These racist theories that have since been debunked were once popular and accepted ideologies that supported racist perceptions of Black people. The theories were used to justify the mistreatment and enslavement of Black people mentally, emotionally and physically. Even today, hints of these racist theories can be picked up in how Blacks are perceived.
It is a term coined by the early 19th century American physician Samuel A. Cartwright to explain the mental disease that made certain enslaved Blacks run away. In Cartwright’s opinion, Blacks were naturally submissive and better off under the control of white masters. He believed that those who tried to escape must have been suffering from a mental disorder that could be solved by “whipping the devil out of them.” Cartwright also claimed that drapetomania could be cured by treating the enslaved Blacks like children “with care, kindness, attention and humanity.”
Bell Curve Theory
Sir Francis Galton’s theory attempted to rank the mental capabilities of different ethnic groups. He came to the conclusion that people of African descent were two grades lower than Europeans, and Australian Aborigines were ranked the lowest. He published his theory in the chapter titled “The Comparative Worth of Different Races” in his 1869 work “Hereditary Genius.”