Jan 13, 2013



 

Back in 2007, the BBC aired a three part documentary series that explored the global impact of racism. The series was entitled, Racism: A History. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It the voice narrating the series sounds familiar it is because it belongs to famed British artist Sophie Okonedo.

Here's the three parts and a brief description of each. Each part is approximately an hour long.

The first, The Colour of Money...



Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.

The second, Fatal Impact...



Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.

And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy...



Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century's greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.


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