Check out this article for a larger discussion of these facts.
For some reason, I found this extremely interesting. Black people have regularly been called monkeys and apes as a way to demean them. Yet, the person who first tried to connect all humans to primates believed establishing that link would help black people get out of bondage. It's a weird footnote in history.
What I found more interesting, was a comment about this article that I found on Racialicious. Here's the comment:
A big theory of mine is that the whole “intelligent design”/natural selection debate is deeply rooted in the struggle between those who would seek to extend the white Christian hegemony and those who would seek to dismantle it through science. Unfortunately, the media always portrays it as some dense philosophical debate, without any implications for social power structures.
Hmmm, where to begin?
I'll admit that I'm no expert on intelligent design, but my basic understanding is that it's based on the idea that the world was created by an omnipotent being. Since most of y'all know I'm a Christian, with traditional Christian beliefs, y'all can probably guess that I don't have a problem with this concept. In fact, I think it's silly that so many people have decided that if you believe in evolution you can't believe in creationism or natural selection, since from what I understand about Darwin, he actually never tried to go to deep into the origins of life.
What got me, was the idea that belief in God and creationism was part of some sort of vast plot to maintain, white, Christian power.
I'm not naive. I understand how religion has been used to oppress people over the course of time. I know it's considered an opiate for the masses by many people. I get that.
What I also understand is that for most regular folks their belief in God, no matter what form it takes, is a deeply personal thing that provides some sort of succor to their lives. From what I've seen, an intense connection to God does not lead to a desire to subjugate folks. In fact, it's typically the exact opposite.
It's also somewhat insulting to be told that there is no deep philosophical meaning behind my belief in God and my belief that he created the world. It's demeaning to be told that I'm just a lemming who has been co-opted by the dominant structure. I think it's dangerous to make those kind of blanket assumptions about people.
The fact that many racists have used the Bible as a tool for control does not make the Bible inherently evil. In fact, what it does confirm is that humans have the ability to corrupt and misuse just about anything, a central tenet of the Bible.
There is no doubt that Christianity has been paired with a "white power" and "male power" ethos over the years, and its followers have often wreaked havoc on the lives of people of color, gays and women. Yet, I don't feel that's the fault of religion, but more the fault of people in power trying to exert control over the less powerful. Most people need a justification to commit wrong deeds, and if you search and twist the Bible you can find justification for almost anything.
Anyway, I thought the new information about Darwin was interesting, but I could not agree with the other point the connection between creationism and white Christian hegemony. I think the two things are connected by chance, not because of some deep flaw in the Biblical explanation of the word's origins.
It's an interesting theory, but I ain't buying it.