century, white supremacists in the United States promoted the idea that the prehistoric mound builders were an early race of whites. These mysterious ancient white Americans were enlightened, advanced and wonderful (just like the 19th century American whites!) But they were somehow conquered and exterminated by savage Asiatic tribes that were the ancestors of the evil redskins that plagued the continent at that time.

The eradication of the American Indians was partly justified by this myth of an early "white genocide." Some of these supposed ancient races of whites were also Biblical giants, and other supernatural types. Joseph Smith's wild tales of ancient American civilizations fits neatly into this pattern. Madam Blavatsky of Theosophy fame taught that there were seven "root races" in ancient times. At least one of these were ape-like, could have up to four arms, and sported a third eyeball in the back of their heads.

President Andrew Jackson was said to be a proponent of the idea of ancient lost races of American whites. Though the article doesn't mention it, Jackson was also reportedly interested in another paranormal tale, that of the "Bell Witch" poltergeist of Tennessee.

Despite considerably refutation, some of these theories went on into the 20th century, and up to the "alt-right" racists of today. Far right mentalities are often obsessed with ancient aliens, Atlantis and other lost civilizations, and various paranormal stuff that they can twist into supporting their worldview.

This is a long article. I'm not sure why the articles I post here are always so long, but at least they have something to say.

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/201 ... acist-kind

User avatar
Obnoxious Weed
Posts: 34854
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:44 am
Custom Title: prostrate spurge
Location: Transcona

Re: "Alt-Archeology" has a Racist Angle

Post by Gord » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:15 am

Everything from the 19th century has some degree of racism involved in it. It was a very popular thing back then! "The White Man's Burden" and all that.

Even modern linguistics still suffers from its lingering effects. The general population thinks of languages in racial terms -- Indo-European is a type of language, not a type of human, but most people hear it as a racial thing. "I am an Indo-European."
Bart Stewart wrote:...At least one of these were ape-like, could have up to four arms, and sported a third eyeball in the back of their heads.
[insert obligatory Trump comment here]
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
"You are also taking my words out of context." -- Justin
"Nullius in verba" -- The Royal Society ["take nobody's word for it"]
Is Trump in jail yet?