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Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides are Wrong in the Race Debate [Paperback]

Kenan Malik
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2009
Debates about race are back and they're only getting bigger. The US government has licensed a heart drug to be used only on African Americans. A pharmaceutical company is trialling a white-only anti-hepatitis drug. A genetic study claims that Jews are more intelligent because of their history of money lending. There has recently been a massive upsurge in scientific racial research, and in "Strange Fruit", Malik reveals this rise is paradoxically due to the efforts of liberal anti-racism; a movement that celebrates human difference over human commonalities. Navigating readers through the historical and scientific thinking on the subject, Malik shows that races are a social construct - they do not actually exist. Stressing that scientists should be allowed to study population differences without the distortions of political race debates, Malik provides a gripping and essential guide to understanding difference in a multicultural world.

Product details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; Reprint edition (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851686657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851686650
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 433,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Society changes, science moves on, but race remains the most uneasy and confused of topics. Cutting through the confusion, Kenan Malik's lucid and vivid account is essential reading for anybody who wants to think sensibly about race and human diversity." Marek Kohn, Journalist and author of The Race Gallery: The Return of Racial Science "Stripping away layers of pseudo-science and taken-for-granted prejudices, paying no dues to political correctness, he has written a penetrating critique." Adam Kuper, Professor of Anthropology, Brunel University, London "Kenan Malik delivers a withering critique of what he sees as the racial view of the world. In doing so his arguments are a challenge to all those who seek to better understand the continuing debates about race and racism in our changing global environment." --John Solomos, Head of the Sociology Department, City University, London and author of Race and Racism in Britain (2003)


"Strange Fruit:Why Both Sides Are Wrong in the Race Debate has ignited a firestorm of controversy within the scientific community...Malik's extended argument for recognizing the complexity of racial identification is well worth reading for the clarity and insight he brings to the discussion."

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the best book I have read covering a wide range of arguments concerning race. Malik reveals deep flaws in the arguments of both the race deniers and the race warriers. Rather than dismiss the concept out of hand he shows what the limits of its applicability should be. There are differences, for example, in the responsiveness of different human groups to different medicines. Even here, however he warns that these differences are not quite what they are usually thought to be. Thus sickle cell anaemia is not a black problem since the majority of blacks do not suffer from it. Furthermore some whites have the problem. Malik piles up a lot of detail on such issues and shows that only careful analysis which is not driven by dogmatic concepts of race (for or against).
The middle section of the book details the changing approaches to race since the Englightenment and should convince anyone who think that goodies and badies can be lined up by their response to simple questions that things are far more complicated than they imagine.
Finally in the last part of the book Malik shows who simplistic anti-racism has resulted in policies that reinforce racist views and inter-community problems.
The book is well researched and carefully argued. It should be read by every politician an journalist who is in any way concerned with issues of race.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A third way 15 April 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Malik begins with a discussion of race from a biological point of view. He clearly tends towards the fashionable viewpoint that race is not a valid biological concept, and seems to wish to perpetuate Lewontin's Fallacy. Although Malik demonstrates that there are indeed immense and apparently insurmountable difficulties in defining exactly what 'race' is, I don't feel that his argument that as a result the concept is invalid is conclusive. Just because we are unable to define such a concept rigorously doesn't mean that such categories can't exist at all, even in some fuzzy or naive sense. It feels a little like saying that life does not exist, because we haven't been able to agree upon a rigorous definition of what life is. Life clearly does exist, despite our failure to define it.

Malik progresses onto a discussion of European racism during the empire building and colonial period. One important part of his treatment which I think still has great relevance today, is how Europeans of the time had a tendency to treat black people who took part in the norms of European society as equals. Dress like us, speak like us, behave like us, we treat you exactly like one of us. What people call "racism" is actually more often "culturalism" as it were, and I think that this is very much the case in modern society.

Moving from the past to the present, Malik analyses the anti-racist movements of the modern day, and demonstrates how things have swung to the opposite pole entirely. Whereas 'racist' imperialist Europe allowed other races to become one of them by behaving like them, contemporary politically correct anti-racist movements do exactly the opposite.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very clear and readable study 21 Aug 2010
By Sarah A. Brown VINE VOICE
I don't have any specialist knowledge of the topic, but this certainly seemed a good overview of some of the debates surrounding race. Malik writes calmly and logically about the relationship between medicine/illness and `race', and seeks to demonstrate that some aspects of `antiracism' and multiculturalism can be seen as allied to, rather than distinct from, racism. Malik concludes with a critique of studies such as `The Bell Curve' which find a correlation between race and intelligence. I would have liked more still on this latter topic in fact. Sometimes I found myself thinking Malik almost *too* reasonable and logical - but I guess that's an error in the right direction.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neuropsychology of pain book 20 Feb 2012
Excellent book, delivered fast and in great condition. It will be very useful for understanding and thinking about the neuro-psychology of pain
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