If anything, the public debate around race and science has sunk into the mud. To state even the undeniable fact that we are one human species today means falling afoul of a cabal of conspiracy theorists.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-07-30 17:22Z by Steven

If anything, the public debate around race and science has sunk into the mud. To state even the undeniable fact that we are one human species today means falling afoul of a cabal of conspiracy theorists. The “race realists,” as they call themselves online, join the growing ranks of climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers and flat-earthers in insisting that science is under the yoke of some grand master plan designed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. In their case, a left-wing plot to promote racial equality when, as far as they’re concerned, racial equality is impossible for biological reasons.

Angela Saini, “The Internet Is a Cesspool of Racist Pseudoscience,” Scientific American, July 29. 2019. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/the-internet-is-a-cesspool-of-racist-pseudoscience/.

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The Internet Is a Cesspool of Racist Pseudoscience

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2019-07-30 16:28Z by Steven

The Internet Is a Cesspool of Racist Pseudoscience

Scientific American
2019-07-29

Angela Saini

The Internet Is a Cesspool of Racist Pseudoscience
Credit: Getty Images

The author of Superior: The Return of Race Science knows this from firsthand experience

Last month, I temporarily deactivated my Twitter account following a colossal dump of racist abuse into my feed, including a man in Texas whipping up his followers to phone into an NPR radio show on which I was a guest to ask about “white genocide.” Others played a guessing game around my skin color in the belief this would help them gauge my IQ. On YouTube, one of the editors of Mankind Quarterly, a pseudoscientific journal founded after the Second World War to argue against desegregation and racial mixing, imitated me by dressing up in an “Indian shirt” (I am British; my parents were born in India). The comments underneath said I should I go back to where I came from.

It’s just another day online.

The abuse I’ve seen isn’t unusual. Others receive worse, especially if they are in the public eye. My particular crime was to have written a well-reviewed popular science book about why racial categories are not as biologically meaningful as we think and how, in fact, they have been used to justify slavery and the Holocaust. These are ideas so widely accepted in mainstream academia that it should be blandly uncontroversial to repeat them. Yet to read some of the comments I’ve received, one might imagine I was hopelessly deluded…

Read the entire article here.

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Is ‘Race Science’ Making A Comeback?

Posted in Articles, Audio, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-07-16 00:43Z by Steven

Is ‘Race Science’ Making A Comeback?

Code Switch: Race and Identity Remixed
National Public Radio
2019-07-10

Shereen Marisol Meraji, Host/Correspondent

Gene Demby, Lead Blogger

Jess Kung, Intern


Angela Saini, author of Superior: The Return of Race Science.
Henrietta Garden

When Angela Saini was 10 years old, her family moved from what she called “a very multicultural area” in East London to the almost exclusively white Southeast London. Suddenly her brown skin stood out, making her a target. She couldn’t avoid the harassment coming from two boys who lived around the corner. One day, they pelted her and her sister with rocks. She remembers one hit her on the head. She remembers bleeding.

There had been racist comments before that, she says, “but that was the first time that someone around my own age had decided to physically hurt me. And it was tough.”

It was also one of the first stories she reported, writing about the incident and reading it out for class. She says that’s what made her a journalist.

Saini is now an award-winning science journalist, often reporting on the intersection of science, race and gender. Her latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, tracks the history and ideology of race science up to its current resurgence…

Read the story here. Download the story (00:22:14) here.

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There’s No Such Thing as Objective Science

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-06-11 00:43Z by Steven

There’s No Such Thing as Objective Science

Bitch Media
2019-05-20

Abaki Beck


Illustration of Saartjie Baartman (Wikimedia Commons)

Scientific racism led to the Holocaust and to the forced sterilization of hundreds of women of color in the United States in the 20th century. And yet it’s still overwhelmingly considered neutral, nonpartisan, and, for all intents and purposes, fact. Though these aforementioned horrors are now considered outliers that have been confronted and fixed, science journalist Angela Saini’s third book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, makes the compelling case that scientific racism is as prevalent as it has ever been, and explores the way such backward beliefs have continued to evolve and persist. And it couldn’t be more timely: The book comes out as white nationalism surges across Europe and America deals with a president who routinely makes racist remarks, including referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as “shitholes.”

While researching the book, Saini traveled the world examining how concepts of race developed everywhere from human zoos in Paris to the horrors of the Nazi regime to contemporary American researchers in search of a “Black gene.” What she concludes is depressingly simple: Science intentionally created, and continues to recreate, race. “There are plenty of ignorant racists, but the problem is not just ignorance,” she writes. “The problem is that, even when people know the facts, not everyone actually wants an end to racial inequality. And this means that those committed to the biological reality of race won’t back down if the data prove them wrong.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Biologically, We Are All Far More Alike Than Different

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2019-06-06 14:59Z by Steven

Biologically, We Are All Far More Alike Than Different

Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press
Boston, Massachusetts
2019-06-04

Christian Coleman, Associate Digital Marketing Manager

A Q&A with Angela Saini

Why are we seeing a resurgence of race science in the twenty-first century? Weren’t we supposed to be over this after World War II? The notion of “race” has been debunked in the world of science and is understood to be a social construct, but the idea of research-based racial differences is still with us—and has been with us since The Enlightenment. Science journalist Angela Saini tells this disturbing history in Superior: The Return of Race Science. Our blog editor Christian Coleman caught up with her to ask her about her book, the inspiration for it, and how to recognize the subtle signs of race science today.

Christian Coleman: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind writing Superior.

Angela Saini: For me, this is a book that has been bubbling since I was a child. I became a journalist in the first place because I became involved in antiracism movements at university while studying Engineering. But the time for this book was now, with the rise of the far-right and ethnic nationalism around the world. I wanted to put the rise of intellectual racism in historical and scientific context…

CC: What are some subtle examples of how we buy into the belief of biological racial differences today?

AS: I think it happens most clearly in medicine and DNA ancestry testing. When doctors tell us that certain groups are more susceptible to certain illnesses, without making clear that this may sometimes just be for cultural or socioeconomic reasons, it suggests we are biologically different. When firms say they can tell us where we are from by analysing our spit, without explaining how they do this or what it actually means, they also reinforce the idea of biological race…

Read the entire interview here.

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The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2019-05-21 16:03Z by Steven

The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism

Smithsonian.com
2019-05-20

Ramin Skibba


Nazi officials use calipers to measure an ethnic German’s nose on January 1, 1941. The Nazis developed a pseudoscientific system of facial measurement that was supposedly a way of determining racial descent. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection / CORBIS / Corbis via Getty Images)

A new book explores how racist biases continue to maintain a foothold in research today

Scientists, including those who study race, like to see themselves as objectively exploring the world, above the political fray. But such views of scientific neutrality are naive, as study findings, inevitably, are influenced by the biases of the people conducting the work.

The American sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois once wrote, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” His words were borne out, in part, by science. It was the century when the scientifically backed enterprise of eugenics—improving the genetic quality of white, European races by removing people deemed inferior—gained massive popularity, with advocates on both sides of the Atlantic. It would take the Holocaust to show the world the logical endpoint of such horrific ideology, discrediting much race-based science and forcing eugenics’ most hardline adherents into the shadows.

The post-war era saw scientists on the right-wing fringe find ways to cloak their racist views in more palatable language and concepts. And as Angela Saini convincingly argues in her new book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, published May 21 by Beacon Press, the “problem of the color line” still survives today in 21st-century science.

In her thoroughly researched book, Saini, a London-based science journalist, provides clear explanations of racist concepts while diving into the history of race science, from archaeology and anthropology to biology and genetics. Her work involved poring through technical papers, reports and books, and interviewing numerous scientists across various fields, sometimes asking uncomfortable questions about their research…

Read the entire article here.

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Superior: The Return of Race Science

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice on 2019-05-21 15:17Z by Steven

Superior: The Return of Race Science

Beacon Press
2019-05-21
272 pages
Size:6 x 9 Inches
Cloth ISBN: 978-080707691-0

Angela Saini

Superior tells the disturbing story of the persistent thread of belief in biological racial differences in the world of science.

After the horrors of the Nazi regime in World War II, the mainstream scientific world turned its back on eugenics and the study of racial difference. But a worldwide network of intellectual racists and segregationists quietly founded journals and funded research, providing the kind of shoddy studies that were ultimately cited in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s 1994 title The Bell Curve, which purported to show differences in intelligence among races.

If the vast majority of scientists and scholars disavowed these ideas and considered race a social construct, it was an idea that still managed to somehow survive in the way scientists thought about human variation and genetics. Dissecting the statements and work of contemporary scientists studying human biodiversity, most of whom claim to be just following the data, Angela Saini shows us how, again and again, even mainstream scientists cling to the idea that race is biologically real. As our understanding of complex traits like intelligence, and the effects of environmental and cultural influences on human beings, from the molecular level on up, grows, the hope of finding simple genetic differences between “races”—to explain differing rates of disease, to explain poverty or test scores, or to justify cultural assumptions—stubbornly persists.

At a time when racialized nationalisms are a resurgent threat throughout the world, Superior is a rigorous, much-needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science—and a powerful reminder that, biologically, we are all far more alike than different.

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