Osagie K. Obasogie, J.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings with a joint appointment at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. His first book, Blinded By Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the Blind, was recently published by Stanford University Press and his second book on the past, present, and future of bioethics is under contract with the University of California Press. Professor Obasogie discussed his surprising findings about the relationships between race, sight, and bioethics with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.: The subject matter of Blinded by Sight is such a fascinating topic, so I have to start with the obvious question: how and why did you get involved in this field of study?

Osagie K. Obasogie: Innocently enough, this project started back in 2005 while watching the movie Ray, which portrays the life of the legendary musician Ray Charles. While viewing the movie, I became mesmerized by the central role that race played in Mr. Charles’s life, both in terms...