Skin Deep (Paperback)

Journeys in the Divisive Science of Race

By Gavin Evans

Oneworld Publications, 9781786078117, 384pp.

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (8/13/2019)
Compact Disc (8/27/2019)
MP3 CD (8/27/2019)

List Price: 17.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Everything you need to know about race (but were afraid to ask).

MYTH: Early Europeans were white.

REALITY: The first Europeans had dark skin, black, curly hair and blue eyes.

MYTH: Between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago, a ‘cognitive revolution’ led to the birth of culture in Europe.

REALITY: Modern intelligence evolved tens of thousands of years earlier, leading to the birth of culture in Africa.

Does racism have a rational basis in science?

In Skin Deep, Gavin Evans tackles head-on the debate that has been raging on internet message boards and in academic journals. No longer limited to the fringe, race-based studies of intelligence have been discussed by thinkers such as Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson. If these studies were true, they would provide an intellectual justification for inequality and discrimination.

Examining the latest research on how intelligence develops and laying out new discoveries in genetics, palaeontology, archaeology and anthropology to unearth the truth about our shared past, Skin Deep demolishes the pernicious myth that our race is our destiny and instead reveals what really makes us who we are.

About the Author

Gavin Evans was born in London and grew up in Cape Town, where he became intensely involved in the anti-apartheid struggle. He studied economic history and law before completing a PhD in political studies, writing extensively on race and racism. He lectures in the Culture and Media department at Birkbeck College, London, and broadcasts regularly for the BBC World Service and is a keen marathon runner.

Praise For Skin Deep: Journeys in the Divisive Science of Race

‘a thorough overview and detailed critique of contemporary "race science," and a poignant description and assessment of scientific racism… an easy-to-read overview of the latest academic research in genetics, evolutionary anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology that explains disparities in human intelligence… but not in terms of the construct “race.” As a seasoned science journalist, Evans explains complex concepts and theories with clarity and precision, and he brings moments of levity to this challenging subject matter.’
— Choice

‘A world in thrall to far-right politics and ethnic nationalism demands vigilance. We must guard science against abuse and reinforce the essential unity of the human species. I am grateful that in Evans we have someone conscientious, brave and willing to do that.’
— Nature

‘With the probability that existing political and social tensions will be exacerbated by climate change, rising migration and conflicts over resources, these kinds of books are sorely needed.’
— Literary Review

‘Excellent! In Skin Deep, Gavin Evans lucidly and comprehensively demolishes the rationale and evidence of the so-called “race science” employed by some of our most privileged and respected scholars.’
— Stephen Oppenheimer, author of Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World and The Origins of the British

‘Well-researched and richly rewarding, Skin Deep methodically dismantles the quackery and junk science that seeks to justify economic inequality by appeals to racial difference. Given the insidious rise of pseudoscientific racism, Skin Deep is timely and urgent, its patient scholarship a fine antidote to the quackocracy’s shrill rhetoric. In this spirit it will appeal to readers who enjoyed Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science and I Think You’ll Find It’s A Bit More Complicated Than That.’
— Robert Newman, comedian and author

‘This book contains a wealth of information, old and new, about race and its underlying genetics. Everyone interested in the distinction between knowledge and prejudice in this sensitive and challenging subject should read it.’
— Jonathan Bard, Emeritus Professor, University of Edinburgh, and author of Principles of Evolution

‘Give it up for Gavin Evans’s thorough and timely teardown of racial myths… This triumphant volume debunks such popular fallacies as race-based IQ differences, jumping genes, and predictable variations in brain size and development across different – and arbitrary – racial categories… The best defense against misinformation is knowledge, and Skin Deep is an invaluable tool to add to your arsenal.’
— Foreword reviews

‘[An] extensively researched and clearly articulated work of popular scholarship.’
— Publishers Weekly