The ever-mutating virus of racism, and whether it can be stopped

Reviews: Insightful and stark visions in Angela Saini's Superior, Skin Deep by Gavin Evans and Ibram X Kendi's How to be an Antiracist

Standing up to racism: civil-rights activists in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968

Standing up to racism: civil-rights activists in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968

Some years ago my GP took one look at me and said, “Indian origin, you must be susceptible to diabetes.” More recently, on another visit to my GP, to pick up medicine that had been prescribed by my consultant, the pharmacist checked online and said that my ethnic background mean the prescribed dosage was unsuitable. My consultant had to overrule her before I could take the medication.

Initially it worried me that referring to my ethnic origin on health issues seemed like a return to scientific racism. But when my GP explained I might be vulnerable to diabetes because of my Indian diet, I was reassured that it was not my genes but what took place in my kitchen that mattered. But while my doctors were not dabbling in scientific racism, race science can no longer be considered to have been consigned to the dustbin of history.

The Irish Times
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