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Black Brain, White Brain

Over the last decade the media have given new life to an old idea – one at least as old as colonialism and slavery: that intelligence is defined by race and, more specifically, that white and Asian people are innately smarter than black people.

The prime sources for these successive waves of publicity are psychologists but a handful or renegade scientists, pop science writers and journalists have joined the throng.

Gavin Evans demonstrates why they are wrong – that their ideas are based on an out-of-date understanding of genetics, on a profound ignorance of the African anthropological record and a misplaced faith in the idea that IQ tests measure hardwired general intelligence, and that average IQ scores of different populations can be fruitfully compared.

Black Brain, White Brain shows that there are no hardwired differences in intelligence or character between the races, and that human brainpower has probably not evolved for 100,000 years.


`Punchy and perceptive, Evans’ passionate and wide-ranging debunking of hereditarian views of race in areas ranging from archaeology to IQ and sport deserves a wide readership.’

Professor Saul Dubow, University of London

‘Smart, accessible and stimulating, Black Brain White Brain is by far the most important book yet written to systematically debunk society’s lingering attachments to race science and its pet topics of intelligence, genetics and civilization. Black Brain White Brain should be required reading in every undergraduate university course, in every high school and in every home.’

Professor Jonathan Jansen, University of the Free State

'Gavin Evans studied economic history and law, has a PhD in politics and has worked as a journalist for 25 years. He has read widely on evolutionary biology, palaeontology, biological anthropology, archaeology, neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. He needed all this for his latest book, Black Brain, White Brain. It plunges deep into the world of racist science and demolishes its myths quickly and smartly.'

Rehana Rossouw, Business Day

‘The title of Gavin Evans' new work, Black Brain, White Brain: Is intelligence skin deep? is seemingly problematic. Surely we know the answer to that question? Evidently not. Spend a few moments with this valuable and indeed welcome work and it becomes quite clear there are a lot of supposedly learned folk out there who, frankly, should know better.’

Andrew Donaldson, The Times

‘Gavin Evans, journalist and author of Black Brain, White Brain: Is intelligence skin deep? is more au fait with scientific racism, having grown up and worked in apartheid South Africa where "science" was used to justify white superiority. … Evans lays out the reason he believes science does not support the idea that intelligence is determined by race, with an impressive list of scientific references and interviews to back up his rationale.'

Sarah Wild, Mail & Guardian.

'A new book by Hornsey author, journalist and Birkbeck media studies lecturer Gavin Evans is aiming to debunk the idea that white and Asian people are innately smarter than black people. Black Brain, White Brain: Is intelligence skin deep? took two years to write and is partly inspired by his experiences of growing up in South Africa where he fought against apartheid.'

Laura Enfield, This is Local London

'Over the course of 300 well-written and accessible pages [this book] answers its own subtitle in the negative. Intelligence is definitely not a matter of skin tone, hair texture or any of the other phenotypical features used to classify human beings into race groups.’

T O Molefe,

'Ripping apart theories about the link between race and intelligence, Evans is able to decipher fact from fiction and illustrate how history has shaped perceptions of races. The years of thinking about race and racism have paid off through this book, in which he skilfully pulls apart scientific rhetoric and discredits historical allegations about the diminutive intelligence of "inferior" races.'

Devon Koen, Weekend Post.

'In Black Brain, White Brain: Is intelligence skin deep? Evans evaluates mountains of research by both racist scientists and the mainstream researchers who have debunked the myths, in an accessible and engaging way. The book is methodical and meticulous (there are 14 pages worth of footnotes and citations) in its explanations but still reads easily. … As someone who is not a fan of the non-fiction genre, I found this a fascinating read.'

Andrea van Wyk, Rant and Rave Review.

'The link between race and IQ is as clear as mud says … journalist and author Gavin Evans in his new book Black Brain, White Brain … [which] has been generating  a lot of interesting since its publication earlier this year. …As well as a doctorate in politics, he is also well-read on subjects as surprisingly diverse as evolutionary biology, palaeontology, biological anthropology, archaeology, neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, all of which must help in exploring such as controversial subject.'

Gillian McAnish, Times Media Limited

'Evans debunks racist science and centuries-old beliefs that Africans are predisposed to being less intelligent than their European counterparts.'

Devon Koen, EP Herald

“Evans uses evolutionary psychology and biology, anthropology, neuroscience, archaeology, and paleontology to the uncover the myths/truths about intelligence amid external racial makeup and class structures. Among the truths are the efficacy of separated identical twin studies to analyze in-utero development, average household income, heritability, and environmental factors on intelligence; Howard Gardner's theory of 8 intelligences; meaningful symbolic cave art present in different parts of the globe; and corrected, undiluted timelines for civilization vs 'barbarism,' while some of the myths are measurable IQ tests as a restrictsome ruse, the fallacy of brain mass and weight, Cyril Burt and innate intelligence testing, and discriminating assumptions about remote/backwoods/peasant populations.”

Kristine Fisher – Reviewer

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