I’ve wasted some afternoons binge watching the TV series Ancient Aliens on Hulu over the past few years. It seems like a harmless “what if” exercise. And it’s fun when in a particular episode I’m introduced to some new site or artifact that I’d not heard of before. But I do notice that if I know something about what’s being presented, the information shared is not very robust and often weirdly wrong.
In an article in Sapiens by Stephanie Halmhofer, the weirdly wrong part is more harmful than you’d guess. It’s connected to a world-view that heightens “White” culture and diminishes others:
Pseudoarchaeology is useful to white nationalism specifically because it casts doubt on the achievements of BIPOC communities, opening the doors to rewriting history through a white power lens. The SPLC has noticed this and written about connections between pseudoarchaeology and far-right ideologies such as antisemitism and white nationalism. White nationalism is a pro-white racial ideology that shares many interests with white supremacy, such as anti-immigration stances and beliefs that the interests of white people must be placed first.
White nationalists also encourage enhanced protections and rights to defend what they see as the “purity” of the white race, a pseudoscientific concept built on extremely reimagined views of history and genetic ancestry. A core belief of white nationalism is a conspiracy theory referred to as the “great replacement,” which suggests a “white genocide” is happening: that white people are nearing extinction and need to be protected.
(BIPOC is short hand for Black and Indigenous People of Color)
Do follow the link above and read the whole article. It’s worth your time.
Science is often warped, like Religion, to support systems of oppression and to marginalize some people to the advantage of others. This article reminds me that when I wonder why something is popular and wrong at the same time, there’s often deeper reason – and generally not a nice one.