To celebrate the release of Dorothy Roberts' pivotal new work, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century, Center for Genetics and Society and Generations Ahead co-sponsored a book event in Berkeley late last month. It was a spirited and well-attended gathering, which brought together around 80 local scholars, activists, students and members of the public, many of whom actively work on social, racial, reproductive and gender justice issues.
Roberts traced the major points covered in the book, delivering a stirring explanation of the problematic reemergence of the idea that human beings can be categorized into biological races. She discussed how modern developments in race-focused genetic research, race-based medicine, and genomic ancestry testing, in addition to other scientific and commercial policies and practices, dangerously obscure the social and political dynamics that shape race. Furthermore, she illustrated how these developments promote false biological assumptions about race, which in the past have formed the basis for widespread racial discrimination, structural disenfranchisement of people of color, and catastrophic eugenic policies. She noted that this is particularly alarming given that many people currently believe that we've entered a "post-racial" age. In other words, "biological race" is being revived at the same historical moment that the social importance of race is being denied or neglected.
Roberts' talk was followed by a question and answer session. A subsequent Fatal Invention event was co-sponsored by Center for Genetics and Society and Ms. Magazine at the Feminist Majority Headquarters in Los Angeles. A schedule of other events promoting the book release can be seen on Roberts' website; and Roberts' interview on the Tavis Smiley Show is avaialble here.
A video of the Berkeley event is included below.
Previously on Biopolitical Times:
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