The Future of Race in America

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-11-08 16:20Z by Steven

The Future of Race in America

The Root
2013-11-05

Jenée Desmond-Harris, Senior Staff Writer

Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a three-part series. To read part 1, click here.

Will we ever abandon stereotypes? Will “people of color” act as a group? Here are four possible theories about where we are headed as a country.

(The Root)—When it comes to race in America, there’s no question that things are changing.

Here’s what we know for sure: The country is becoming more diverse. Half of kids under age 5 are members of racial and ethnic minority groups. Non-Hispanic white Americans will almost certainly be outnumbered by everyone else over the next three decades. Americans who consider themselves multiracial are growing in numbers faster than any other group.

Then there’s the part that the census can’t measure—the stories that reveal that racial identity is getting more complicated and convoluted all the time: a teen who once called herself Latina “coming out” as black; a woman everyone thinks is Greek announcing that she’s biracial; the news that 12 percent of Jewish households consider themselves “multiracial or nonwhite”; a leading African-American history scholar’s discovery that he has 49 percent European ancestry…

…Is this a sign that we’re swiftly approaching an America in which we all look about the same, and we will dispense with the messy and imprecise exercise of putting one another into racial categories?

Almost certainly not. Experts agree on that.

So what are their predictions about the future of race in America? How might the ways in which we think about it and talk about it actually change in our lifetimes? If we’re not postracial—or even close—what are we? And where are we going?

The only real consensus about the answer to this complicated question is, it depends.

Here are four very different theories about the evolution of race in America and what exactly the meaningful changes that are within reach will require from all of us.

1. We could all finally reject the idea that biology divides human beings into five racial groups. But science isn’t enough. It will take a political movement.

Dorothy Roberts, author of Fatal Invention: How Politics, Science, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century, says it’s no longer a secret or even a little-known fact that what we think of as “race” is simply a set of political categories that were created to govern people.

According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Law professor, the information has been out since the scientists who mapped the human genome declared that racial differences didn’t exist at the genetic level.

Sure, says Roberts, race “uses various biological demarcations that help distinguish who belongs to one or another [group]. But those—skin color, hair color, the shape of the nose or the lips—are only part of what we use to determine what race someone is.” Thus, the same person’s racial identification could change with time, place and perspective—or even over a lifetime—and is impossible to pin down objectively in the way that good science would require…

…2. We might develop more accurate ways to describe our identities. But only if the census does it first.

Kenneth Prewitt, author of What Is Your Race? The Census and Our Flawed Efforts to Classify Americans, sees an American population rapidly outgrowing what he calls “the 18th-century, antique races” that currently appear on the census and other government forms.

But, he says, it’s difficult for people to identify themselves in nuanced ways—and even harder to make accurate social policy—when newspapers, statistics and accountings of disparities all use those federally mandated categories that fail to reflect the details of our actual experiences…

Read the entire article here.

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What’s Wrong with Race-Based Medicine?: Genes, Drugs, and Health Disparities

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-09-30 21:31Z by Steven

What’s Wrong with Race-Based Medicine?: Genes, Drugs, and Health Disparities

Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology
Volume 12, Issue 1 (Winter 2011)
pages 1-21

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

In June 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a historic decision: it approved the first pharmaceutical indicated for a specific race. BiDil, a combination drug that relaxes the blood vessels, was authorized to treat heart failure in self-identified black patients. BiDil had been tested in the African-American Heart Failure Trial (A-HeFT) launched in 2001. A-HeFT enrolled 1,050 subjects suffering from advanced heart failure, all self-identified African Americans. A-HeFT showed that BiDil worked; in fact, it worked so spectacularly that the trial was stopped ahead of schedule. BiDil in-creased survival by an astonishing 43 percent. Hospitalizations were reduced by 39 percent. It was a momentous accomplishment for Jay Cohn, the University of Minnesota cardiologist who invented BiDil and had pioneered vasodilators as an important treatment for heart failure.

Given evidence of BiDil’s efficacy, but little evidence that race mattered to its efficacy, the FDA should have made one of two decisions: reject the request for race-specific approval or approve BiDil for all heart failure patients, regardless of race. Instead, the FDA put race at the center of its decision, sparking controversy and paving the way for a new generation of racial medicines.

No one is complaining that BiDil is available to people who will benefit from it. The problem is that BiDil was made available on the basis of race. Its racial label elicited three types of criticism: scientific, commercial, and political. I will discuss the first two controversies en route to what I consider the main problem with race-based medicine, its political implications. By claiming that race, a political grouping, is important to the marketing of drugs and that race-based drugs can reduce health disparities, which are caused primarily by social inequality, those who promote racialized medicine have made it a political issue. Yet, having made these political claims, these very advocates answer criticism by saying that we must put aside social justice concerns in order to improve minority health. This article explains why marketing pharmaceuticals on the basis of race is more likely to worsen racial inequities than cure them…

Read the entire article here.

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Law, Race, and Biotechnology: Toward a Biopolitical and Transdisciplinary Paradigm

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2013-09-27 03:49Z by Steven

Law, Race, and Biotechnology: Toward a Biopolitical and Transdisciplinary Paradigm

Annual Review of Law and Social Science
Volume 9, Issue 1 (November 2013)
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-102612-134009

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

Law influences and is shaped by the emergence of race-based biotechnologies in the genomic age. This review examines how law and social science scholars have approached the role of legal regulation, theories, and norms in governing the definition and utility of race in gene-based technological innovation. I structure my discussion around four main themes: the institutional regulation of biotechnology research, commercial incentives for race-specific products, the paradoxes of inclusion and difference, and racial equality jurisprudence. My attention then turns to future directions for research in this field needed to attend to the serious political implications of increasing race consciousness in genomic research and technology at a time when color blindness and postracialism are gaining popularity. I argue for a biopolitical and transdisciplinary paradigm that is committed to our common humanity and to the need for social change.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Addressing Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities Best Practices for Clinical Care and Medical Education in the 21st Century

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2013-09-14 18:21Z by Steven

Addressing Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities Best Practices for Clinical Care and Medical Education in the 21st Century

University of Texas, Austin
2013-09-23 through 2013-09-24

One of the primary goals of the US Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and many public health programs is the reduction of health disparities in the United States. However, significant racial/ethnic disparities persist in the prevalence of disease, access to medical care, quality of care, and health outcomes for the most common causes of death (including cardiovascular and lung disease, infectious disease, cancer, diabetes, and accidents). At this conference, nationally-recognized speakers will discuss the causes of such disparities and describe new approaches in clinical care and medical education that improve care, achieve better health outcomes, and reduce racial/ethnic health disparities. We will also discuss how these best practices can be incorporated into medical training at the new Dell Medical School at The University of Texas and at other medical schools around the country. One key goal of this conference is to help design a cutting-edge curriculum that will better prepare medical students to meet the challenges and opportunities of 21st century medicine.

Conference registration is open to anyone interested in attending this event. See the Continuing Medical Education (CME) tab for information regarding continuing education for the September 23rd portion of the conference.

The second day of the conference (September 24) is open to invited participants only. Discussions and working groups on the second day will focus on developing new pedagogical approaches and innovative learning modules for the pre-clinical curriculum at the Dell Medical School, with the goal of more effectively integrating training on human genomic variation, race/ethnicity, health disparities, and social/environmental determinants of health into the medical curriculum.

Speakers

For more information, click here.

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Professor Dorothy Roberts — Challenging Concepts of Race

Posted in Audio, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2013-06-25 20:11Z by Steven

Professor Dorothy Roberts — Challenging Concepts of Race

Mixed Race Radio
Blog Talk Radio
2013-06-26, 16:00Z (12:00 EDT)

Tiffany Rae Reid, Host

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

Dorothy Roberts is the fourteenth Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, George A. Weiss University Professor, and the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at University of Pennsylvania, where she holds appointments in the Law School and Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, she has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race, and class in legal issues and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics.

Professor Roberts is the author of the award-winning books Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Random House/Pantheon, 1997) and Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books/Civitas, 2002), as well as co-editor of six books on constitutional law and gender. She has also published more than eighty articles and essays in books and scholarly journals, including Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Stanford Law Review.  Her latest book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century, was published by the New Press in July 2011.

For more information, click here.

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Author takes on modern myths about race

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-04-18 01:27Z by Steven

Author takes on modern myths about race

Skokie Review
Chicago, Illinois
2013-04-05

Mike Isaacs

he 8-year-old girl who had difficulty breathing had been misdiagnosed for a long time, but then a technician looked at her X-ray and asked incredulously why she had not been treated for cystic fibrosis.

The reason was because she was black, and cystic fibrosis was thought to be a white people’s disease. The technician had never met the girl when he asked his question.

“It’s bad medicine to look at someone’s race and say you should get this test or that test, because you may be completely wrong,” said distinguished author and educator Dorothy Roberts.

To Roberts, who penned “Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics and Big Business Re-Create Race in the 21st Century,” this is just one example of a distorted view of science and race playing out today.

“There’s no such thing as a white disease or a black disease or an Asian disease,” Roberts said during a provocative talk Sunday at Skokie’s Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago. “That doesn’t make sense, because there’s no gene that belongs to a particular race that doesn’t belong to other races.”

She argues that the tie between biology and race is a myth that has been resurrected again, this time with the help of a false reliance on modern-day science…

…Some of the same theories from the era of eugenics, she said, are being resuscitated in 21st century science.

Roberts isn’t saying, though that we’re all identical – one reason she isn’t keen on President Clinton’s famous declaration about the Human Genome Project that all human beings, regardless of race, are more than 99 percent the same.

“It makes it sound like we’re all alike, and you can see that everyone isn’t alike,” she said. “There’s lots of genetic variation in the human species, but it’s not grouped into races.”

Read the entire article here.

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Racial Theories in Context (Second Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Law, Media Archive, Philosophy, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Slavery, Social Science, United States on 2013-04-15 00:05Z by Steven

Racial Theories in Context (Second Edition)

Cognella
2013
224 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60927-056-8

Edited by:

Jared Sexton, Associate Professor of African American Studies and Film & Media Studies
University of California, Irvine

This book presents a critical framework for understanding how and why race matters — past, present, and future. The readings trace the historical emergence of modern racial thinking in Western society by examining religious, moral, aesthetic, and scientific writing; legal statutes and legislation; political debates and public policy; and popular culture. Readers will follow the shifting ideological bases upon which modern racial theories have rested, from religion to science to culture, and the links between race, class, gender, and sexuality, and between notions of race and the nation-state.

The authors of Racial Theories in Context discuss the relationship of racial theories to material contexts of racial oppression and to democratic struggles for freedom and equality:

  • First and foremost in this discussion is the vast system of racial slavery instituted throughout the Atlantic world and the international movement that sought its abolition.
  • Continuing campaigns to redress racial divisions in health, wealth, housing, employment, and education are also examined.
  • There is a focus on the specificity of racial formation in the United States and the centrality of anti-black racism.
  • The book also looks comparatively at other regions of racial inequality and the construction of a global racial hierarchy since the 15th century CE.

Contents

  • Introduction / Jared Sexton
  • A Long History of Affirmative Action—For Whites / Larry Adelman
  • The Cost of Slavery / Dalton Conley
  • Statement on Gender Violence and the Prison-Industrial Complex / INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence and Critical Resistance
  • Introduction To Racism: A Short History / George M. Fredrickson
  • Rape and the Inner Lives of Black Women in the Middle West / Darlene Clark Hine
  • Understanding the Problematic of Race Through the Problem of Race-Mixture / Thomas C. Holt
  • The Sexualization of Reconstruction Politics / Martha Hodes
  • The Original Housing Crisis / Derek S. Hoff
  • The American Dream, or a Nightmare for Black America? / Joshua Holland
  • The Hidden Cost of Being African American / Michael Hout
  • Slavery and Proto-Racism in Greco-Roman Antiquity / Benjamin Isaac
  • Colorblind Racism / Sally Lehrman
  • The Wealth Gap Gets Wider / Meizhu Lui
  • Sub-Prime as a Black Catastrophe / Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro
  • Unshackling Black Motherhood / Dorothy E. Roberts
  • Is Race -Based Medicine Good for Us? / Dorothy E. Roberts
  • Understanding Reproductive Justice / Loretta J. Ross
  • The History of the Idea of Race / Audrey Smedley
  • The Liberal Retreat From Race / Stephen Steinberg
  • “Race Relations” / Stephen Steinberg
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“Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century,” talk by Dorothy Roberts

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2013-03-29 03:42Z by Steven

“Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century,” talk by Dorothy Roberts

University of Michigan
Hatcher Library Gallery, Room 100
913 S. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan
2013-04-04, 16:00-17:30 CDT (Local Time)

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

Professor Roberts will be discussing her latest project in connection with the “Understanding Race” theme semester. In “Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century” she argues that America is experiencing a dangerous resurgence of classifying populations into biological races. By searching for differences at the molecular level, a new race-based science is obscuring racism in our society and legitimizing state brutality against communities of color at a time when many claim that the United States is “post-racial.” Moving from an account of the evolution of the concept of race—proving that it has always been a mutable and socially defined political division supported by mainstream science—Roberts delves deeply into the current debates, interrogating cutting-edge genomic science and biotechnology, interviewing its researchers, and exposing the political consequences of the focus on race-based genetic difference. Fatal Invention is a powerful call for us to affirm our common humanity by eliminating the social inequities preserved by the political system of race…

For more information, click here.

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..this was a book that really, completely, changed and challenged everything that I knew and I thought I knew about race.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2013-03-25 19:40Z by Steven

..this was a book that really, completely, changed and challenged everything that I knew and I thought I knew about race. And I thank you for that, because it’s just one of those books that really, really kind of changes your life in a way because it sort of opens things up and makes you think about the world in a completely different way. It’s a really powerful book. [Host Michelle McCrary commenting on Dorothy Roberts’ book, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century.]

Michelle McCrary, “Talking Race w/ Social Critic/Legal Scholar Dorothy Roberts,” Blogtalk Radio: Is That Your Child?, October 11, 2011 (00:03:40 – 00:04:06).

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The End of Race History? Not Yet

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2013-01-15 01:29Z by Steven

The End of Race History? Not Yet

Center for Genetics and Society
2012-12-14

Osagie K. Obasogie, Associate Professor of Law
University of California, Hastings

Have we gone beyond race? Many argue society has now overcome centuries of strife to become “post-racial”—a moment that law professor Sumi Cho of DePaul University in Chicago refers to as “the end of race history”.

Two seemingly disparate developments have been used to lend support to this claim. In politics, Barack Obama’s 2008 election as the first racial minority-member to become US president has been lauded as a racially transcendent moment. In science, the completion of the Human Genome Project’s first draft in June 2000 offered seemingly definitive evidence that race is not real. As geneticist Craig Venter noted at the HGP announcement, “the concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis”…

…Two recent books by legal scholars address these issues. Jonathan Kahn’s Race in a Bottle provides a stunning case study of BiDil, the first drug to receive approval by the US Food and Drug Administration as a race-specific therapy. It was designed to treat African-Americans suffering from heart failure—based mainly on a mistaken belief that there are meaningful disparities in heart failure outcomes between blacks and whites caused by biological differences. Although BiDil was initially created as a race-neutral drug, Kahn offers a compelling account of the many influences that turned what is in essence a combination therapy of two widely available generic treatments into a pill “for black people only”…

Dorothy Roberts’s Fatal Invention, now out in paperback, extends this insight to examine how the re-emergence of biological race is having a broader impact—not only on innovations such as genetic ancestry-testing and racialised aspects of DNA forensics, but also on how we think about basic notions of racial difference. Advocates of biological race argue that today’s use of race in biomedicine is different from past usages within science that supported racism, eugenics and questionable research practices…

Read the entire article here.

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