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.

Tags: , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , ,