What Are You?
'Behind every racist joke is a scientific fact' – alt-right blogger Milo Yiannopoulos, 2016
Weaving rich history, on-the-ground reporting and fresh, critical analysis, a books that shines a fresh perspective on one of the most important issues of our time.
As the world once more teeters between far-left and far-right ideologies, when race has come into sharp focus through movements such as Black Lives Matter and fresh debates about the legacies of slavery and colonialism, it is more important than ever to recognize the risk of confusing the lived, social and cultural reality of race with the biological myth.
In What Are You? the acclaimed science writer Angela Saini explores how science created the idea of race and fanned the flames of racism, as well as how modern genetics, medicine, psychology and anthropology are failing to destroy these old ideas and sometimes even perpetuating them. It is a sordid, ugly story, one of intellectual failure and abuse.
Showing how a catalogue of bad science has shaped all our lives, Saini argues that biological race is an idea that desperately needs to be shelved, both in science and in our everyday lives. Not just because it matters to how we live, but also because good science really does show that there is little to divide us biologically besides individual difference.
For a new generation obsessed by identity politics, this is an urgent reminder of a story that has been forgotten. It is an account that desperately needs to be re-told in a clear, accessible, personal way. Using firsthand interviews with race scientists on all sides of the divide, and those who are fighting to have race removed as a way of categorizing people in science, medicine and genetics, What Are You? reveals just what a scientific nonsense race really is, and yet how dangerous a concept it remains.