In most history books, Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering America, hence the observance of Columbus Day. But FSU professor Gary Taylor has taken Columbus' achievement a step further, contending Columbus also discovered the concept of race.
Taylor says, "Not on Columbus' first voyage, but his third voyage in 1498. He went to Sierra Leone, then he traveled from there to Trinidad."
It was during this voyage Taylor says Columbus recorded a difference in races not based on location to the sun.
"In Sierra Leone, people were very black. He went west and the people were white. He called them white. That shouldn't have happened according to theory. The theory was that it was all a matter of where you lived in relation to the Equator," says Taylor.
In Taylor's new book titled "Buying Whiteness" he says Columbus' discovery of race basically opened the door to many racist theories about radical biological differences between people.
Taylor explains, "Columbus didn't have the modern racial categories of Negroid, Caucasoid and Mongoloid. These were developed in the 18th, 19th century."
Taylor says his research has garnered both praise and criticism. "Buying Whiteness" is part two of a series entitled "Signs of Race," of which Taylor serves as general editor.