Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini was an extremely thought provoking book. Reading it against the backdrop of the global pandemic made it even more poignant, as once again us in the West are being told that Black and Asian were dying at a significantly higher proportion than the majority of the UK population, when it is due to socio-economics that the disparities exist. This is apparent when you see the death rates, particularly in Africa and the Caribbean are not comparable (bar South Africa)
Despite the numerous examples of scientific theory presented through the book, it kept coming back to the conclusion that there is no scientific basis for racial differences. Consequently, those who use it to justify their racism and white supremacy need to corrected.
The dissection of each theory was greatly appreciated, as it really highlighted how ridiculous the hypotheses were. It’s saddening that the theories were allowed to get deep rooted in our society, as it has caused irreparable harm. The scientific thinking had me vexed (a lot has been debunked eg racial classifications etc) but the legacy lives on in the form of White Supremacy and racism.
I have to say I am extremely glad that I read the Kindle copy, as I wrote copious notes and highlighted paragraphs whilst reading. I am normally a bookmark with no dogeared corners kind of reader.
Race science had sat, always, at the intersection of science and politics, of science and economics. Race wasn’t just a tool for classifying physical difference, it was a way of measuring human progress, of placing judgement on the capacities and rights of others.
Saini, Angela. Superior: The Return of Race Science (p. 54). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.
I definitely recommend this book – as it looks at how people have used supposed racial differences to advance science, in other words eugenics. Will definitely give you a lot to think about.