Osagie Obasogie: Race, science, and policy

Osagie Obasogie: Race, science, and policy

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>> If you could tell us how you funded the story  and how you funded it I have questions about   how there could be a pond in the 21st  century but maybe we will start there   and then we can talk more about it. >> That was my initial reaction. The school   received an e-mail about the availability of  funding for faculty members. So it was described   as a bond who had been there and they could  apply it to have funding to support the e-mail.   I did not know how to respond so at this point  I had been there for three years. I talked to my   colleagues and I said do you know about this  in what's going on we met with the Dean and   we decided to suspend the fund in order to have  an investigation to understand what's going on.  

So, that was the process but it was  very productive. We worked with the   administration, to basically figure out what was  going on and learn more about the fund and we   decided that it was inappropriate and  the school and the campus decided to   start the process of acknowledging it as  unappropriate and they apologized for it.   So, that led up to the most recent article that  came out in the Los Angeles Times that was a   full disclosure of what we knew about the fun.  We publicly acknowledge the existence and what   we needed to do. Right now, we have a new Dean  we have a leader and we begin a process a few  

weeks ago of connecting with the public health  community and students and balcony and alumni   and receiving bun back on their use of the funds.  So that. It is about to close and they need   to assess what the thoughts are and they  will make a decision on how to move forward.   At the very least we will have some conversations and I think it is important to   acknowledge the existence of the fund and also  engage in some level of electric -- education   so that as professionals we understand the role  of eugenics and the legacy. Also to have community   conversation for people who are not necessarily  in the Academy to get educated on the history.   We don't really talk about it. When  we do talk about it, we can covet as   this odd idea that people in Germany had in the  1930s and they went too far then when we realize   with a dead everyone moved away from it. That is  an accurate many academics were engaged and  

promoted the ideas. In fact a lot of people  in Germany in the 20s and 30s and the 40s   actually looked to the United States for  leadership on the idea. So the tendency we have   to frame eugenics as a Nazi idea, it does  not fully acknowledge the role America   played in acknowledging these ideas. We really need a public conversation   and to really make sure that, we have a  full understanding as we move forward   >> I think it is worth emphasizing what you  just said which is, this was only 40 years ago.   I'm wondering, and presumably this is not the  first time an e-mail was sent out about it. You   said you only joined the faculty two years ago. >> That's a great question. It's unclear  

what went on. So there was a faculty member  who had access to the funds. One person,   obviously knew about it but at the other time  people on campus knew about it as well. Your   question is good and why did it take 40 years for  them to realize this wasn't the best way to do it.   I don't have a good answer. When I saw it I  knew it was not something we could or should   be a part of. I am thankful that, the current  Dean as really committed to using these funds   for antiracist purposes. He really wants to see  the money being used to educate when you see  

people arguing the best way to approach the  best covid-19 crisis is to let it spread and   look forward to their immunity, what going on  when you use it in that context where the idea   is that we let the virus spread bills were weak  will die and those who are strong will survive   then we will go from there and pick up  the pieces. When we think the answer   is simply allow the fittest to move forward  and those who are weak to Paris, that idea   in practice is connected to this  sensibility. We have to understand   these ideas is we understand where it come from  and we think of a way that we can do these   kinds of problems. >> Obviously we started off with   and I'm glad we did, I think for me, the question  is, how do we, what are the steps to which   we ensure that conversations like herd immunity  or implicit messages of survival of the fittest,   is made clear in policy conversation. Is it about,  my go to and probably yours, do we need to train  

more students to think about these connections.  I am wondering, how do we make sure when we are   talking about public health interventions, that  these legacies are top of the mind or part of the   calculation? Have you thought about this? >> Unfortunately I think too much about this.   This idea has been at the center of my  career in terms of how do we make sure   the history and the legacies are central to these  public conversations that we have a law in place.   For me it starts with what I can control like  education. As an educator, I have the honor  

and privilege to teach students from different  types of backgrounds. I teach medical students,   law students, different students from various  departments. Public health students. What I find   interesting is, when I teach I start with the  eugenics movement. It is an unusual way to   start the conversation but I think  it is an appropriate place to start.  

I always ask, how many of you have heard about  this. And, it is always a handful of students   who have heard about it. The vast majority have  not heard about it. These are graduate students   at an amazing university who have had great  education opportunities and they are not   familiar with it. So if they are not, you can  imagine what the rest of the country thinks about   eugenics like policymakers and lawmakers. We have to have a very aggressive and large  

campaign on this. This is connected to the  general education around science in this country.   We have to understand the historical  context in these legacies and how   this particular moment, in American history has  been influential. Not only for public health and   medicine, but when you think about social welfare,  when you think about other aspects, these are all   affected by the thinking. In order for us to truly  understand the damage that was done, we have to   expose the history and expose the continuity of  thoughts through past and present so we can   have a better future. >> In addition to educational   practices we have to have competent leaders who  want tough conversations. This is a very tough   conversation to have. It is hard to say that, the  way we think of medicine and public health are  

connected to the practices that many engaged  in back when. One example I talk about is,   I wrote an article a couple of years ago about  Robert Edwards. Robert is this, he is a Nobel   lawyer he won the prize in 2010 for his work in  developing IBF and the article I wrote was about   how he had a very long and distinguished history  is that you Genesis. He was a member of bird  

-- Britain's eugenics society. He wrote things  that were horrific. It shaped his entire career.   So for example he saw FB -- IBF to -- as  an important platform to enhance people.   So this ability to manipulate the sperm is privacy  that may lead to human enhancement. So, this was   someone who was all in and yet we celebrate  him. This is not to say IBF is a bad thing.   It has brought joy and happiness to many people  but we have to understand, even these useful   medical practice, have a history that we  have to struggle and grasp with to make sure   we are aware of that as we continue to understand the full impact tangents   to link this conversation back to what we began  talking about the eugenics fun. I'm wondering what   the role is for universities. We are at a moment,  at Michigan we have been talking about this  

for a while in terms of what are the criteria  we should have in terms of who we employ   what names should we have on buildings and what  should we take out. Whom should we take money,   what are our standards. What if I were tenured  faculty is publishing this kind of work.   What is your guidance for universities. I think  that's an important arena of policymaking as   well. What do universities  do what do institutions do   to manage this eugenics legacy. >> This conversation as many layers.   On one hand you have the situation like what  happened at USC when one of the former presidents,   was eight you Genesis and said some horrific  things and his name was on the building.  

They decided to take that down a few months ago.  So, there have been other situations especially   in California. California has an unusual number of  middle schools and high schools and institutions   of learning who were named after people who  follow eugenics. So that's a conversation   they will have to have in California. But what you are getting at is important. That   is an acknowledgment that there are people on the  faculty that still buy into and promote eugenics.  

That is the conversation we really need to get to.  For those of us connected with the University we   know of a few people who have said or  written things in line with eugenics.   When we do. As a university and in the culture  we want to promote free speech and intellectual  

thought and engagement so people can follow  what they believed to be. On the other hand,   free speech does not mean hate speech. It  does not mean to say, you can argue and a   certain proportion of the population should  be eliminated. That is a tough conversation.  

My belief is that that is where the  conversation will go over the next few years.   It is one thing for a university to say that a  certain amount of funds should not be used, that   is a straightforward conclusion to come to but how  do we engage with faculty members who may continue   to believe eugenics and use it as an academic  perspective. And to be clear this has been   debunked and has little scientific merit to it. >> One idea in this general set of issues we   have been talking about. One thing  you proposed, is the idea of race   around policies, interventions and technologies.  I have been very taken by this idea, when you look   at the policies, we have environmental assessments  bears a lot of discussion about social impact, so   this moment especially, this is the idea that  could potentially get a lot of attention and   traction. I am wondering can you describe the idea  and help us to understand how that might work?  

2 >> The idea of an impact assessment has   been around for decades. You see it in the field  of environmentalism. So the basic thought is that   if you want to put up a building someplace,  before you can be approved you have to put   out some type of an assessment showing that the  construction of a new building will not disrupt   other environmental needs. You want to show what  you are doing won't have an adverse impact on the   environment. It is a tedious process but we do  this because we have respect for the environment   and we want to make sure, any development  we put up does not have a bad impact.   The idea behind it is that those people who  want to construct these things, there intent   is not to disrupt the environment but, they may  inadvertently do so. So we want to go to through  

the process so it doesn't happen. The idea is that  the overall impact may be one we want to avoid.   Similarly, the basic notion is that whenever, and  I talk about this in the context of race-based   medicines and DNA forensics. The basic issue  is these are policies that are often engaged   with some sort of government support.  When the government allows this like   FDA approval for a race based medicine, before  that medicine becomes available to the public,   we should have some assessment of the impact  that the FDA approval will have on multiple races   in the society. Tight when we think about the one  that came out introduced -- 2005, the first race   medicine for a racial group, this medicine for African-American suffering from heart failure.  

Many thought this was a wonderful achievement.  The idea was if we have raised specific   medicines we can target health disparities. The other side is the idea that once the FDA gets   into the business of saying, that disparities and  heart failure was driven by some type of inherent   natural difference this gives credence to  the idea that races biological and not a   construction that we have been taught about.  The impact of the government getting into the   business of reaffirming the rays could have a  tremendous impact on all types of things.   We have been down this road of  biological rates in the past.   It has not turned out well. This is the  conversation around scientific racism and  

genetics. We have evidence that the conversation  turns out bad for committees of color.   Here we are in 2005, where the medicine  was supposed to help the black community   but the overall impact could've been detrimental.  So, basically it can be hopeful to let government   know the impact of their approvals may  be before these things hit the market.   That process could again, could lead to decisions  that can be more thoughtful, more tailored, or   perhaps, more people can decide not to use  these things at all. For the example I was   talking about, the physician who developed  it was a cardiologist who openly said,   yeah I give this to my white patients. But  a lot of people talked about how this was a,  

not innovation, but innovation around marketing  and out some of the goals around the development   of the drug wasn't used to help but to extend  the patent of the drug for another 13 years.   These are the considerations you have to  have before we go down this path and I think   racial impact could be helpful. >> Do you think at this moment,   obviously there has been thankfully, more  attention to racial justice and racial inequity,   with these high-profile deaths like  George Ford and breonna taylor,   does this create space for thinking about racial  justice questions specifically in science and   technology, specifically have you noticed that  in terms on how people are responding to your   work and ideas like race impact assessment.  Have you noticed the difference?   >> Yes, I think the current moment that we are in,  I think the awakening many people have had as been   beneficial. We have people talking about race in  ways that they haven't before. Because like the  

shocking video of George Floyd being strangled  really hit people and there's no explanation for   why it occurred outside of the fact that he  was treated poorly because of his rights.   That has led for people to realize how race  can effect decision-making and other areas.   I have seen this conversation really take  root and some of the other work I do around   policing. People have that conversation about  how the police can engage in the behavior.   I have seen less of it with regards to my  other work. Part of that I think is that even   after George Floyd, we continue to think about  race and racism as individual interactions.  

For example, we think of the officer in the George  Floyd case, we think of him as being an individual   bad personal bad apple, he made a bad  decision rather than thinking about the   set of circumstances in laws and policies that  allowed him to engage George Floyd it that way.   So a lot of my work, is really trying to take  emphasis off of the individual. We clearly   have to hold them accountable for what  they do but we also have to understand   that individuals do what they do because they  are part of systems and structures that enable   them to do those things. When we think about  qualified immunity which makes it hard to hold   police officers accountable for what they do. We  think about other aspects of criminal procedures  

and criminal law that makes it hard to persecute  -- prosecute police officers. Those are the   dimensions that put police officers in the the position where they can put their knee on   someone's neck and I think  about the consequences.   Science has a similar conversation. That is,  what is it about what we do as people who work   at sciences that tends to repeat certain outcomes  that adversely impact people of color. Rather than  

looking at it like individual scientists engaging  in individual behavior we have to think of the   patterns that are created by the messages  that we use and the structures we engage in.   What allows that to happen in very predictable  ways. And at the very least we hope the George   Floyd situation will allow people to make  shift and think about the structures.  

>> If we were to think about centering racial  justice as a public value in our science and   technology policies, what should we advocate for?  What would our policies and our laws look like?   I think you have talked around this but I would  love to see if you have more specific insight,   that may be useful for those watching. >> We have to put the experience of people   at the center of how we think about this. This is  really an issue around perspective and standpoint.   So, science is -- scientists themselves, is a  perspective that is steep in the position of those   in power. We talked about the role of markets  and capitalism. So, for an example when you think   about the distribution of the forthcoming covid-19  vaccines, so when we start having conversation   about who has access first, there are a lot of  ways to think about how do you prioritize your   My concern is that in the context  of this economy, we will think about   who has funding as the people who get access  first as opposed to those most vulnerable.  

Some companies have made strong pledges to make  sure people of color are 1st and that they have   access for free. Hopefully those commitments  will come through. But, basically since of   social justice would suggest the first people to  receive the vaccine, will be first responders,   those on the frontline in those communities where  we see the sprint happening at horrific rates.   Part of the reason these communities are  vulnerable, they tend to be communities of color   because of the structural circumstances  surrounding poverty and lack of resources   that put people in a position to be more  likely to contract the coronavirus.  

These aren't the type of conversations we have  to have in terms of who has access first. Again,   there have been some hopeful signs that things  could lead in that direction but we have to make   sure we prioritize those experiences first. >> Do you worry at all, you probably remember   this from early on. I think it was in April or  May. I think the months are rolling -- running   together at this point. But I remember early on  there was an article that came out from a number  

of physicians, I forget where it was published  but it was a medical journal where they were   linking the increased vulnerability amongst  communities of color and making some vague   handwaving towards the biological racist race.  How do we manage Matt -- that collects on one hand   you want policies that help the most  vulnerable communities due to structural   inequalities and bias but often these are  communities who are working on the front lines.   In the process of doing that, it  could also inadvertently serve to   reinforce erroneous ideas about the biology  of race. How do we swear that in a way  

that does not do harm in the process? >> That is a fantastic question. This is   part of the reason why, it is important for  my work and as a scholar to engage folks in   medicine and Public health. That is because,  I taught our law school for eight years.   Then I came over to the joint medical program in  2016. What has always really surprised and shocked   me is the extent to which notions of biological  rates continues to be prevalent in health.   You have really smart accomplished people who  still talk about race in biological terms. That   is to say they think of race as being a risk  factor for certain diseases of the same   consequence as other biological known  resources. You will hear people talk about  

these risk factors in variables in a way  that race will be like age or pre-existing   conditions which are known biological barriers and  races thrown in there as if it is biological but   it is more social and political. This is an entrenched problem in medicine   and public health. When we come back to the  original question which is how do we make   sure the conversation around covid-19 is used in  an appropriate way, we have to have a consistent   message around what makes people susceptible  or vulnerable to covid-19, it's not necessarily   anything biological, but it is about the social  conditions that people of color have been put in   connected to social patterns. That is to say, that  it is the environmental places and spaces people   find them and connected to legacies and  history of racism. That is what makes   3 people vulnerable to covid-19,   not anything biological with regards to  natural susceptibility is what I'm saying.  

I think another fascinating part of the  conversation, if you can remember back in February   and March when we talked about writing things down  and the conversation around covid-19 was much more   of a coherent concern of everyone being infected.  Then late March An early April we got some initial   figures about who was dying from covid-19. That  is the first time we started to see older people   and people of color. That is where we started to  have a conversation about reopening America.  

Adam sewer who writes, he had a great piece about  this. He said the eugenic sensibility around the   message. Once we had initial data showing it  was older people and people of color who were   dying from this, there was a sentiment  coming from the administration who said   these are people who don't matter. If other white  or middle-class or upper class are not being   infected let's just keep this thing going. And  that is another way we see eugenics play out.  

These are policy choices being made with  regard to prioritizing economic growth and   development over the lives of the most vulnerable  people. When you engage in policies like this   you are saying certain lives do not matter. Lives  that are already disregarded and not seen as   worthy, once they are exposed to the disease.  The policy was, let it run its course.   So, again, it comes back to the original  conversation about why it is important to   have conversations around eugenics and making  connections about choices we see being made.  

>> I have lots of questions but so does the  audience. So, I want to get to those. For those   of you who have not asked those questions you  can do so in the Q&A. I will start with this one.   We are seeing a growing number of declarations  of racism as a public health crisis. In Michigan,   the governor assigned such a declaration in  August. So, what do you think about these actions.  

They are symbolic and symbolism is important  but it is symbolism. Perhaps not necessarily   linked to concrete policy actions,  how can it translate to policy action?   Especially, we are at a moment where people are really energized, so what can they advocate for,   like for example if the governor has said this,  what is the next step we may see students or   faculty or community members advocating for? >> Yes, a great first step. I am waiting to see   what people will do after this. This is  an acknowledgment of something that a lot   of scholars of color has said for decades.  Racism is a public health issue that affects  

people lives and their lifespans as well. So, I am happy to see people acknowledge this but   I am less sure that we will see meaningful steps  come out of this from the public health community.   In part because the public health community  itself is steeped in the history and logics   of how it does its work that maintains the status  quo. That's to say we have to rethink the way we   do public health if we're going to take seriously  that racism is in a public health problem.  

The conversation I have with my students, to get  back to eugenics, many of the statistical methods   we use in public health and other sciences were  developed by eugenics for eugenic purposes. We   can't ignore that as if it doesn't matter  because it becomes uncomfortable to think   the very tools we use as civil science to measure  social phenomenons, that was developed in the 20s   and Thursdays -- zero sow two reproduce certain  groups and discourage reproduction of the groups,   unless we think about what that means,  then, it is hard to think about what   it means to move forward in a manner that acknowledges that and encourages us to develop   new tools that are supportive of all groups  rather than using tools that replicate some   of the ideologies that were designed to look  at the health and well-being of all people.   >> Go ahead. >> So, this is why I am concerned. I think   those conversations about the structure of the  field have to be addressed. We can say racism is   a public health problem that is a great sentiment,  but unless we engage the structural problems in   terms of how we go about doing our work, unless  those are addressed we are not taking seriously   the more critical revelations. >> Just on this point,  

one of the questions here, is directly tied  to that. What are some ways the faculty today   frame or disguise eugenics views to be  more scientific than hateful. I know   you read Angela book and she talked about how  some scientists talk about I am not political,   I just followed the data. You are still hearing  a lot of that. So eugenics isn't is hiding in   plain sight in those places. It's hiding in plain  sight to a large degree as well as in statistics,   what does that mean for what should  we look for all of us as concerned   people what should we look for cracks how do we recognize it. How do we call it out. One of the   things that would be very useful is I often see  people who recognize it but they don't know how to   approach their professor or their PI to say  listen, this is eugenicists and this is why it is   problematic. Do you have ideas on how this  happens and how we may be able to take  

this smaller policy step to address it? >> It is a huge problem. I think the way it   manifests itself is that we still continue to have  a deep commitment to the way we teach things. So,   for example a lot of scholars in my department,  they do fantastic work but they are cautious   and the assumption is we can understand a social  phenomenon by observing it and collecting data   and then the data tells us what is going  on. The surface level and assessment is   how something becomes impactful. So the critique  has been around for hundreds of years. This   is the notion that we have to think deeper  about underlying causes beyond what is   immediately observable. Unfortunately, too many  social sciences and life scientists still continue   to embrace this spirit what that means is that, we  collect data around disparities and we see a gap   between whites and Blacks, the positive responses  that, there is a different spirit there is a gap.  

It must be something inherent to the people or  groups themselves. That lends itself to a certain   frame of thinking and ideology that  allows white supremacy ideas to come   without engaging deeper and how these caps  are connected through histories and legacies   that produce differences between various social groups. So rather than seeing them as a   natural reflection, seeing out these distinctions  and gaps are produced by ongoing social economic   and political mistreatment. So, that is how these things get   reproduce. I think the moment of intervention  is, also difficult particularly if you are a   grad student and you are trying to get a PhD.  That is not a position of power to rock the boat.  

You are being asked to replicate in a sense what  has been done in your field for many decades. In   particular was being done in the field now, so you  can get your PhD and get into your current job.   Once you have your job that is not a space that  is walkable because you're trying to get tenure.  

Once you get tenure, again, not really  rocking the boat because you want to   become a full professor. By then  you are so entrenching your ideas   in your career, again, it may not be the  best time to go about those things.   This is how academia reproduces this  spirit this is how eugenics is reproduce.   All of the incentives within the academy,  again there are incentives to be innovative   and do things new but many are in a way to keep  things moving, keep things going in a particular   direction so that your career advances. We have to find opportunities to change the   incentives so people can think about  ways to intervene so that we can move   things in a different direction. An example I teach a class here, the  

classes designed for grad student so  they can have a critical understanding   of what social science methods do. Understand  what comes out of the tragic history we've been   talking about. And what does it mean to bring  critical theory into the conversation.   That is to say, critical race theories,  disability theories, queer theories, working that   bring to the way we collect and analyze  data so that we can't do it in a way that   is responsive to the theoretic contributions  be made by the field but allows us to be   adequate and robust in the  way we collect the data.   My hope is that will write a context for their  graduate students to supply the tools we need.   4 >> That course, you mentioned   this to me earlier, before we began the webinar.  That is a course for medical student sometimes. So   that is really about, training practitioners.  Potential, this theory is open to everyone on  

campus. I do have some medical students but  I also have PhD students and law students.   I do teach a version of the class for medical  students as well. It is a little different   but we do some of the same principles. >> So, one of the things we're doing at Michigan,   we have been involved in conversations to  try to rethink the undergraduate curriculum   at the core of the curriculum given how, there's  all of this concerned about AI and more. Because,  

I think one of the things as I mentioned before,  we have a program and these things are essential   to that but that is an opt in program. Those  are students who often go off and become part of   science and technology policy in institutions  but the challenge I think is how do we   integrate this way of thinking this complexity  of thinking at a curricular level.   The second is and I am wondering what you think of  both of these things for the models that you like.   Part of the challenge is there is a perceived  simplicity to the bile observation of race or   the idea that we can techno fix whatever the  problem is and the structural, historical,   legal interventions that you were talking about,  are the polar opposite of those things. So, when   we think about how do we educate whether it is  getting physicians or biologists or practitioners,   there -- I don't know if there  is resistance but, there is a   frustration that there is not a  tool they could pick up and   go on their merry way. Especially if you are  forcing them to do this. Have you seen models of   this kind of, this kind of talking to them about  this complexity or engaging with this complexity   around issues of racial injustice? >> Nothing comes to mind immediately.  

It is a complex issue. On one hand we have to  deal with often times, these are departments   in the schools that are not necessarily stellar  with the university on multiple lines in terms   of gender, race, nationality. So, it is hard to  get people to acknowledge there is a problem.   Once you have an acknowledgment of a problem  then there can be a difficult conversation around   acknowledging that science itself is political.  Science promotes its own ideologies. And that we   have to diss embed the political nature and ideas  of science in order to reconstitute it in a manner   that is based in includes equity inclusion.  That is a very uphill battle to have.   To suggest that the scientific method itself as  its own ideology go commitment that is geared   more towards whiteness instead of inclusion. This is the work we have to do. This has to be  

as much of the curriculum as any type of  technical training that we can provide.   If we produce the next generation of scholars and  professionals who are not aware of this history   then we are going to repeat the same problems  over the next few decades. The only way we can   disrupt that is to have conversations in  the Academy 1st and allow -- make sure the   next generation will believe the work they do. >> Do you have book recommendations in terms of,  

of course I have to shout out Alexander Stern's  work. She is a professor at the University of   Michigan who has written on the history  of eugenics. I'm wondering if you have   favorite books about, how it is informing U.S.  policy today. If people really want to understand  

the legacy of eugenics and policy, are  there touchstones for you? Dance yes,   of course anything by that term. >> I wholeheartedly endorse that. And   probably the most assessable. >> We have vendors   of eugenics and one book connects it to the impact  on how we think about reproductive genealogy.  

We have a new set of technologies that, that  have the potential to have the outcome that   one can only dream of. So within the next few  years be able to create children with selected   types and trades and intelligence and all type  of things. And Edwin Black put their predicament   in his oral context for us to think about what  policies do we need to implement to make sure   these eugenic ideas don't become normalized as  the way we do reproduction going forward.   That is where I would start. >> Great. A couple of more questions. One,   to go back to this eugenics fun and the role of  the family -- philanthropist, and universities,   well, first I am curious whether you know   whether or not there are similar funds elsewhere  in the U.S. working. But, even more generally,   the question asked, what do you  suggest the staff and students do   to see a list of the funds available to  the department to check whether rehab funds   supporting eugenics, what might an organized  effort to catalog eugenics funds look like.  

I might even expand it to our conversation  about buildings and peer-reviewed   papers. I think there is a lot we could  include. When you were looking at the fund,   do you know anything else about the landscape?  Are there similar funds? How may people go about   trying to discover this information corrects >> The Fern -- the fund at Berkeley was unique   because of its goals. We received some of the  original documents. In terms of the things set up   to facilitate research on the improvement  of the human race. It was very explicit.   So, I am not aware of other universities that  have funds like this but, I think as we move   forward we will want to pay attention to the  research people do. I think it will be rare   that the funding mechanisms will be that  explicit. But when you peel things back,   you can see a similar ideology going on in certain  research efforts. That is what we have to pay  

attention to. So thinking about, trying to pay  attention to resources that try to change this and   not show who people are inherently. Whenever you  see research going in that direction we need to   think seriously about what those findings mean and  how those findings will be used and recognized as   a way to suggest why certain people should be  supported and other people should not. That is   the trajectory we want to keep our eyes on. >> This goes to another question which is,   whether or not, are we actually in a resurgence  of race-based medicine. There seems to be a lot of   AI predicting personality from base shapes there  were a few that were shown on twitter. Is that  

just more attention to the same problem or is the  problem growing. Maybe with AI tools they go back   to the same pattern of decentralizing rates. >> I think it is growing, in part because we have   a generation of researchers who who have been  trained outside of this historical context.   So they are rediscovering the difference and  naturalizing it. So that is why you have people   using AI to discover the difference that magically  aligned with grace and then race is a causal   factor rather than understanding the underlining  conditions. So it's actually happening and we   have to continue to call it out for what it is. >> Okay we have a few minutes left so I will ask  

the final question. It is, how can policymakers  and scientists work together to improve science   communication. I would add science policy  that is sensitive to racism and eugenics?   >> Number one, we need to  hire more people like you.   >> I agree. >> And you  

Osagie Obasogie. >> The truth is that you are not,   there are not a lot of us in the Academy. Not  nearly enough. And people that's right we need to   train and hire people who do this kind of work  so they can be colleagues of people who are doing   more traditional work so that  these conversations can happen.   We also talked about curricular changes. Too  often, we allow people to get PhD's without having  

a serious class or conversation about ethical  context and that is not that's right acceptable.   That is creating a poor economic -- academic  x-rays. Even if departments do not have, faculty   member who can talk about the issue directly,  until that has grown, before you get a PhD,   or life sciences, maybe you should take  a few classes in African-American studies   or women's studies, maybe that should be a key  element to get a degree from these departments.   Unless you are in a space where you have these conversations, people cannot imagine how   their work may be implicated in a way that makes  the problems worse. You have to dedicate resources   to make sure the faculties are more diverse and  that curricular demands are rigorous not only in   technical development, but also rigorous to make  sure people have a full understanding of the   social amplifications. >>  

5 >> On that note, it is 5:00 p.m. I want to thank   you very much. You don't get the thunderous  applause if you were in Ann Arbor today. But   you will get mine. And it to our audience, thank  you very much for joining us today. And, you can  

as you see here in the chat you can join us for  our next event which is digital contact tracing,   an unlikely policy story with Aaron Simpson  who is the director of technology policy   on Monday December 7 at 4:00 p.m. The  link to register for that event is in   the chat. Think you again Osagie Obasogie, it was  amazing to talk to you. I'm sorry we could not

2021-01-03 02:46

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