The atrocities also played out in Canada and the United States, where “Kill the Indian and save the man” was the rallying cry. Emerging science shows the resulting trauma stress is intergenerational and potentially passed on through genes in sperm or ova.
Eugenics and Social Darwinism have a staunch ally in dehumanisation, the portrayal of people as not fully human – a practice with a long, ugly history. Nineteenth-century “scientists” bolstered the slave trade by comparing African people to apes, a mindset that is still all too prevalent. Hitler compared the Jewish population to rats, and in Australia, European colonizers declared the land “terra nullius”, implying it was not inhabited by people.
The pseudo-science of Social Darwinism has been thoroughly discredited, and the best science tells us that while physical traits are genetically determined, there is no “race gene”. Rather, racial categories were created to justify oppression based on it. In short, race is a socially-constructed idea that looks to science for support, but comes up empty-handed.