Fatal Invention: Re-creating Race in the Genomic Era

Colorful abstract geometric illustration featuring a double helix, data, bar charts, and an eye

The mapping of the human genome in 2003 confirmed that race is not written in our genes.

As Dorothy Roberts explains, race is a social category that was invented to support an unjust political hierarchy. Yet we are witnessing the re-creation of race in biological terms using cutting-edge genomic science and biotechnologies, such as race-specific medicines and ancestry tests, that incorporate false assumptions of racial difference at the genetic level. Roberts argues that this genetic understanding of race masks the continuing impact of racism in a supposedly post-racial society and she calls instead for affirming our common humanity by working to end the social inequalities that truly divide us.

The live stream will be open to the public. Please register to access the BlueJeans link.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021
Start Time:
3 p.m. PDT
Host or Sponsor:
Fred Hutch Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Virtual via BlueJeans
Speaker or Presenter:
Dorothy Roberts, J.D.
Dorothy Roberts, J.D.

Dorothy Roberts, J.D.

Dorothy Roberts is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, with joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School, where she is the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights. She is also the founding director of the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, she has written and lectured extensively on race, gender, and class inequities in U.S. institutions and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive freedom, child welfare, and bioethics. 

Most recent book: Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century

Image Credit: Chris Crisman