In the May issue of Discover magazine, in the section titled “Heroes of Science,” no
mention is made of the pseudo-science of Carl Linnaeus. Unfortunately, Linnaeus, hardly a hero, invented the spurious concept of “race.” His tainted labeling paved the way for the development of scientific racism and racialized followers for hundreds of years. Despite his other achievements, he could be named the father of scientific racism, which provided the ideological and scientific basis for hatred based on skin color and culture. He invented several categories of “race” and attached temperaments to each one that set the stage for centuries of oppression against non-Europeans. He called blacks “Africanus,” and claimed that they were “cunning, passive, and inattentive, and ruled by impulse,” while declaring that whites, “Europeaus,” were “changeable, clever, and inventive.” The article only told one side of the story, and I would argue left out a crucial point; that Linnaeus helped to ruin the world by providing a racialized concept of humankind that provided a justification for slavery based on skin color and hatred of millions. Fortunately, we now know that there is only one race—human beings.
According to the Serendip Educational website, “Linnaeus created the system we still use today for categorizing life forms into species, genus, family, and so forth . . . He was a great scientist, and yet he also believed that humans came in five distinct species, (this is the origin of race and racism) . . . . In General System of Nature, published in 1735, he placed man in the order of primates along with the other mammals. However, he did believe that the one characteristic that distinguished men from the apes was the former being's ability to use the facility of reason. But distinctions in that order did not cease to be merely with that classification. He stated that variations within . . . Homo sapiens existed as a result of varying cultures and climates.”
Linnaeus didn’t just degrade blacks but others as well. According to the website, “The four main categories of the Genus that he proposed were the following: Americanus. Native American males were supposedly red; had black hair and sparse beards; were stubborn; prone to anger; ‘free’; and governed by traditions.” Second, “Asiaticus. The male Asian was said to be "yellowish, melancholy, endowed with black hair and brown eyes . . . severe, conceited, and stingy. He puts on loose clothing. He is governed by opinion.” Finally, the blacks, or “Africanus,” were described thus, “The male of this subset, according to Linnaeus, could be recognized by his skin tone, face structure, and curly hair. This kind was apparently cunning, passive, and inattentive, and ruled by impulse. The female of this kind was also apparently shameless, because ‘they lactate profusely,’ and fourth, “Europeaus. The males of this subset were supposedly ‘changeable, clever, and inventive. He puts on tight clothing. He is governed by
Wow! Go back and read it again (I repeated it on purpose), and look at how this so-called scientist described whites as compared to the rest! This man, who thought himself clever, left us with pure hell. His writings and beliefs would inspire racists across time, including southerners that fought to defend slavery during the Civil War, such as Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, the KKK, and in the 20 th Century Adolph Hitler. Universities across the world taught his fake science for hundreds of years. It is obvious that lies and myths can last a very long time. It is also true that those who accept teachings without questioning those ideas are bound to grow up repeating things that are simply not true. Here is the point of my quoting this man; race is a social construction that does not exist in science. It has real applications by those that want to continue judging people by skin color and culture.
Before the time of Linnaeus, people never used the term “race” except to refer to people from various nations and not as different species of humans. Linnaeus turned the term “race” into a horror that has resulted in suffering for millions across time. This man should never be honored, and for people to do so shows ignorance for how the concept of race and racism started. Racism had an origin, and Carl Linnaeus was the scientist that created “races.” Many of us are fooled as well, for we go on thinking that there are “white people” and “back people” and others,
when is fact we all belong to one race. Yes, we have different skin colors and cultures, but that does not make different races. We are the victims of white supremacy, but they have fooled even themselves with this false science.