Jon Entine on why ‘race’ matters in shaping the world’s elite athletes


In 2000, Jon Entine’s book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It, became an international bestseller and stirred immense controversy over its central premise: genes mean far more than cultural factors in determining who becomes the world’s top athletes—and key differences are linked to one’s ancestry—their ‘race’ in popular parlance.

Although the book addressed the untouchable—humans are not ‘blank slates’ for the environment to write upon and there are significant human differences as a result of ‘racial’ separation over time, the book received consistently positive reviews:

Scientific American wrote that Taboo was “well-researched, thorough and lucidly written.”

The Washington Post’s African-American reviewer gave it a glowing review, writing it “could be the most intellectually demanding sports book ever written.”


The New York Times called it “consistently interesting, readable, provocative.”

Sixteen years later, Stefan Molyneux of Freedomain Radio interviews Jon Entine about this seminal book in understanding the genetics of human differences. What does genetics tell us about what helps shape elite athleticism?

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is a senior fellow at the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, University of California-Davis. Follow @JonEntine on Twitter.

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