Is Race a Fiction?—Adam Rutherford and Thomas Chatterton Williams in conversation

If you're looking for common ground between passionate antiracists and avowed white supremacists, look no further than the belief that whiteness or blackness are inherent essences possessed by certain people. For good or ill, there’s something about being white or about being black that is permanent, ineradicable, and inescapable.

These notions of whiteness and blackness have entered our conversations about race with remarkable speed. But are they accurate descriptions of reality? Here's a conversation with two writers who say no.

For half a lifetime, Thomas Chatterton Williams was strongly attached to the idea of his own blackness, but the arrival of his blond haired, blue eyed daughter shook up his categories. For geneticist Adam Rutherford, a deep dive into the genetic science data illumined some common myths about population differences and led to the discovery of some unexpected scientific arguments against racism.

Listen to Williams and Rutherford deconstruct our current way of talking about race over at The Spectator's Book Club podcast. Check out their new books as well: Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race and How to Argue with a Racist.

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