'Dangerous ideas': Author Angela Saini on the return of old-school scientific racism - 2019-06-11
If you were on Twitter following the People's Party of Canada (PPC) riding association in Burlington, Ont. last month, you may have done a double take and wondered, for a second, if you were somehow transported to an alternate-universe social-media site from 1919, not 2019.
A tweet from the organization on May 3, since deleted, espoused old-fashioned scientific racism of the rankest sort. In response to a user who tweeted, "We only have one race living on this planet: the human one," the person running the @BurlingtonPPC account responded that, actually, not all people are of the species homo sapiens; some are homo erectus, an extinct ancestor of modern humans. The account also posted a series of photos of people of different ethnicities, each one accompanied by an image of a skull and a old-timey racial term like "caucasoid," "mongoloid," or "negroid."
An outcry ensued, of course, and the person running the account lost their job. But as British science journalist Angela Saini reports in her new book, Superior: the Return of Race Science, this kind of scientific-sounding—but utterly unscientific—racism is enjoying a revival in politics and popular culture. She explained why so many people insist that humans fall into distinct, biological categories called "races," when the evidence overwhelmingly shows that to be false.