Dorothy Roberts: What’s Race Got to Do with Medicine?

Posted in Articles, Audio, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Media Archive on 2017-10-07 21:14Z by Steven

Dorothy Roberts: What’s Race Got to Do with Medicine?

TED Radio Hour
National Public Radio
2017-02-10

Guy Raz, Host

About Dorothy Roberts’ TED Talk

Doctors often take a patient’s race into account when making a diagnosis—or ruling one out. Professor Dorothy Roberts says this practice is both outdated and dangerous.

About Dorothy Roberts

Dorothy Roberts is a social justice advocate and law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She directs the program on Race, Science, and Society in the Center for Africana Studies. Roberts is the author of Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century.

So sometimes getting better results in medicine isn’t just about developing new technology or drugs. Sometimes getting better results is about looking at patients in a different way.

DOROTHY ROBERTS: Yes, exactly.

RAZ: This is Dorothy Roberts.

ROBERTS: Professor of Africana studies and law and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

RAZ: About 15 years ago, Dorothy had an experience when she was pregnant with her fourth child.

ROBERTS: I was 44 years old when I had him, and I was considered to be a high-risk, high-maternal age.

RAZ: So her doctor had her sign up for a clinical trial.

ROBERTS: That involved a genetic test.

RAZ: And one of the first questions she was asked was about her race.

ROBERTS: They just asked me to check the box. And my question is, why use race?

RAZ: In other words, why use race when it doesn’t tell us anything about our genes? Here’s Dorothy Roberts on the TED stage…

Listen to the entire interview here. Download the interview (00:09:27) here. Read the transcript here.

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Race and Ethnicity: Constancy in Change (First Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, Economics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2017-07-05 13:37Z by Steven

Race and Ethnicity: Constancy in Change (First Edition)

Cognella Academic Publishing
2017
372 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-63487-489-2

Edited by:

Milton Vickerman, Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Virginia

Hephzibah V. Strmic-Pawl, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York

Race and Ethnicity: Constancy in Change uses both classic readings and new research on contemporary racial inequality to create a logical progression through the primary issues of race and ethnicity.

The nine sections discuss the history of race and racism, define major concepts, and analyze how and why inequality persists. In addition to the readings, the anthology features introductions that frame each section’s readings, key terms with which students should be familiar, learning objectives for each section, and Reflect and Consider inquiries designed for each reading. Each section ends with a Highlight that showcases a contemporary racial trend in the news. The sections are also supplemented by Read, Listen, Watch, Interact! features, which supply easily accessible links to complementary readings, audio stories, videos, and interactive websites. The book concludes with Investigate Further, a list of readings for those who wish to delve deeper into a particular topic.

Race and Ethnicity enables students to grasp the fundamentals of race and racism and encourages them to engage in conversations about them. Ideal for sociology programs, the anthology is well-suited to courses on race and ethnicity.

Table of Contents

  • RACE & ETHNICITY: WHY IT MATTERS / MILTON VICKERMAN AND HEPHZIBAH V. STRMIC-PAWL
  • KEY TERMS
  • PART 1 THE FOUNDATIONS OF RACE
    • READING 1.1 Race BY PETER WADE
    • READING 1.2 AAA Statement on Race BY AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
    • HIGHLIGHT: Eugenics are Alive and Well in the United States BY PAUL CAMPOS, TIME
  • PART 2 THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF RACE
    • READING 2.1 Immigrants and the Changing Categories of Race BY KENNETH PREWITT
    • READING 2.2 The Theory of Racial Formation BY MICHAEL OMI AND HOWARD WINANT
    • HIGHLIGHT: Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood: The History of a Myth BY GREGORY D. SMITHERS, SLATE
  • PART 3 STRUCTURING AMERICAN IDENTITY THROUGH IMMIGRATION
    • READING 3.1 The United States: A Nation of Immigrants BY PETER KIVISTO
    • READING 3.2 The Three Phases of US Bound Immigration BY ALEJANDRO PORTES AND RUBEN RUMBAUT
    • READING 3.3 The Ideological Roots of the “Illegal” as Threat and the Boundary as Protector BY JOSEPH NEVINS
    • READING 3.4 Segmented Assimilation Revisited: Types of Acculturation and Socioeconomic Mobility in Young Adulthood BY MARY C. WATERS, VAN C. TRAN, PHILIP KASINITZ, AND JOHN H. MOLLENKOPF
    • READING 3.5 Immigration Patterns, Characteristics, and Identities BY ANNY BAKALIAN & MEHDI BOZORGMEHR
    • READING 3.6 The Reality of Asian American Oppression BY ROSALIND CHOU AND JOE FEAGIN
    • HIGHLIGHT: Future Immigration Will Change the Face of America by 2065 BY D’VERY COHN, PEW RESEARCH CENTER
  • PART 4 RACISM: THEORIES FOR UNDERSTANDING
    • READING 4.1 The Nature of Prejudice BY PETER ROSE
    • READING 4.2 Racism without Racists: “Killing Me Softly” with Color Blindness BY EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVA AND DAVID G. EMBRICK
    • READING 4.3 Colorstruck BY MARGARET HUNTER
    • READING 4.4 The White Supremacy Flower: A Model for Understanding Racism BY HEPHZIBAH V. STRMIC-PAWL
    • READING 4.5 Family Law, Feminist Legal Theory, and the Problem of Racial Hierarchy BY TWILA L. PERRY
    • HIGHLIGHT: Yes, All White People Are Racists— Now Let’s Do Something About It BY TIM DONOVAN, ALTERNET
  • PART 5 STRUCTURED RACIAL INEQUALITY
    • READING 5.1 The American Dream of Meritocracy BY HEATHER BETH JOHNSON
    • READING 5.2 Racial Orders in American Political Development BY DESMOND S. KING AND ROGERS M. SMITH
    • READING 5.3 Migration and Residential Segregation BY JOHN ICELAND
    • READING 5.4 “White, Young, Middle Class”: Aesthetic Labor, Race and Class in the Youth Labor Force BY YASEMIN BESEN-CASSINO
    • READING 5.5 Why Both Social Structure and Culture Matter in a Holistic Analysis of Inner-City Poverty BY WILLIAM JULIUS WILSON
    • HIGHLIGHT: Nine Charts About Wealth Inequality in America BY THE URBAN INSTITUTE
  • PART 6 RACISM IN POPULAR CULTURE
    • READING 6.1 The Revolution Will Not Be Available on iTunes: Racial Perspectives BY DUSTIN KIDD
    • READING 6.2 Racial Exclusion in the Online World BY REBECCA J. WEST AND BHOOMI THAKORE
    • READING 6.3 Fear Of A Black Athlete: Masculinity, Politics and The Body BY BEN CARRINGTON
    • READING 6.4 The Native American Experience: Racism and Mascots in Professional Sports BY KRYSTAL BEAMON
    • HIGHLIGHT: Pop Culture’s Black Lives Matter Moment Couldn’t Come at a Better Time BY STEVEN W. THRASHER, THE GUARDIAN
  • PART 7 CONTEMPORARY SYSTEMS OF OPPRESSION
    • READING 7.1 The State of Our Education BY TERENCE FITZGERALD
    • READING 7.2 The Immigration Industrial Complex BY TANYA GOLASH-BOZA
    • READING 7.3 Evading Responsibility for Green Harm: State Corporate Exploitation of Race, Class, and Gender Inequality BY EMILY GAARDER
    • HIGHLIGHT: 5 Links Between Higher Education and the Prison Industry BY HANNAH K. GOLD, ROLLING STONE
  • PART 8 THE FUTURE OF RACE
    • READING 8.1 Liminality in the Multiracial Experience: Towards a Concept of Identity Matrix BY DAVID L. BRUNSMA, DANIEL J. DELGADO, AND KERRY ANN ROCKQUEMORE
    • READING 8.2 Race and the New Bio-Citizen BY DOROTHY ROBERTS
    • READING 8.3 A Post-Racial Society? BY KATHLEEN FITZGERALD
    • HIGHLIGHT: Choose Your Own Identity BY BONNIE TSUI, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE
  • PART 9 FIGHTING RACIAL INEQUALITY
    • READING 9.1 The Problem of The Twentieth Century is The Problem of The Color Line BY W.E.B. DU BOIS
    • READING 9.2 The Optimism of Uncertainty BY HOWARD ZINN
    • READING 9.3 Why We Still Need Affirmative Action BY ORLANDO PATTERSON
    • HIGHLIGHT: The Case for Reparations BY TA-NEHISI COATES, THE ATLANTIC
  • INVESTIGATE FURTHER
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Episode 38: Skulls and Skin (Seeing White, Part 8)

Posted in Audio, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews on 2017-06-11 22:01Z by Steven

Episode 38: Skulls and Skin (Seeing White, Part 8)

Scene on Radio
2017-05-17

John Biewen, Host and Audio Program Director/Instructor
Center for Documentary Studies
Duke University, Durham, North Carolina


Skulls in the Samuel Morton Collection, University of Pennsylvania Museum. Photo by John Biewen

Scientists weren’t the first to divide humanity along racial – and racist – lines. But for hundreds of years, racial scientists claimed to provide proof for those racist hierarchies – and some still do.

Resources for this episode:

Listen to the podcast (00:45:56) here. Download the podcast here.

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In contrast to the Loving litigators’ approach, the ideology that race is important to genetics but not to society is spreading in the United States today.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-03-11 03:20Z by Steven

In contrast to the Loving litigators’ approach, the ideology that race is important to genetics but not to society is spreading in the United States today. The current resurgence of genetic definitions of race at a time when a majority of Supreme Court justices have embraced a colorblind approach that ignores white supremacy has the potential to intensify racial inequality. The coincidence of these two flawed ideologies—that human beings are naturally divided into genetically distinct races and that racism has ceased significantly to affect society—reinforces a biological explanation for persistent racial inequities. Finding racial differences at the molecular level seems to make sense of the paradox of intensifying racial gaps in health, economic status, and incarceration since the civil rights movement.

Dorothy E. Roberts, “Loving v. Virginia as a Civil Rights Decision,” New York Law School Law Review, Volume 59, Number 1 (2014/2015), 208. http://www.nylslawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2015/02/Volume-59-1.Roberts.pdf.

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Loving v. Virginia as a Civil Rights Decision

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-06 20:13Z by Steven

Loving v. Virginia as a Civil Rights Decision

New York Law School Law Review
Volume 59, Number 1 (2014/2015)
pages 175-209

Dorothy E. Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights
University of Pennsylvania

Loving v. Virginia, the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision that invalidated state laws restricting interracial marriage, marked the tail end of the civil rights cases of the 1950s and ’60s. Loving was not issued until 1967, more than a decade after the Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, holding racial segregation of public schools unconstitutional. At the time of the 1963 March on Washington, nineteen states still had laws prohibiting interracial marriage, and federal jurisprudence upholding these laws had remained the same since 1883.

Civil rights litigators waited so long to launch an attack on state anti-miscegenation statutes in federal court because interracial marriage seemed at once so trivial and so controversial. Trivial because it involved interpersonal relationships rather than the weighty public rights to equal education, voting, and employment. But challenging the marriage laws also struck at the bedrock of racism: Classifying human beings into supposedly biological races that should be kept apart. Some civil rights advocates, as well as justices on the Warren Court, feared that attacking anti-miscegenation too soon was doomed to fail and would threaten the implementation of recent civil rights victories because white Southerners’ loathing of racial intermingling was so basic to their dogma of racial separation. After all, a primary reason for segregated schooling was to foreclose the interracial intimacy that might be sparked in integrated classrooms. Moreover, prior to Loving, state control over marriage was absolute.

Loving was the capstone of the Court’s blow to the Jim Crow regime. As the Court stated, it struck down the Virginia law because it was a measure “designed to maintain White Supremacy.” Yet subsequent decades have faded the understanding of Loving as a civil rights decision. While Brown became the emblem of the end to de jure segregation, Loving fell into relative obscurity. In his recent book, The Civil Rights Revolution, constitutional law scholar Bruce Ackerman denies that Loving “deserves a central place in the civil rights canon.” The same-sex marriage movement revived the decision to stand for the right to marry the partner of one’s choice. In 2007, on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the Loving decision, Mildred Loving commented:

I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

Today, Loving is remembered more for protecting the right to marry than for toppling the final pillar of the de jure racial caste system in the United States. Moreover, to the extent that federal courts rely on Loving as a civil rights decision, they have largely distorted its reasoning, as well as its significance to the struggle to end racism and white domination.

This article aims to revive Loving as a civil rights decision, and to stress the continuing importance of its recognition of the relationship between racial classifications and white supremacy. Part I places the Lovings’ lawsuit in the context of the litigation agenda that helped institute the civil rights revolution. Jim Crow restrictions on marriage implemented the combined white supremacist and eugenicist ideologies of an innate racial hierarchy that called for racial separation. Both civil rights lawyers and U.S. Supreme Court justices delayed tackling state anti-miscegenation laws for strategic reasons. But they understood these laws as part of the Jim Crow segregationist system that the civil rights movement was dismantling and kept their abolition as an eventual goal.

Part II analyzes the Loving decision as a challenge to racism and white supremacy as much as the validation of marriage rights—and the entangled relationship between the two in the Court’s constitutional reasoning. Just as bans on interracial marriage were an essential part of the segregationist regime, eliminating them was an integral chapter in the series of civil rights decisions issued by the Warren Court. A central question in Loving was whether the Court would extend the holding in Brown from the realm of public education to state laws regulating marriage. By applying Brown’s prohibition of racial separation to the private sphere of marriage, formerly seen as the exclusive domain of states’ power, the Court radically confirmed a constitutional mandate for federal intervention in all aspects of the nation’s racial regime.

Part III evaluates how federal courts have interpreted the civil rights dimension of Loving in the decades that followed. I argue that key U.S. Supreme Court decisions have perverted the central lesson of Loving. Rather than link racial classifications to political subordination (as the Loving Court did), subsequent Court opinions have wrongly relied on Loving to do just the opposite. Loving has been misused to support a colorblind approach to the Fourteenth Amendment that treats the government’s use of race to eliminate the contemporary vestiges of Jim Crow as contemptible as the Jim Crow classifications designed to enforce white rule.

Finally, Part IV explains why the lessons of Loving as a civil rights decision are especially important in today’s supposedly “post-racial” society. A new biopolitics of race is resuscitating the notion of biological racial classifications underlying the anti-miscegenation laws that Loving struck down. Genomic science and gene-based biotechnologies are promoting race-consciousness at the molecular level at the very moment the Court and many policymakers believe race-consciousness is no longer necessary at the social level. I conclude that it is more urgent than ever to understand race as a political system that determines individuals’ status and welfare, and for federal courts to implement, uphold, and enforce strong race-conscious remedies for the lasting legacy of slavery that the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to abolish and civil rights activists fought to eradicate…

Read the entire article here.

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What if the Court in the Loving Case Had Declared Race a False Idea?

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States, Virginia on 2017-03-06 19:17Z by Steven

What if the Court in the Loving Case Had Declared Race a False Idea?

The New York Times
2017-03-06

Brent Staples


Mildred Loving greeting her husband Richard on their front porch in Virginia.
Credit Estate of Grey Villet

Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia struck a resonant historical note last year when he proclaimed June 12 “Loving Day,” in commemoration of Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court decision that invalidated state laws across the country that restricted interracial marriage.

That Virginia would celebrate the decision was symbolically rich, given that Richmond had been the capital of the Confederacy under Jefferson Davis and the seat of a virulently racist legislature that diligently translated white supremacist aspirations into law.

The Loving decision turns 50 this summer, which will give the annual festivals, picnics and house parties held in its honor a special gravity. But the recent re-emergence of white supremacist ideology in political discourse lends an inescapably political cast to this celebration of interracialism.

As this drama unfolds, historians and legal scholars are criticizing aspects of the Loving decision, including the court’s failure to repudiate the myth of white racial “purity” upon which Virginia’s statute was based…

Read the entire article here.

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The New Biopolitics of Race, Health, and Justice

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2016-11-07 01:32Z by Steven

The New Biopolitics of Race, Health, and Justice

Center For Health and Wellbeing
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
001 Robertson Hall
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Friday, 2016-11-11, 12:00-13:30 EST (Local Time)

Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights
University of Pennsylvania

Dorothy Roberts, an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law, joined the University of Pennsylvania as its 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and the Law School where she also holds the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mosell Alexander chair.

Her pathbreaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent contemporary issues in health, social justice, and bioethics, especially as they impact the lives of women, children and African-Americans. Her major books include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997). She is the author of more than 80 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as a co-editor of six books on such topics as constitutional law and women and the law.

For more information, click here.

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“Until extremely recently, I really diminished the fact that my parents were black and white. Most people think of me as black. I don’t identify as biracial or mixed race.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-07-19 00:42Z by Steven

As a kindergartner, [Dorothy] Roberts recalls, she embraced her parents’ philosophy. “I remember being proud that I had parents of different races and that was an important part of my identity. But by the time I was in seventh grade, I identified as black and was much more interested in liberation for black people than in interracial relationships,” she says. “Until extremely recently, I really diminished the fact that my parents were black and white. Most people think of me as black. I don’t identify as biracial or mixed race.”

Melissa Jacobs, “Dangerous Ideas,” The Pennsylvania Gazette, June 20, 2016. http://thepenngazette.com/dangerous-ideas/.

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Is there a racial ‘care gap’ in medical treatment?

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2016-07-12 23:31Z by Steven

Is there a racial ‘care gap’ in medical treatment?

PBS News Hour
2016-04-05

A new survey has found implicit biases in medical students that may explain why black patients are sometimes undertreated for pain, with some students believing that black people feel less pain and have thicker skin than white people. For more on the perplexing discovery, Gwen Ifill talks to Dr. David Satin of the University of Minnesota and Dorothy Roberts of the University of Pennsylvania.

GWEN IFILL: A new study finds African-American patients are often treated differently when it comes to medicine and care. The survey of more than 500 people, 400 of them medical students, found implicit bias exists that may help explain why black people are sometimes undertreated for pain.

Among its findings: Medical students believed that African-Americans felt less pain than white patients, and even thought their skin was thicker.

For more on this perplexing discovery, we turn to Dr. David Satin of the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and Dorothy Roberts of the university of Pennsylvania.

Thank you both for joining us.

Dr. Satin, try to describe this disparity for me. Why does this exist? And is it new?

DR. DAVID SATIN, University of Minnesota Medical Center: So, Gwen, we have known that this has been an issue for at least a couple decades.

And every now and then, a study comes out that underscores the need for the field of medicine, and in particular medical education, to do some work and get it right.

So, this is a problem, and it’s been a problem, and hopefully this study will spur on more activity.

GWEN IFILL: Dorothy Roberts, is this a medical problem or a sociological problem?

DOROTHY ROBERTS, University of Pennsylvania: It’s both.

I think what’s really important and fascinating about the study is that it, for the first time, links what we have long known as undertreatment of pain for black patients with doctors, or at least medical students’ false beliefs about biological differences based on race.

And those beliefs, as the study has shown, are widely held by laypeople as well. They’re deeply embedded, longstanding myths about racial difference, especially biological differences between races, which goes back to the very concept that race is a biological difference that is widespread in U.S. society. So it’s sociological, as well as medical…

Read the entire transcript here. Watch the interview here.

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“Colonial landowners inherited slavery as an ancient practice, but they invented race as a modern system of power.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2016-07-12 22:14Z by Steven

“As officials split white indenture from black enslavement and established ‘white,’ ‘Negro,’ and ‘Indian’ as distinct legal categories, race was literally manufactured by law… Colonial landowners inherited slavery as an ancient practice, but they invented race as a modern system of power.” —Dorothy Roberts

Melissa Jacobs, “Dangerous Ideas,” The Pennsylvania Gazette, June 20, 2016. http://thepenngazette.com/dangerous-ideas/.

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