Superior: A Book Review

Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini

Book description:

An astute and timely examination of the re-emergence of scientific research into racial differences

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

At a time when racialized nationalisms are a resurgent threat throughout the world, Superior is a powerful reminder that biologically, we are all far more alike than different.

My thoughts:

One of the things I love about science is that it is impartial. There’s no room for emotions, no room for opinions. It’s just about the data – does it support your hypothesis or not.

Except that that is never really the case. If your hypothesis is deeply flawed, or as we see in this book, deeply rooted in the assumption of racial superiority, then the data will necessarily be skewed to reflect that. Any conclusion will be worthless.

And yet time and time again, research starts with this very premise. It didn’t start with the Nazis. Nineteenth century Europeans were especially good at high-blown rhetoric that concealed truly disgusting racism. What’s truly horrible is that it didn’t end with the Holocaust either, although you would think such a terrible result would have made humans forever wary of repeating such an atrocity. But in country after country around the world, science is still rewriting history to tell the story of one race’s superiority to another.

If you are one of those people, like I am, frustrated by people claiming that we live in “post-racial” world, that there is no discrimination, you will find lots of evidence to argue against that claim. Sadly, I doubt any of it will be convincing. If you refuse to listen to the stories of racism and hatred on the news, you won’t read this book either. And that’s a shame.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. However, my opinion remains my own.

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