Racial Justice

Most scientists and social scientists agree that there is no biological basis for race. Yet the idea that racial groups can be found in biology continues to make its way into human genetic research and biotechnologies. Some common examples include genetic studies on racialized health disparities, direct-to-consumer genetic ancestry tests, and forensic DNA databases. These products and practices typically try to reduce race to a set of biological markers, and fail to address the social, political, environmental, and economic inequalities that continue to make race a salient social category. Critical race scholars and racial justice advocates alike seek to promote public awareness and regulatory oversight of biotechnology to ensure that genetics isn’t used to exploit or reinforce existing institutional racial inequalities.

Biopolitical Times

You may have recently seen an AncestryDNA ad that ran during the 2018 Winter Olympics. The video features a young white female figure skater gliding around the rink. A voice-over narration tells us,

Greatness lives within all of us. And with AncestryDNA on sale for just $69, now is the time to discover yours. You can find out where you get your precision (cue onscreen pie chart graphic: ‘Scandinavia 48%’), your grace (‘27% Central Asia’), your drive (‘21% Great Britain’)....

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One of the strangest ironies of our time is that a body of thoroughly debunked “science” is being revived by people who claim to be defending truth against a rising tide of ignorance. The idea that certain races are inherently...

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Once a month, David Sanchez, 15, comes to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford for an infusion of donor red blood...

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In the beginning, there was nature. Then the statistician Francis Galton — Charles Darwin’s half-cousin — set nature (heredity) in...

Three people sit with their backs turned as they look at a massive wall art exhibition of black and white portraits of people's faces.

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Transparent glass frames, with the repeating letters ATCG in bold black font.


March for Science protesters sit and stand on staircase, and hold various signs and banners. In the background is the San Francisco Embarcadero.

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