What is Scientific Racism?

Scientific racism is a term used within the field of criminology to describe a discredited and harmful approach that seeks to justify racial hierarchies and discrimination through pseudoscientific methods.

It involves the misuse and distortion of scientific data, research, or theories to make unfounded claims about the supposed racial superiority or inferiority of certain groups. Scientific racism has been historically linked to the study of criminology and has perpetuated harmful stereotypes and biases.

During various points in history, some criminological theories were used to promote racial prejudice, often portraying certain racial or ethnic groups as inherently more prone to criminal behavior. These theories were based on dubious methodologies, such as measuring skulls or physical characteristics, and were used to justify discriminatory practices, segregation, and discriminatory criminal justice policies.

One of the most infamous examples of scientific racism in criminology is the eugenics movement, which aimed to 'improve' the human race by selective breeding and sterilization. Eugenics had devastating consequences, including forced sterilization and discrimination against individuals from marginalized communities.

Today, the criminological community overwhelmingly rejects scientific racism and has made significant efforts to disassociate from these harmful beliefs.

Contemporary criminology emphasizes evidence-based research, equality, and the recognition that criminal behavior is influenced by a complex interplay of social, economic, and environmental factors rather than inherent racial characteristics.