Race and separate races of human beings do not exist. They are a myth. Yet, racism is very real. Because racism is the namesake of something that does not exist, there is general confusion about what it actually is. This confusion has served to protect racism, and even reinforce it. By reviewing the entire history of racism, this book shows exactly what racism is: a subjective system of ranking groups of people and the belief that there is a natural social order of those groups.
The lie of inferior and superior groups of people originated as a justification for slavery. Plantation owners, lawmakers, and scientists carefully nurtured the myth until long after slavery had ended. It has survived for centuries and continues to be used to separate people. Every white person needs to be aware of that history in order to understand how the myth of race and a hierarchy of humanity lingers in each of us and in all of our institutions.