Superior by Angela Saini: Deconstructing race science

One of the most important aspects of history and what we’ve come to know of it has been shaped by those in power. From human zoos, slavery and exploitation at the hands of white supremacists, our realities are now blurred. This superiority one has about the color of our skin is propagated by well-to-do scientists who are influenced by racist ideologies of their ancestors.  Saini observes how our history has been fabricated and manipulated by people who had the reigns to rewrite our narrative. 

We’re undergoing a shift in our view of the world. The concept of ‘race’ has been debated time and time again. Many argue that humans differ on the basis of color because of innate qualities they possess. This is how racists justify moral superiority by implying race science into their ideology. Saini explores how ‘race’ as a concept is fairly new; it started off during the 18th century, morphing itself, coated with scientific facts by race scientists with their racial intellectualism, undermining the role genetics play. 

 Superior through a series of interviews with race scientists, substantial research, history and the author’s own experiences of growing up Indian in a white neighbourhood in London prove that race is a man-made reality, further encouraged by powerful people, who believed in hierarchy. I was appalled by the justification of owning slaves and the existence of human zoos where black people and indigenious folks were paraded in front of hundreds of people because of their physical differences. Mankind Quarterly, a right-wing racist journal propagating race science was started by a bunch of scientists in 1961 and is still in publication. Saini also highlights casteism, colorism in south-asian communities, their toxic influence and how the century-old system of caste superiority is still deeply rooted in the Indian society. 

Science is being used to explain our genetic differences, implying one is better than the other. It’s only possible because intellectual racism is being funded by authoritarian leaders who use their biases and prejudices to throw minorities and non-white people under the bus. Scientists must stop being enablers to racial intellectualism. This book, is an honest attempt, at revisiting history through an unbiased lens.

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