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Examining History and Science Curriculum Distortions that Reinforce Racism and Appease Zealotry in America

John Holden Bickford
Last modified: 2021-07-06


Charles Darwin shaped science and history. His natural selection pathway, which enabled common descent, threatened White, Christian, conservatives’ racial and religious superiority. Darwin, though an anti-slavery advocate with distinguished abolitionists on both familial lines, used language replete with assimilationism, racism, and colonialism. His insights on science and complicated history with racism elicited startlingly different responses from empowered regulators atop America’s social hierarchy. White, Christian, conservatives—whether socioeconomically privileged or marginalized—collaboratively resisted evolution instruction differently over time and context. This same demographic melded evolutionary iterations within racist ideas to justify colonialism, segregation, social Darwinism, eugenics, and racial science. This study examines how Darwin and his ideas are (mis)represented within common science and history curriculum today.