cover image Skin Deep: Journeys in the Divisive Science of Race

Skin Deep: Journeys in the Divisive Science of Race

Gavin Evans. Oneworld, $27.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-78607-622-9

In this extensively researched and clearly articulated work of popular scholarship, journalist Evans (Mapreaders and Multitaskers: Men, Women, Nature, Nurture) provides antiracists with responses to outdated, disproven, but nevertheless still-often-aired racist ideas. Evans dismantles a wide variety of claims, including that adapting to cold climates made Europeans more advanced than their African relatives, that Ashkenazi Jews are smarter than other races, and even that white men can’t jump. The main focus of the book is on various weak claims about race and intelligence: Evans ably demonstrates that the research meant to support race-based claims often confuses correlation with causation and ignores that more genetic difference exists within a given race than between members of different races. He spends a full chapter recounting the history of and rebutting the arguments of Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s 1994 book The Bell Curve and pushes back on other popular thinkers who endorse the studies he rejects, including Sam Harris, Andrew Sullivan, and Steven Pinker. This isn’t a page-turner, and it requires the airing of offensive theories in order to contradict them, but, for readers “who instinctively reject racism but who have not known how to fight back when confronted with its claims to scientific authority,” this is an extremely useful resource. [em](Aug.) [/em]