Colonialism and scientific racism

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mike Harman
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 16 2017 22:47
Colonialism and scientific racism

Just got to the final chapter of Franz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth (

He talks about Antoine Porot whose project was to prove that Algerians were biologically inferior to the French.

Fanon also goes on to talk about J. C. Carothers who in the 1950s was commissioned to study the Mau Mau uprising and decided africans had similar brain functioning to lobotomized Europeans. Some of this research is still available via the British Journal of Psychiatry and World Health Organisation which originally published his research:

History of psychiatry isn't my area and I hadn't realised state-sponsored scientific racism went right up until the mid-'50s, for example claims that it fell out of favour post-war, not really consistent with the WHO publishing Carothers in the mid-50s. Given it does seem to have become more marginal by the '60s, if anything this would seem to mark the general strategic shift from trying to maintain direct military control over colonies vs. granting independence to national elites with economic relations mostly intact.

I'm wondering if there's a decent summary of this that's more recent than Fanon's. Part of the development of the alt-right in the US has been the increasing popularity of 'race realism', and we've seen Charles Murray and various evolutionary psychologists get more mainstream attention. Given the Bell Curve was 1994 that's only a 40 year gap. There are some straight Nazis in the alt-right but there's also plenty closer to 'liberal/academic racism' who obsess about IQ tests etc. and I think a lot of people's history on where this shit comes from and how recently it was being pushed is sketchy.

Black Badger
Joined: 21-03-07
Nov 17 2017 01:24

Jonathan Marks is great on this exact topic.

Mike Harman
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 17 2017 09:21

Thanks that looks useful!

boozemonarchy's picture
Joined: 28-12-06
Nov 17 2017 13:45

Good post, can't contribute an answer to your question though.

Just wanted to link to articles talking about recent news of 'faked forensics' as they are related to getting convictions in criminal cases. Not the best article but gives the gist -

Basically, prosecutors and forensic labs collude to create fake/unreliable forensic methods to garner high conviction rates whereby the labs get paid, and the prosecutors keep their jobs / gain status. In the racist US, this shoddy science is clearly gonna disproportionately effect minorities.

Mike Harman
Joined: 7-02-06
Nov 20 2017 22:50

Rawalpindi experiments during WWII:

British military scientists sent hundreds of Indian soldiers into gas chambers and exposed them to mustard gas, documents uncovered by the Guardian have revealed.
The Guardian understands that the British military did not check up on the Indian soldiers after the experiments to see if they developed any illnesses. It is now recognised that mustard gas can cause cancer and other diseases.

Many suffered severe burns on their skin, including their genitals, leaving them in pain for days and even weeks. Some had to be treated in hospital.

The trials have been thrown into the spotlight by newly discovered documents at the National Archives which have shown for the first time the full scale of the experiments.


Porton officials have argued that trials took place in a different era, during a conflict, and so their conduct should not be judged by today's standards.

The Ministry of Defence could not say whether the Indian soldiers were volunteers in the experiments.