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How to Argue With a Racist: What Our Genes Do (and Don't) Say About Human Difference (Hardcover)
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Race is not a biological reality.
Racism thrives on our not knowing this.
Racist pseudoscience is on the rise—fueling hatred, feeding nationalism, and seeping into our discourse on everything from sports to intelligence. Even the well-intentioned repeat stereotypes based on “science,” because cutting-edge genetics are hard to grasp—and all too easy to distort. Paradoxically, these misconceptions are multiplying even as scientists make unprecedented discoveries in human genetics—findings that, when accurately understood, are powerful evidence against racism. We’ve never had clearer answers about who we are and where we come from, but this knowledge is sorely needed in our casual conversations about race.
How to Argue With a Racist enables us to have responsible, enlightened discourse by illuminating what modern genetics actually can and can’t tell us about human difference. We know now that the racial categories still vexing society do not align with observable genetic differences. In fact, our differences are so minute that, most of all, they serve as evidence of our shared humanity.
About the Author
Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, science writer, and broadcaster. He studied genetics at University College London, and during his PhD on the developing eye, he was part of a team that identified the first known genetic cause of a form of childhood blindness. As well as writing for the science pages of The Guardian, he has written and presented many award-winning series and programs for the BBC, including the flagship weekly Radio 4 program Inside Science, The Cell for BBC Four, and Playing God (on the rise of synthetic biology) for the leading science series Horizon. He is also the author of How to Argue With a Racist, an incisive guide to what modern genetics can and can’t tell us about human difference; The Book of Humans, a new evolutionary history that explores the profound paradox of the “human animal”; A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and Creation, on the origin of life and synthetic biology, which was short-listed for the Wellcome Book Prize.
An International Bestseller
“A fascinating debunking of racial pseudoscience. . . . Engaging and enlightening.”—The Guardian
“Nobody deals with challenging subjects more interestingly and compellingly than Adam Rutherford, and this may be his best book yet. This is a seriously important work.”—Bill Bryson
“An earnest review proving that the concept of “race” has no basis in science. . . . An excellent overview of human genetics.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Smashes race myths that plague society.”—New Scientist
“Rutherford debunks [racism] brilliantly. What he shows, carefully and in detail, is that genetics, properly understood, doesn’t support any of this disgusting nonsense.”—UnHerd
“A fascinating and timely refutation of the casual racism on the rise around the world. The ultimate anti-racism guide.”—Caroline Criado-Perez, author of Invisible Women
“Short but impactful . . . Rutherford’s work provides ample ammunition to anyone wishing to use science to combat racial stereotypes.”—Publishers Weekly
“As timely as it is invigorating and important.”—Peter Frankopan, Oxford professor of global history
“Don’t get frenetic when racists cite genetics: just use hard science to prove them wrong.”—Evening Standard
“A counter-blast to those who would use science to justify prejudice.”—Tom Gatti, New Statesman
“Timely and accessible.”—The Bookseller, Editor’s Choice
“Poignant . . . A 21st-century manifesto for understanding human evolution and variation related to race. It is also a timely weapon against the misuse of science to justify bigotry and casual racism.”—Cosmopolitan
“This fascinating, illuminating, and original book on human evolution and development is essential reading in an age of false science, resurgent racism, and conspiracy theory—and the perfect antidote to racial bigotry.”—Simon Sebag Montefiore, historian and author of The Romanovs
“Lucid, enlightening, witty, and delightful.”—Kate Fox, codirector of the Social Issues Research Centre
“Adam Rutherford is the perfect writer to arm you with evidence.”—Claudia Hammond, author of Time Warped