Samuel Morton’s Crania Americana was published in
Eighteen thirty-nine, and Crania Aegyptiaca in eighteen forty-four.
In both, he demonstrated, by way of seemingly precise scientific data,
What most white Americans, and perhaps the majority of white Europeans,
Already believed: namely, that Caucasians were the most intelligent
And gifted of God’s creatures, and that the other races were
Irredeemably inferior, in one form or another.
In fact, Morton asserted, using a mixture of bizarre logic and
Wishful thinking, it was clearly evident, via close scrutiny
Of the Biblical timeline – a timeline formulated by Archbishop James Usher,
During the seventeenth century, who declared the Earth
Was a mere four thousand and four years old –
That far from there being a signal moment of human creation,
God had, for reasons best known to Himself, staggered the process,
So that the brightest and best of the five races emerged first,
With the other races appearing, in descending order, as afterthoughts.
To wit: Caucasians, then East Asians or ‘Mongolians’,
Then Southeast Asians, then ‘Native Americans’,
And lastly, and certainly least, Blacks or ‘Ethiopians’,
At the bottom of the pile.
Morton’s methodology was both curious and dubious,
Since it consisted of stuffing assorted skulls with white mustard seeds,
And later, lead shot, in order to ascertain braincase volume.
Once the contents of the skulls were decanted and measured –
And not always by Morton, since he employed an assistant –
He decided that the Caucasian brain averaged eighty seven cubic inches,
While the Black brain averaged a mere seventy eight,
With the others somewhere in between.
Of course, if brain volume alone was the measure of superiority,
Then perhaps he should have focussed his attention on the
Sperm whale, or on the elephant, since in both cases,
Brain size is considerably larger and heavier than that of any human.
But since mammals per se had nothing to do with Morton’s
Raison d’etre as a scientist, or his particular world view,
He ignored the issue completely.
None-too-fussy about the origination or accreditation of his specimens,
He accepted skulls from battlefields, catacombs, hospitals and gallows:
Twelve hundred in total amassed during his lifetime,
And the collection further expanded, after his death,
By students and admirers.
Morton wasn’t the first to regard racial classification as a central tenet,
As regards our understanding of the ‘natural superiority’
Of the white man, over and above the brown, yellow, red or black –
Far from it, since the stereotyping of different races and cultures
Had, and has, a long, unfortunate, blood-soaked history.
The so-called ‘father of taxonomy’, Carolus Linnaeus,
Who developed a perfectly rational hierarchical system of nature
In his seventeen thirty-five Proposition, Systema Naturae,
Was equally insistent that of the four races, the Caucasian Europeanus
Was the most accomplished, followed by the Asiaticus,
Then the Americanus, and almost lastly, the Afer or Africanus.
Risibly, Linnaeus added a fifth category, below even that of the Afer:
The Monstrosus – essentially, mythological human creatures,
That didn’t exist, and had never existed.
However, in terms of its huge impact in, and on, America,
As well as in Europe and beyond, Morton’s conclusions,
Based on seemingly sound scientific procedures,
Had wide-ranging, far-reaching repercussions.
Clearly, not only was God on the side of the white man –
God was white Himself.
Courtesy of ‘verifiable’ statistics, it seemed that the treatment
Of other races, and especially the treatment of Blacks or ‘Ethiopians’,
Had Divine Sanction; indeed, when Morton died in eighteen fifty-one,
The Charleston Medical Journal praised him for “giving to the negro
His true position as an inferior race”.
In the wrong hands, such unimpeachable certitude might prove to be
Dangerous, to the point of cataclysmic.
In June, two thousand, following DNA research, and the assembly
Of the first human genome, Craig Venter announced at the White House,
“The concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis”.
In fact, after several decades of specific research, it’s clear that
All humans are closely related, with the same collection of genes,
Albeit with slightly different variations (apart from identical twins).
Even more startling, especially for those of a rascist bent,
All humans alive today are children of Africa,
Since that’s where our species – Homo Sapiens – evolved.
Today, all non-Africans are descended from a few thousand
Who left Africa approximately sixty thousand years ago.
In short, in a very real sense, we are all migrants.
As our ancestors colonised the planet, different genetic mutations
Led to changes in skin colour, the ability to breathe at certain altitudes,
Our need to perspire more, or perhaps less, according to climate,
And to any number of other mutations,
All of which guaranteed the survival of the fittest –
That’s to say, those humans best able to adjust to local conditions.
According to Elizabeth Colbert, it’s a spine-tingling fact that
“The deepest splits in the human family aren’t between
What are usually thought of as different races – whites, say,
Or blacks, or Asians or native Americans. They’re between
African populations such as the Khoe-san and the pygmies,
Who spent tens of thousands of years separated from one another,
Even before humans left Africa”. In short,
“There’s more diversity in Africa than on all the other continents combined”.
The cradle of all civilisations, our primal womb, the Motherland,
A non-mythic Garden of Eden.
Not that this particular scientific fact, if known, would have resonated
With Morton, or with anyone else who instinctively just ‘knew’
That the white race deserved top billing in a bogus tribal hierarchy.
The fact that we are all one species, with one mutual evolutionary genesis,
Still remains an unpalatable, inconvenient truth for all dyed-in-the-wool
White supremacists, be they ‘Christian’ or ‘Nordic’ adherents of
Morton’s supportive theory, unwittingly or otherwise –
Howsoever its downright cranky methodology,
Its unverifiable test-retest reliability, and the flimsiness of its data-base.
Indeed, it’s doubtful that the majority of white racists apprehend,
Let alone comprehend, the implications of either Morton’s pseudo-science,
Or of the very real science of genetics, since neither make a scrap
Of difference in the continuing struggle between privileged Caucasian bigotry,
And an enlightened, liberal, one-planet-one-future world view.
For many, Blacks will always be dirty, Asians will always stink,
Arabs will always be thieves, Jews will always be monkeys,
And the Chinese and Japanese will always be slitty-eyed oddballs.
It’s perhaps worth mentioning that when that most upright,
And decent of white Democrats, Joe Biden, began his ‘run’
For the Presidency of the United States, in early two thousand and seven,
He described Barack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American
Who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”,
As if all African-Americans before Obama were somehow ugly,
Inarticulate, stupid, and – crucially (inevitably) – dirty.
Presumably, Senator Biden had forgotten all about Dred Scott,
Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Washington Carver, Jesse Owens,
W. E. B. Dubois, Paul Robeson, Duke Ellington, Sidney Poitier,
Harry Belafonte, Count Basie, James Earl Jones, Langston Hughes,
Thurgood Marshall, Nat King Cole, Medgar Evers, Emmet Till, Miles Davis,
Martin Luther King Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., Ray Charles, Alex Hayley, Quincey Jones,
Morgan Freeman, Colin Powell, Jesse Jackson, Muhammad Ali,

Jimi Hendrix, Arthur Ashe, Clarence Thomas, Al Sharpton, Stokely Carmichael,
Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, and so many others – not to mention

Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald,
Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Ella Baker, Patricia Bath,
Bessie Coleman, Mary McCloud Bethune, Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin,
Angela Davis, Alice Walker, Oprah Winfrey, Ida Bell Welles-Barnett,
Condoleezza Rice, Ruby Bridges, Michelle Obama, and so on:

The tip of the tip of a black American iceburg, which certain political figures
Would have preferred to sink without trace beneath murky, white waters.
Of course, Barack Obama chose to ignore Biden’s seeming insult,
And eventually offered him the position of Vice-President; an rare act,
That was both forgiving of his trespasses, and damned clever to boot.
There seems little point in retelling the story of white racism since the
First publications of Morton’s Crania Americana and Crania Aegyptiaca.
The last one hundred and seventy years have borne witness to the most
Horrific and degrading of crimes, committed by nation states,
Political parties, vigilante groups, and by individuals,
Against ‘inferior’ peoples and cultures, and all in the name
Of preserving the purity and superiority of a non-existent blood line,
Be it American, British, French, Belgian, German or Dutch.
From the enslavement of black Africans, to the genocidal acts committed
Against the First Nations and ‘Australian’ Aboriginals;
From the mass slaughter of Congolese, to the enforced starvation of Indians;
From the Third Reich, to US and Boer Apartheid;
From one holocaust, to another, to another, to another.
Over the last thirty years or so, in America and across Europe,
Conservativism has been systematically hijacked, derailed and
Re-programmed, by way of factional guerrilla warfare, until what once
Seemed suspect – beyond the political pale, even – has become
The accepted ‘norm’ of discourse and behaviour, with all who dare
To disagree with the new philosophical imperative, labelled as
Unpatriotic, traitorous, and ‘enemies of the people’ –
An imprecise, dangerous, weasel phrase, if ever there was one.
In broadly similar fashion, opponents of Hitler, from both within
And without the Reichstag, were condemned in the Nazi tabloid Der Sturmer;
As were the British judges who ruled that Parliament would need
To give final approval on any Brexit settlement –
Most notably by the Daily Mail, in a full-size, front page headline.
Indeed, the referendum on future membership of
The European Union triggered a wave of anti-foreign sentiment,
Palpably false statistics, and ludicrous xenophobic, nationalist claims,
Along the lines that Britain had become a vassal state;
An assertion which utterly ignored the actual facts of the matter,
But conveniently gave a platform to every gimlet-eyed,
Unelected newspaper proprietor and wealthy lobbyist,
With vested interests, across the land.
Misty-eyed appeals for the restoration of a golden age of Empire,
Dominated the media: an age where everyone knew their place,
And both indigenous peoples overseas, and white, working-class natives,
Gave grateful daily thanks to the presiding monarch, as they sang and whistled
In a terribly British, modest-but-contented kind of way.
A mythic deceit, on a grand scale, but as Joseph Goebbels,
Another admirer of ‘the will of the people’, once remarked, “A lie told once
Remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth”.
In the early hours of the morning, following the referendum result,
Mr Nigel Farage declared the ‘Leave’ vote was, “a victory for ordinary people,
A victory for decent people”, implying that the sixty-five percent
Who either voted ‘Remain’, or who didn’t vote at all, were somehow
Morally deviant, unpatriotic, or both.
As if what happened in the United Kingdom wasn’t indicative enough of
The chilling winds of change, less than six months later,
On November the eighth, two thousand and sixteen,
A mere twenty-six percent of eligible voters in the United States,
Either delighted, or bamboozled, by the question-begging slogan:
‘Make America Great Again (a euphemism for ‘Make America White Again’),
Elected, as their President, a semi-literate, inheritance billionaire,
And thus, the all-American cookie began to crumble…
Donald Trump…
Without wishing to understate the ‘obviously proven’,
Or overstate the ‘strongly suspected’,
Trump is, and always has been, a controversial figure.
Over the years, he’s demonstrated a remarkable capacity
For foot-in-mouth histrionics, more suited to the operatic stage,
Or to Greek tragedy, than at the helm of a mighty, turbulent nation,
Bristling with weapons, aimed at both its enemies and itself.
It’s certainly accurate to say he’s a womanising, pussy-grabbing,
Tenant-cheating, tax-evading, money-laundering, draft-dodging, wife-cheating,
Insult-hurling, loophole-exploiting, hush fund-maintaining, expert-baiting,
Fossil fuel-loving, climate change-denying, family-splitting, golf-playing,
Thin-skinned, orange-tinted, narcissistic, white supremacist, racist man-baby;
A creature who lies pathologically – up to six times a day, according to
Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning online fact checker.
Like Goebbels, and that other great humanitarian and philanthropist,
Adolf Hitler, Trump’s philosophy seems to be “If you tell a big enough lie,
And tell it repeatedly, it will be believed”.
He is also rather friendly towards a one-time KGB operative, who now
Rules the roost as President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.
Why Trump is so friendly with Putin, who is – technically, at least –
An enemy of the United States, is a bit of a mystery, except it’s not.
During the two thousand and sixteen race for the White House,
Trump urged Putin to ‘dig the dirt’ on Hlilary Clinton, via any emails
That could be found, in order to undermine her credibility, and
To categorically demonstrate her ‘crookedness’ to the American people.
It’s not clear whether Putin obliged him on that particular score,
Although the issue certainly cost Clinton votes, but what is clear
Is that Russian online meddling influenced the election’s outcome.
Whether actual collusion was involved or not, the fact is, Trump was Putin’s
Preferred choice as President, for any number of possible reasons.
In two thousand and thirteen, Trump visited Moscow on business.
It wasn’t the first time he’d done so, but on this particular occasion,
He found himself at the Ritz Carlton, an hotel much favoured
By President and Mrs Obama, and according to a secret dossier,
Prepared by the former British Intelligence Officer, Christopher Steele,
Trump hired two Russian prostitutes to urinate on their bed,
While he watched, an expression of delighted satisfaction on his face.
Trump had spent time and money attempting to prove that the President
Was not an American citizen (via the ‘birther’ campaign), only to be
Proved wrong, and subsequently humiliated, and this was a perverse way
Of getting his own back, of getting even.
Unfortunately for Trump, the room was under the control of the FSB –
The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation – complete with
Microphones and concealed cameras, and the entire episode was recorded.
If true, it means Putin has a video tape of one US President,
Symbolically defiling another US President: a dangerous position
For Trump to be in, since it leaves him vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
And even if the precise details are not wholly true, or the recording
Doesn’t exist, the fact that it sounds highly probable says a lot about
Trump’s tarnished integrity and his reputation for malignant behaviour.
What is certainly true is that when Putin and Trump meet,
They tend to share private time together, with only their respective
Translators in attendance – an altogether odd state of affairs
In the world of international diplomacy.
What is also certainly true is that when the current President met with
The Russian foreign minister and ambassador at the White House
In two thousand and seventeen, he revealed highly classified information,
Which jeopardised a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State –
Information considered so sensitive that details were withheld from allies,
And tightly restricted even within the American Government.
It’s worth mentioning, by way of comparison, that in nineteen fifty-three,
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed by the Federal Government,
For sharing highly classified information with the Soviets, concerning
Radar, sonar, jet propulsion engines, and nuclear weapons designs;
A treasonable act, for which the couple were duly, harshly punished.
Clearly, by two thousand and seventeen, acts of treason didn’t seem
To carry the same weight, since Trump’s actions weren’t deemed Illegal.
State officials argued that the President was perfectly entitled to reveal
Information he considered essential – his privileged prerogative, in fact.
However, such a seeming indiscretion raises questions concerning
His reasons for doing so, and the existence of the ‘pee-pee tape’ –
As it’s been dubbed by American journalists – could explain everything.
On the other hand, of course, maybe Trump was just letting his
Indiscreet, tiny mouth run away with him, since he’s a born show-off;
A notoriously vain, self-important braggadocio.
Once he was in office, Trump placed members of his immediate family
In positions of power within the White House, with the sixteen-strong
Executive Committee containing his daughter, Ivanka (with whom he
Seems to have a rather unhealthy, even creepy, obsession), his sons,
Eric and Donald Jr., and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner – not one of them
Qualified in any way, in terms of national or international politics,
But guaranteed to be loyal to the head of the family: in other words,
A quarter of Trump’s entire transition team comprised a self-contained
Mafia, within the highest echelon of government; a case of nepotism
Writ very, very large!
Trump knows a thing or two about the Mafia, since, despite his claim
As a young property developer to be “as clean as a whistle”,
His contacts with ‘the Mob’, despite repeated denials, are well known.
In his book, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, Wayne Barratt wrote
That Trump’s life “intertwines with the underworld”.
“There was a certain amount of mob association during which the father
And he were building which was very difficult to avoid in the New York
Construction world… He went out of his way not to avoid them,
But to increase them.”
From properties bought from known Mafioso, at twice the market price,
To the purchase of ready-mixed cement (as opposed to steel girders),
Owned and supplied by a Mafia cartel, for the construction of Trump Tower,
He’s benefitted from “a decades long and largely successful effort to limit
And deflect law enforcement investigations into his dealings with
Top mobsters, organized crime associates, labor fixers, corrupt union leaders,
Con artists and even a one-time drug trafficker whom Trump retained
As the head of his personal helicopter service”, according to
David Kay Johnson, in Politico Magazine.
There are, it seems, only two rules of business Trump adheres to:
“Be paranoid – because they are going to try to fleece you”, and
“Get even – even if somebody screws you, you screw ‘em back ten times over”.
The ‘deal’ is everything to him, and all is commodity.
In two thousand and eighteen, not content with bad-mouthing almost
Every other leader and country in the world (except Putin and Russia),
Trump finally got round to insulting the nations of Africa, along with Haiti,
And El Salvador, at a bipartisan meeting with a group of senators,
At the White House; his remarks being reported by a Democratic aide.
During a discussion on an agreed way forward with immigration,
Trump questioned, in ‘tough’ language, why America should accept
People from “all these shithole countries” – a remark which caused
Great offence to the countries concerned, and beyond.
Clearly, the President had no grasp of his, and everybody else’s,
Evolutionary heritage, which hardly comes as a surprise,
Given his racist credentials.
Without stretching a point, Trump simply ‘knows’ he’s a superior being,
Since he’s privileged, white, and, as he’s unsubtly put it, when challenged,
“I’m the President – you’re not”; and it’s this attitude that’s most concerning.
Woe betide anyone who questions his decisions, or his judgements,
Or his track record of lying at the drop of a hat, since he will react in
A more-or-less set pattern, a standard modus operandi, which begins with
Hurling abuse, followed by an accusation of acting against ‘the will
Of the people’, and finally suggesting that whoever disagrees with him
Is guilty of treason – hypocrisy on a grand scale, to be sure,
Given his blabber-mouth in front of the Russian foreign minister –
But much worse than hypocrisy is what it reveals about Trump’s
Perception of his elevated position and of his role: quite clearly,
He regards himself as infallible – blessed, undoubtedly,
By Samuel Morton’s white supremacist God.
This is a fascist tendency, which, if left unchecked, will, in his tiny, white,
Soiled hands, turn the all-American dream into a nightmare.
According to Carolus Linaeus, the fifth and lowest of the racial types
Is the Monstrosus; a sub-species of human, which comprises
Mythological entities (troglodyte, satyr, hydra, phoenix), and assorted
Physically malformed creatures, including the four-footed hairy mute,
Feral man, the wolf boy, the wild-girl of Champagne, and the Patagonian giant.
These sad freaks of Nature were all actually based on reportedly real
Men and women; the kind of men and women who, in the nineteenth century,
Found themselves the loci of voyeuristic entertainments, by way of
Travelling circuses and their attendant side-shows.
By no means do they prove or demonstrate the existence
Of a separate sub-species.
However, before condemning out of hand the general concept of Monstrosus,
It’s quite possible to view the category in an entirely different light.
Imagine instead, irrespective of its original racial classification,
That the Monstrosus is a generic term for similar types of human being,
Evident throughout history, across all civilisations.
A creature so misshapen and sunken in spirit, so over-weening and proud,
So confident of its own authority and mental acuity,
It barges its way through the world, like a bull in a china shop,
Oblivious to the damage it inflicts on all who stand in its path.
A creature which firmly believes it’s been chosen by the gods
To lead its loyal followers to a Promised Land of its own devising:
A mythic paradise, where success, or otherwise, depends
On complete compliance with the demands of the presiding Genius.
The human timeline is full of such creatures, and, regrettably,
Alarmingly, there are several in our midst at the moment.
As Samuel Morton’s body begins to twitch in its grave,
And his mighty Caucasian skull fills with a kind of curling, white smoke;
As neo- and pseudo-fascists become more and more tech-savvy,
And right-wing demagogues imperceptibly infiltrate mainstream media;
As all peoples who are not ‘like us’ – aliens, outsiders – find themselves
The easy targets of institutionalised racism, insulting daily banter,
And the blame for every ill known to human-kind, the Monstrosus
And one-man freak show who occupies the White House –
The President of the Dystopian States of Drumpfopolis –
Parks his ample white buttocks on a plush sofa in the Oval Office,
Consumes a Big Mac or two (with extra fries), slurps on his full sugar Coca Cola,
Casually scratches his white genitals, in order to put his tremendous brain
In gear, consults the Oracle which is Fox News, digests the Alt-Right ‘take’
On national and international events, stokes the bile, whips out his choice
Of communications device, and begins to tap, tap, tap…
Through a dark glass,
Dafyd ap Pedr

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