Dorothy Roberts: The Problem With Race-Based Medicine

Social justice advocate and law scholar Dorothy Roberts has a precise and powerful message: Race-based medicine is bad medicine. Even today, many doctors still use race as a medical short-cut; they make important decisions about things like pain tolerance based on a patient’s skin color instead of medical observation and measurement. In this searing talk, Roberts lays out the lingering traces of race-based medicine — and invites us to be a part of ending it. “It is more urgent than ever to finally abandon this backward legacy,” she says, “and to affirm our common humanity by ending the social inequalities that truly divide us.”.

Internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual and social justice advocate Dorothy Roberts studies the interplay of gender, race and class in legal issues. She has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare and bioethics.

Professor of Africana Studies, Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, Dorothy directs the Penn Program on Race, Science and Society. She has authored and co­-edited ten books, including the award-­winning Killing the Black Body and Shattered Bonds. Her latest book is Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re­-create Race in the Twenty­-First Century. She received the 2015 Solomon Carter Fuller Award from the American Psychiatric Association for “providing significant benefit for the quality of life for Black people.”

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