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Post Reply Were People in the Middles Ages Racist?
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23 / M / Chicago, Illinois
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Posted 2/22/18 , edited 2/23/18
A few of my freinds were discussing (more like arguing, actially) this topic for about a couple hours, with no real conclusion. From the classes I've taken under professors who have doctorates in Medieval History, and the article I read today (Linked below) I can't really find much information to the argument that Medieval people were racist. From what I've read, I've seen the contrary, such as a German version of the Arthurian tale of sir Percival where the famous knight's half brother is biracial Black-White, and that people in the Middle Ages cared more about where you came from, who your parents were, your educational level, and if you have noble blood or not. I know it's kinda a boring subject to some, but race relations is a bit heated these days, so I was pondering the notion if people in the Middle Ages were racist. What do you think?

"Were Medieval People Racist?" by Paul B. Sturdevant
https://www.publicmedievalist.com/medieval-people-racist/
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M
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Posted 2/22/18 , edited 2/22/18
Um... on the whole they were extremely bigoted and persecuted people with different religions or behavior routinely. To argue for non-racism because they didn't see many black people ignores the intense hatred/rivalry/wars different ethnic groups and nation states had with each other.

And there was a decent amount of color-based racism due to repeated crusades, the Moor conquest of Spain, Mongol invasions ...

EDIT: If you mean color = race, probably not as intense as Deep-South U.S. Civil War era. But "race" used to be conflated with religion and origin. If anything their hate for people different than themselves was more egalitarian?
qwueri 
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Posted 2/22/18 , edited 2/23/18
Given the long and complex conflicts between "barbarian" tribes in Europe and other ethnicity like the Anglo Saxons, Franks, etc. yeah, I'm sure they could be pretty racist to one another when they weren't confined to their little fiefdoms or simply trading blows on a muddy battlefield.
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Posted 2/22/18 , edited 2/23/18
Very good video about Middle Ages Myths:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqzq01i2O3U

Only about five minutes. Very worth the watch.
Humms 
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Posted 2/22/18 , edited 2/23/18
Ya and im sure they were rapists, pillagers, and ruthless animals as well. How do you not come to a conclusion?? Do you not think for yourself?

My head hurts


Vahvi 
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Posted 2/22/18 , edited 2/22/18

Humms wrote:

Ya and im sure they were rapists, pillagers, and ruthless animals as well. How do you not come to a conclusion?? Do you not think for yourself?

My head hurts




I often think we're just helping people with their classwork; back when I was still in school my classmates would do this. We'd get a writing prompt of some sort and they'd essentially let the internet do most of the work. Afterwhich they'd fact check and piece it all together in their own words.
Posted 2/23/18 , edited 2/23/18
Well stability was essential and whenever stability endured, education and culture thrived. You had universities set up that brought together folks from all over interested in studying. They were all thanks to language which is essential to what makes us understand the world around us better and broadens our borders.
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Posted 2/23/18 , edited 2/23/18
didn't the majority work on farms and mostly stayed in a very narrow radius? don't know how much time they had to interact with foreigners then.
Soldiers etc is something else, but I suppose the majority had their hands full with work
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F / BuBbLeS!
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Posted 2/23/18 , edited 2/23/18
can't think of a time nor era society wasn't racist. so article or not, it can be safe to conclude that people were and still are racist. society will always find a race, culture, etc to be racist against. one might consider it to be based entirely on fear, brainwashed or simply because they just don't like them and/or want the land so they'll create a fake racism movement against them. history is a dark place and it hasn't stopped being dark as we continue to make more history. to end racism would be to cut that part of the brain out, or disable the link, it's up there somewhere I'm sure, since, the brain and heart doesn't work well in harmony resulting in this sort of chaos to come about. and it's far easier to be racist than to erase the racist undertones.
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26 / F / PA, USA
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Posted 2/23/18 , edited 2/23/18
As a whole, they were racist. They were tribalistic over just about everything. In some ways, they were more relaxed about it than may be assumed, as race alone wasn't quite as important as other reasons to be prejudiced over, but it's certainly a mistake to romanticize the Middle Ages overmuch. Back then, if it wasn't your perceived race, it'd be your religion (or lack thereof), your rulers, your home country, social status, politics, clan, etc... The latter was given a bit more precedence.
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Posted 4/26/18 , edited 4/26/18
they were also classists ?

like of like PC elitists vs console owners .. peasants...
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waffle
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Posted 4/26/18 , edited 4/26/18
yes. does that answer your question?
primitive society was a shithole.
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Posted 4/28/18 , edited 4/28/18
Racism as we understand it today did not exist in the Middle Ages.

So the answer is NO.
-OlE- 
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Posted 4/28/18 , edited 4/28/18

TheZaphod wrote:

Racism as we understand it today did not exist in the Middle Ages.

So the answer is NO.


care to elaborate? How do you define "racism as we understand it today?"
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The White House
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Posted 4/28/18 , edited 4/28/18
They still are:

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