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U. Pennsylvania Will No Longer Exhibit 190 Year-Old Skull Collection to Fight Racism

U. Pennsylvania Will No Longer Exhibit 190 Year-Old Skull Collection to Fight Racism

“Many were brutally exploited by colonialism when they were alive, and now they rest in a predominantly white institution”

Are you getting the sense that people on the left are just looking for random things to cancel now?

The College Fix reports:

Penn to stop displaying 190-year-old skull collection to fight racism

The University of Pennsylvania recently announced that it will stop publicly displaying a collection of skulls after some students decried the display as racist.

The Penn Museum at the Ivy League university in Philadelphia will no longer display any of the skulls from eugenicist Samuel George Morton.

“The Penn Museum is relocating to storage the part of the Morton Collection that has been located in a classroom within its Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials before the end of July,” the university states on its museum website.

“In addition,” the statement adds, “the Museum is beginning to explore the possibility of repatriation or reburial of the crania of enslaved individuals within this Collection.”

“This is a complicated issue, given that not much is known about these individuals other than that they came to Morton from Cuba, but one that we are committed to working through with heritage stakeholders in an ethical and respectful manner.”

The move comes after criticism of the university for displaying the skulls.

Gabriela Alvarado, a student at the school, wrote in the Daily Pennsylvanian in late June that the university’s support for Black Lives Matter is undermined by its ownership of the skulls. She called it a “racist, oppressive, and a violation of basic human rights.”

“Many were brutally exploited by colonialism when they were alive, and now they rest in a predominantly white institution,” Alvarado wrote. “A person’s right to decide where they rest after death is not only a fundamental human right, but it is our agency.”

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Comments

Are you getting the sense that people on the left are just looking for random things to cancel now?

“Getting”? It’s always been about scalphunting.

Normally I think the cancel culture bozos need to get a life, but even a stopped clock is right once or twice a day.

Morton was racist – as was about 99.9% of the white population back then – at least by today’s standards. Even most abolitionists thought whites superior, they just also believed slavery demeaned both the slave and the slave owner.

But Morton went beyond just having an Innate belief in white superiority – he set out to prove it, using what today we would categorize as pseudo-science. That’s what the skull collection was for – if you cherry pick skulls (say underfed indigenes and slaves vs well-fed whites) you get developmental differences you can then argue prove racial differences.

Oh, but he went one better than that. A creationist (like most bible believers at the time) he posited A SEPARATE CREATION for the races of mankind – something with no biblical basis, btw – meaning that blacks and orientals and Amerinds and whites would be separate species – and any off spring of race mixing like mules vs horses and donkeys.

Instead of hiding the collection (or burying it) like the CCs would advocate, I would recommend keeping it public with extensive background information and on display to the general public. Let future generations know how phrenology and race science and bad scientific methodology combined to justify inhumanity at the time and later – and how false the conclusions Morton came to were.

They’re right that this display should never have existed and should be cancelled, but not because of racism. It should be cancelled simply because it’s a gruesome desecration of human remains, and an assault on the unwilling “donors”.

I assume the collection also contains white skulls, so it’s not inherently racist, even though as BobM pointed out the purpose of its creation was. I mean that the critics can’t say “Well, you wouldn’t put a white person’s skull on display like that, so only a racist would think it’s OK to display these just because they’re not white.” But it’s still wrong. Human remains belong decently in the ground, not in a display case. Especially when there’s no good purpose for it, no good being achieved by displaying them to outweigh the inherent bad of the deed.

Consider this. Eugenics has been around for many centuries (actually millennia) and is now largely out of considered not ethical although is practiced in some forms by most people (I won’t to marry a tall man so I have tall kids.) For many decades was in various forms accepted and studied.

So in years hence will the current “transgender” situation go the way of Eugenics and future generations will despise those proponents?

now they rest in a predominantly white institution

Of course they do, because archaeology itself is primarily a European preoccupation.

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