White man’s burden 2.0

Glen Newey at the London Review of Books’ blog:

Biometry and eugenics co-emerged partly because of the white man’s burden – the need to police native populations who all looked the same – and to align measurable physical characteristics with the divide between ‘fit’ and ‘unfit’ races (Galton advocated colonising Africa with Chinese immigrants to replace the indigenous ‘lazy, palavering savages’). Biometrics weathered the last century better than eugenics. As of now a new divide looms between the creditworthy, who can create their own virtual identities via ‘identity 2.0’ accreditation, and migrant populations whose identities get fixed biometrically, mainly in order to keep them out.

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