Angela Saini on the Return of Race Science

September 19, 2019

Even though there’s growing awareness that race is a social construct — it defies biological definition — it’s really hard to let go of a concept that feels so real. There’s also a temptation for progressive, more or less decent human beings, who wouldn’t consider themselves racist, to define racism as something that happens on the far right, among Neo-Nazis, the KKK, and people sporting MAGA hats.

Turns out that’s not the case. At all.

One of the most pervasive issues when it comes to race is the science. What does the history of race science have to do with today’s science on human variation? Why do modern scientists need to grapple with the legacy of racial definition and oppression? How does the centuries-old mythology of race impact the practice of medicine well into the 21st century?

On this episode of Point of Inquiry, Kavin Senapathy speaks with author Angela Saini about her book Superior: The Return of Race Science. The Telegraph advises “philosophically and historically uneducated scientists” along with those with “more murky motivations” to read this “brilliant and devastating” book.

Angela-Saini

Angela Saini is an independent British science journalist and author. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, The Times, Prospect, New Scientist, Science, New Humanist, Wired, Vogue, Stylist, and the Economist among others. She has won a number of national and international journalism awards.

While you’re here, we’d like to give a shout-out to the Guerilla Skeptics on Wikipedia. While Kavin was researching the episode, she realized that Superior didn’t have a page on Wikipedia. She alerted GSoW’s Rob Palmer and their team member Robin Cantin had a page up within 48 hours!

 

What was that great music you heard?

“Building the Sled” by Blue Dot Sessions / CC BY-NC 4.0

“Vittoro” by Blue Dot Sessions / CC BY-NC 4.0

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