Whenever colleagues ask about the material I am working with on the intersection of the "classical" and scientific racism, I talk a lot about how theories like environmental determinism got connected to global capitalism and industrial technologies and then became the basis for rankings of peoples. Then I like to show them the ways these theories were popularized and became embedded in the fabric of American popular culture. Often, I point to the Chicago 1893 World's Exposition. But, the Louisiana Purchase Expo in St Louis in 1904 (connected to the 1904 Olympic games) was perhaps even more explicit. It too had a "White City" that was contrasted with hundreds of acres of human zoos of non-European peoples, including a 47-acre Filipino "reservation" intended to focus visitors' understanding of the Filipines as an imperial acquisition for exploitation of resources and where only some of the local population could be "saved" by education and assimilation under the "White Man's Burden." This stuff is pretty explicit, not hidden at all, so it isn't difficult to say with ample evidence that those scientists and politicians and financiers in charge of the fairs were openly White supremacist. It was accepted.
Anyway, I wanted to share one piece of evidence here because I thought it might be a useful visual for people to understand the infrastructure of American racism and how many of our prejudices were fed by popular entertainments. This is the front cover of volume 5 of the official guides to the Louisiana Expo along with the description.
Description: "The photograuve herewith is from an excellent specially prepared drawing which very accurately illustrates, as nearly as the science of ethnology is able to do, the characteristic types of mankind in a progressive order of development from primitive or prehistoric man to the highest example of modern civilization. The two central figures are symbolical, representing Intelligence, with the torch of Enlightenment and book of Wisdom, invading the darksome cave in which Ignorance skulks in companionship with bird of evil omen and superstition. It is aspiration lighting the dungeon of savagery and directing the race to better conditions, moral, intellectual, and social."