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Alondra Oubré

Science in Black and White Dust Jacket C


Alondra Oubré received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and her M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California (UC) at Berkeley, and Ph.D. in Anthropology and Medical Anthropology from UC Berkeley through the Joint Program In Medical Anthropology at the University of California School of Medicine and University of California at Berkeley. Based in Los Angeles, she has worked over the last 30 years primarily as a medical writer and biomedical research consultant for leading global pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies, as well as major healthcare institutions in the United States. Her publications have addressed diverse topics in biomedicine, plant drug research, and the nature-nurture debate over the ethnic populations disparities in the achievement gap and other social outcomes.


Science In Black and White

This unflinching expose of racially biased research—the Alt-Right's "scientific wing"—debunks both old and emerging claims of inborn racial disparities. Racial groups differ in some of their social patterns, but the cause of those differences—nature versus nurture, or genetics versus environment— remains fiercely debated.


For the pro-nature camp— sometimes aligned with white nationalism and eugenics, and often used to promote ideas of racial inferiority and superiority—race-based biological determinism contributes significantly to the ethnic divide, especially the black/white gap in societal achievement.


By contrast, pro-nurture supporters attribute ethnic variation in social outcomes primarily to environmental circumstances, ecological conditions, and personal experience. In this broadly researched book, science writer Alondra Oubré examines emerging scientific discoveries that show how both biology and environment interact to influence IQ—intelligence performance—and social behaviors across continental populations, or human races.


She presents compelling evidence for why environmental and certain non-DNA-related biological phenomena overall seem to best explain black/white disparities in a gamut of social behaviors, including family structure, parenting, educational attainment, and rates of violent crime. As she demonstrates, nature still matters, but the biology that impacts racial variance in social behaviors extends beyond genetics to include other processes—epigenetics, gene expression, and plasticity—all of which are profoundly affected by a wide array of environmental forces. The complex, synergistic interplay of these factors combined, rather than just genes or just environment, appears to account for black/white divergence in a gamut of social behaviors.

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