Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I am in the final stages of preparing Darwin’s Racism: The Definitive Case, Along with a Close Look at Some of the Forgotten, Genuine Humanitarians of That Time for publication. Hopefully, it will be available in a couple of months.

In the meantime, immediately below is the description of the book that will appear on websites and the back of the book:

Throughout the 19th century in the British Empire, parallel developments in science and the law were squeezing Aborigines everywhere into nonexistence. Charles Darwin took part in this. Again and again, he expressed his approval of the extermination of the native “lower races.” The more interesting part of the story is that there were plenty of voices, albeit a minority and mostly forgotten now, who objected on humanitarian grounds (and sometimes scientific grounds as well). Europeans, they said, were becoming polished savages and dehumanizing the Other. Darwin was very aware of this criticism and cared not one whit. As he said in a letter to Charles Lyell, “I … care not much whether we are looked at as mere savages in a remotely distant future.” But he well knew it was not a remote future. He had read several writers who accused Europeans of being the real savages. For a brief moment in his youth in his Diary, he himself dabbled in such criticism, even though he already believed in the inferiority of indigenous peoples. That belief grew firmer as he matured. Darwin did not dispute humanitarians so much as he ignored them. It’s a sad story. But oh those humanitarians, how they inspire.

That is the description. There are three components to the book: 1) presenting all the evidence to establish that racism was a systemic part of Darwin’s anthropology; this includes evidence from his published writings, Notebooks, and correspondence; 2) looking in detail at some of his contemporaries who strongly objected to the racism of their culture and to the genocidal policies practiced in the colonies; and 3) remembering the evolutionists who preceded Darwin and who were more holistic and humane than he was; they would have taken evolutionary theory in a different direction, but we have consigned them to oblivion.

This book is about rescuing voices from the past. If one line sums it up, perhaps it would be a line from the end of the film A Thousand Acres. One of the sisters, dying in the hospital, says that her single accomplishment in life was this: I saw and I did not flinch from telling.

© Leon Zitzer 2016