Painter’s work begins early in history with an account of the ancient Greeks and Romans. She demonstrates how they viewed the Scythians, Celts, Gauls, and Germanic tribes as barbarians with fixed and immutable traits. From there, the vast majority of Painter’s work settles into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, focusing on notions of white beauty, the origins of the word “Caucasian,” the roots of modern anthropology, and the invention of European “races.” She goes on to explain how those ideas affected waves of immigrants to the United States. Painter eventually settles into the twentieth century to finish the story by demonstrating the lasting persistence of some of these old ideas and how they’ve played out in a multicultural America.
New England Sage | Peter August
Brilliant article, Peter.
No punches pulled, actionable, visceral, feisty, perceptive, heartbreaking and utterly readable! Kudos! Your writing is so lucid, almost poetic!
As an Indian residing in Ireland for the last decade, I totally empathise with your frustrations & fear.
My tuppence based on Angela Saini's excellent "Superior": Race isn't real. There is no scientific consensus that it exists. Or how many there are. Or how to classify them. Racial categories we use are arbitrary. Moulded by social and cultural constructs. I genuinely think this book is the only origin story of our species we need.
I reckon it makes a perfect science-backed companion article to your brilliant writing - so would really appreciate your feedback!