Dr. Sandra Soo-Jin Lee: Toward a More Precise Genetics

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2017-03-25 20:30Z by Steven

Dr. Sandra Soo-Jin Lee: Toward a More Precise Genetics

Guernica / a magazine of global arts & politics
2017-02-27

Lynette Chiu
Brooklyn, New York

The medical anthropologist on the imperative to move beyond race in genetic research and the explanatory power of life experience and inequality.

For decades, the idea that excavating the genetic origins of disease could transform treatment of the body has lived in the sea of public imagination, buoyant but as yet unrealized. The Human Genome Project, a landmark initiative undertaken between 1990 and 2003, identified and analyzed all the genes found in humans, and sowed the potential for new understanding of major illnesses. It engendered hope of a future in which genetic makeup could be the primary factor in determining a person’s care. Researchers could make endless shapes out of a sandbox of data that was blind to race—that problematic and omnipresent variable in the biomedical sphere.

But it is not a simple thing to scrub race from human tissue samples or from the minds of the experts seeking answers, and it remains stubbornly inextricable from genetic research. Investigating the history, intricacies, and implications of this is Dr. Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, a medical anthropologist and senior research scholar at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University, who has been studying the role of race in genomic science since the late 1990s. One of her principal interests is biobanks—the various repositories of samples that scientists turn to to test their hypotheses. She identifies them as chronicles of society’s evolving efforts to distinguish between groups; the sorting and labeling of their contents are a collision of the biological and the sociopolitical. The result is the physical matter of thousands upon thousands of individuals demarcated by an inconsistent jumble of terms such as “nationality,” “ethnicity,” and “skin color.”.

In her 2015 paper “The Biobank as Political Artifact: The Struggle Over Race in Categorizing Genetic Difference,” published in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Dr. Lee is forthright about the dangers of genetic studies built around samples identified by race. “The unqualified racial labeling of DNA that strips genes of the social context and experience of those who have donated these materials,” she writes, “allows for a pendulum shift in scientific discourse that racializes genes.” Race can end up standing in for factors, such as diet and environment, that go unaccounted for in gene-focused studies. The subsequent findings can then trickle down to affect how we explain differences in disease burden, create health policy, and progress toward eliminating health disparities between populations. With the term “precision medicine” on the rise, referring to a care model that translates insights around genetic variation into clinical practice, the need to inspect and augment how those insights come about has grown more urgent…

Read the entire article here.

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How U.S. Law Inspired the Nazis

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-25 20:13Z by Steven

How U.S. Law Inspired the Nazis

The Chronicle Review
The Chronicle of Higher Education
2017-03-19

Marc Parry, Senior Reporter


Asian immigrants in the late 1920s await processing in an internment center in San Francisco. AP Images

It started with Mein Kampf. James Q. Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale University, was researching a legal-history question when he pulled Adolf Hitler’s mid-1920s manifesto from the shelf. What jumped out at Whitman was the admiration that Hitler expressed for the United States, a nation that the future Führer lauded as “the one state” that had made progress toward establishing a healthy racial order. Digging deeper, Whitman discovered a neglected story about how the Nazis took inspiration from U.S. racial policies during the making of Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, the anti-Jewish legislation enacted in 1935. That history is the focus of Whitman’s new book, Hitler’s American Model (Princeton University Press). The interview that follows has been edited and condensed…

You also write that some Nazis felt that the American legal example went too far. The Nazis were very interested in the way Americans classified members of the different races, defining who counted as black or Asian or whatever it might be. And there, in particular, the most far-reaching Nazi definition of who counted as a Jew was less than what you found in almost any American state. The most far-reaching Nazi definition, which dates to 1933, held that a Jew was anybody who had one Jewish grandparent. There were a few American states that made the same provision with regard to blacks. But most of them went much further than that. At the extreme, American states had what’s called the one-drop rule. That is, one drop of black blood makes you black…

Read the entire interview here.

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EXCLUSIVE: Bruno Mars Opens Up About the Loss of His Mother

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-23 00:02Z by Steven

EXCLUSIVE: Bruno Mars Opens Up About the Loss of His Mother

Latina
2017-01-30

Jesus Trivino

Photographs by John Russo

MR. EVERYTHING

Bruno Mars redefines what it means to be a Latino man.

BRUNO MARS DOESN’T WALK; HE GLIDES.

It’s as if he’s perpetually ready to perform a Motown-style choreography set in front of tens of millions watching the Super Bowl (which he has done twice in the past four years)—even easing his way into a suburban L.A. pizza parlor, where moments earlier, his sexy, chart-topping 2012 hit, “Locked Out of Heaven,” was on blast, as if anticipating his appearance. Mars just has that aura. His outfit is straight Fania-era salsa/blaxploitation swag—Gucci cap over his curls; sunglasses; an open shirt, floral and teal; tan shorts; dress shoes (no socks, to accentuate those smooth legs); and minimal gold jewelry. He orders a plain slice, which he sprinkles with garlic powder, and a root beer. It’s obviously a joint he frequents, since he knows all the fellas by name, and the workers aren’t taken aback by the superstar in their midst. He walks to an open booth, wolfs down his food, controlling his urge to eat six more slices, he jokes, and proceeds to be the smoothest cat to ever have lunch at an old-school checkered-tablecloth pizzeria.

Mars learned about charm, confidence, and estilo early in life. “My whole sense of rhythm is because my dad was teaching me bongos as a kid,” he says of his father, Pedro Hernandez. “He’s an old-school working musician, so that’s where the pinky rings come from, the patent-leather shoes, the suits, and the pompadour. It all stems from watching my father. I remember at the time, me and my sisters would be a little embarrassed when he would take us to school in his big-ass Cadillac. No one had

Cadillacs in Hawaii. But my dad would show up in some boat-looking Caddy wearing some silky shit, and we’d run out into the car as soon as possible. And here I am wearing the swap-meet gold, driving Cadillacs,” he says with a laugh…

…But before he was Bruno Muhfuckin’ Mars, he was E-Panda’s lil’ bro, Peter Hernandez, born and bred in Hawaii to a beautiful Filipina and Spanish mom and Puerto Rock and Jewish papi from Brooklyn. His childhood musical career is well-documented on YouTube— at 4, he was the cutest Elvis Presley impersonator ever, performing with his family for oohing-and-ahhing tourists in Waikiki. As the years passed and his skills developed, Mars found himself dealing with racial-identity issues in the multicultural 50th state. “Growing up in Hawaii, there are not too many Puerto Ricans there,” says Mars, “so because of my hair, they thought I was black and white.”

The idea of not being easily categorized is something Mars has dealt with his entire life. When he moved to Los Angeles at 18 to make a serious go in the music industry, record label executives asked, “What are you? Are you urban? Are you Latin?”

“There are a lot of people who have this mixed background that are in this gray zone,” he says, leaning forward to make his point. “A lot of people think, ‘This is awesome. You’re in this gray zone, so you can pass for whatever the hell you want.’ But it’s not like that at all. It’s actually the exact opposite. What we’re trying to do is educate people to know what that feels like so they ’ll never make someone feel like that ever again. Which is a hard thing to do. Because no one can see what we see and no one can grow up with what we grew up with. I hope people of color can look at me, and they know that everything they’re going through, I went through. I promise you.”…

Read the entire article here.

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How Biracial Identity Affects Behavior

Posted in Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2017-03-22 15:07Z by Steven

How Biracial Identity Affects Behavior

The State of Things
WUNC 91.5, North Carolina Public Radio
2017-03-21

Charlie Shelton, Producer

Phoebe Judge, Host/Reporter


Sarah Gaither is an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University
Credit Duke University

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with psychology and neuroscience professor Sarah Gaither about biracial identity and behavior.

Sarah Gaither is interested in how growing up with multiple racial identities shapes one’s social perceptions and behaviors.

Gaither is an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, and her work explores how racial and gender diversity can facilitate positive relationships within different social circles…

Listen to the interview (00:17:29) here.

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Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Communications/Media Studies, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2017-03-19 15:45Z by Steven

Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity

Conversations with Tyler
Mercatus Center at George Mason University
2017-03-15

Tyler Cowen, Host and Professor of Economics
George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia


Credit: Caren Louise Photographs

Journalist, author, and podcaster Malcolm Gladwell joins Tyler for a conversation on Joyce Gladwell, Caribbean identity, satire as a weapon, Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden, Harvard’s under-theorized endowment, why early childhood intervention is overrated, long-distance running, and Malcolm’s happy risk-averse career going from one “fur-lined rat hole to the next.”

Listen to the interview (01:32:11) here. Read the transcript here.

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Interview with Genarao Kỳ Lý Smith on “The Land Baron’s Sun”

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Interviews, Media Archive on 2017-03-19 01:47Z by Steven

Interview with Genarao Kỳ Lý Smith on “The Land Baron’s Sun”

Interminable Rambling
2015-12-10

Matthew Teutsch

Last post, I wrote about Genarao Kỳ Lý Smith’s The Land Baron’s Sun. Today, I am sharing a recent interview I conducted with Smith. In the video above, Smith talks more about his grandfather and reads two poems from The Land Baron’s Sun.

In the acknowledgements of The Land Baron’s Sun, you write about Darrell Bourque telling you that your grandfather’s “story needs to be heard” because it is an important story to everyone. What makes Lý Loc’s story so significant?

Lý Loc came from a privileged life: inherited land from his father who was only known as the land baron (to this day, my mother does not know his name), had seven wives, twenty-seven children, seven houses (1 per wife), mistresses to go with each wife; he was a major commander for the South Vietnamese Army.  When the Fall of Saigon occurred, he lost everything to the point of writing my mother a few years later asking for money, food, medicine, and clothes.  It is a tragic story that needs to be told.  The idea of someone who had it all to living as a pauper is and has always been an intriguing story.  Also, had I not known about his seven wives or his privileged lifestyle, his story would have died with my mother.  The goal therefore was to resurrect his life, the lives of his wives and their children.  The purpose of writing the book was to leave his legacy.  I simply did not want him to die…

Read the entire interview here.

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11 People in Interracial Relationships on the Intense Experience of Watching Get Out

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-16 01:16Z by Steven

11 People in Interracial Relationships on the Intense Experience of Watching Get Out

New York Magazine
2017-03-14

Ana Silman, Culture Writer


Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out. Photo: Justin Lubin/Universal Studios

Get OutJordan Peele’s acclaimed horror-comedy about a black man who finds himself in a nightmare while visiting his white girlfriend’s suburban family — is the kind of film that gets under your skin, using horror-film tropes to illuminate the daily terror of being black in a white world. We talked to seven interracial couples of various backgrounds about how watching the film made them reflect on their own relationships, the enduring stress of “meeting the parents,” and whether they’ll be RSVPing for the next family reunion — “TBD,” as one of our interviewees put it…

Read the entire article here.

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Get the Fuck Outta Here: A Dialogue on Jordan Peele’s GET OUT

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-15 01:11Z by Steven

Get the Fuck Outta Here: A Dialogue on Jordan Peele’s GET OUT

Medium
2017-02-27

Son of Baldwin (Robert Jones, Jr)

Writer and educator Law Ware had the wonderful idea of he and I having a dialogue on the recently released horror film, Get Out. The film, written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele, stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington, a photographer dating a white woman named Rose (Allison Williams). Rose takes Chris home to meet her “liberal/progressive” parents in their New England home and that’s when shit, literally and figuratively, goes left.

The film is multilayered and speaks quite deftly to the terror of being black in the United States. Law and I were anxious to get the conversation started. We spoke on Sunday, the same day as the Oscars, where the specter of race hung over everything like a noose on a poplar tree. There was so much to talk about and as much as we unpacked, there was still so much left to cover (like the end scene, for example). We might need a part two.

PLEASE NOTE: This discussion will contain SPOILERS. Proceed at your own risk.]

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Robert Jones, Jr: So about Get Out. Shall we begin? I’m a horror film buff. I like to watch them to better understand the psychology of other human beings. And I’m very critical of them because a lot of them are dishonest garbage. But this one here? Chile, this is one of the greatest, maybe the greatest, horror film I’ve ever seen.

The opening scene. Did you peep how Jordan Peele flips the script on who the actual menace is? How he reverses course on how the black body is always seen as the threat on the streets and in elevators and such. But here, we have an ordinary black person walking in a neighborhood in which he “doesn’t belong” and the menace is the white people seeking to police his presence in very literal and nefarious terms. This was a brilliant metaphor for stop-and-frisk and the so-called “Concerned Neighbor” phenomena, both of which often end with the death of us. Sundown Towns and shit.

Law Ware: Absolutely. And what I found to be utterly brilliant about that scene, and the movie holistically, is that he uses established horror film tropes to critique Whiteness and white fears. He could have put this in the mouth of our protagonist, but he uses the language of film. That’s why I think many don’t see what he is up to. We are accustomed to preachifying in “important films.” Peele is too nuanced for that…

RJJ: Precisely. And it’s those nuances, those metaphors, that subtext that speaks to some of us on a subconscious level, that made Get Out such a terrifying experience. My partner was as deeply moved by this film as I was, perhaps deeper. But as you imply, it also explains the misreadings of the film that I have seen or encountered. One person insisted that it was a film designed to let white people off the hook. I was flabbergasted by two things: 1. That the person actually watched the film — with that reveal and that ending — and got that from it, and 2. That the person actually thought this film was for white people in any way, shape, or form. To me, this was a film for black people. And it spoke to us in our own language and felt no need to explain anything to us. It assumed we already knew certain things and proceeded from that knowing. If anything perplexed me, it was knowing that Peele is biracial and has a white mother, and is also married to a white woman. I assumed that the movie would be certain unfavorable things based on that. I assumed he’d be more understanding and apologetic to Whiteness. But the exact opposite was true. So I’m implicated in making certain false judgments about black people based on their backgrounds. And I wonder if this film operates, in some ways, as Peele’s cry for help…

Read the entire interview here.

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Apres Midi Afternoon Classics: March 7, 2017- “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White”

Posted in Arts, Audio, Biography, Interviews, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2017-03-13 18:24Z by Steven

Apres Midi Afternoon Classics: March 7, 2017- “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White”

Apres Midi/Afternoon Classics
KRVS 88.7 FM
Lafayette, Louisiana
2017-03-07

Judith Meriwether, Host

Interview with Michael Tisserand about his book Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White.

Listen to the interview (01:00:00) here.

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Africa Utopia: Chi Chi Nwanoku discusses the Chineke! orchestra

Posted in Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2017-03-13 17:39Z by Steven

Africa Utopia: Chi Chi Nwanoku discusses the Chineke! orchestra

The Evening Standard
London, United Kingdom
2016-09-02

The founder of Britain’s first BME orchestra sat down with [Features Writer] David Ellis to talk classical music, prejudice in the industry and the Southbank Festival

Watch the interview here.

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