The American Society of Human Genetics Struggles to Face Its Past
By Robert Resta and Diane B. Paul,
The DNA Exchange
| 02. 15. 2023
The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) recently released Facing Our History – Building An Equitable Future Initiative, a report on the role of the organization and geneticists more generally in past injustices, including eugenics, sickle cell screening, and perpetuating inaccurate information about XYY syndrome and racial stereotypes about intelligence. About 3 years ago one of us (RR) authored a three-part series in this space that explored the role of eugenics in shaping the ASHG and the views of its leadership (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Some of that content was cited in the ASHG report.
There is much to be admired in ASHG’s willingness to acknowledge the roles the organization and its leadership played in respect both to eugenics and social injustice generally. However, the report also has several flaws. Here we focus our critique on our areas of interest and expertise – its account of the history of eugenics, which includes assertions that have been widely challenged by historians (without any acknowledgment of their contested status) as well as factual errors and omissions... see more
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