Race Theories And Its Consequences

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Race has evolved through the scientific endeavor to forward knowledge, from a categorisation of people based on geographic origin and physical traits, to a hierarchical concept that is used as a tool to racially vilify, discriminate and marginalize particular races. The term race was introduced in the 16th century and referred to a group category of people (Smedley, 1999). From then, the concept of race was scrutinized and redefined by the western world. America bought about the concept of ‘race’ present in modern day, however the intellectual framework that served as a guide was European (Brace, 2005). Understanding of the evolution of race theories and its consequences are crucial to analyse how contemporary Indigenous Peoples are…show more content…
Therefore, the use of visual art to portray ideas is more connected to Indigenous cultures than imposed western political and academic settings. This essay will critically discuss the work of Carl Linnaeus, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and Charles Darwin in defining race and its application to Indigenous Australians. Followed by, analysis of the works of contemporary artists, Richard Bell, Bindi Cole, Bronwyn Bancroft, Daniel Boyd, Michael Riley, Gordon Bennett and Lin Onus in challenging the effects social constructions of race have had on Indigenous peoples. These issues include authenticity, homogenous stereotyping, racial hierarchy and discrimination.

Carolus Linnaeus (1707-78), a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist, is known for his taxonomic system, which laid the foundations of the modern biological categorization (Brace, 2005). His ambition was to make order the chaos of biological life based on distinctiveness and established categories of generic and specific names. It divided humans into six categories; four based on geographic location, and Homo ferus (wild man) and homo monstrosus (monster man) (Fish, 2011). He further tried to make scientific sense of life by assigning traits to each of these categories. Racial stereotyping has derived from this concept of Linnaeus’ taxonomy, with static conceptions of a particular race that does not allow for individual variation and intergradations (Fish, 2011). Australia was colonized at a time
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