White supremacy’s long shadow: Why the myth of “race” still haunts America by JACQUELINE JONES

In an excerpt of her new book, “A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race From the Colonial Era to Obama’s America,”  Jacqueline Jones describes how, “decades removed from the lows of segregation, black America still struggles against its twisted logic.”



Roxane Gay strives to diversify the literary conversation By Emily Keeler/LATimes


The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks: “A Family Consents to a Medical Gift, 62 Years Later” By Carl Zimmer, NYTimes

Issues of ethics, privacy, socioeconomics, racism, research, science, consent, justice, and voice are all present in this case. Henrietta Lacks was a poor black woman with dying from cancer in 1951. Without her consent, some of her cancer cells were removed, cultured, and have subsequently been used in many thousands of research studies (and resulting in profits and careers for scientists and corporations). Her family only found out about the widespread use of her cells when researchers approached them, asking for blood samples. This story is chronicled in Rebecca Skloot‘s 2010 best-seller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

From the NYTimes article: “Henrietta Lacks was only 31 when she died of cervical cancer in 1951 in a Baltimore hospital. Not long before her death, doctors removed some of her tumor cells. They later discovered that the cells could thrive in a lab, a feat no human cells had achieved before.

Soon the cells, called HeLa cells, were being shipped from Baltimore around the world. In the 62 years since — twice as long as Ms. Lacks’s own life — her cells have been the subject of more than 74,000 studies, many of which have yielded profound insights into cell biology, vaccines, in vitro fertilization and cancer.

But Henrietta Lacks, who was poor, black and uneducated, never consented to her cells’ being studied. For 62 years, her family has been left out of the decision-making about that research. Now, over the past four months, the National Institutes of Health has come to an agreement with the Lacks family to grant them some control over how Henrietta Lacks’s genome is used.”



“Orange Is the New Black”: Just an edgier version of “The Help” by Elissa Strauss, Salon.com

I haven’t seen “Orange is the New Black,” yet, but plan to. However, I’ve seen several articles and posts that discuss that, in spite of the show’s complex presentation of sexual orientation, issues of race and socioeconomic status are undeveloped and stereotypical.


Related Content:

The Persistent Geography of Disadvantage by RICHARD FLORIDA

“Inequality stems from place itself and is located in the urban neighborhoods that generations of African-Americans have called home. Despite the civil rights gains of the 1960s, there has been little change in the concentrated disadvantage faced by a large number of black families. Sharkey found that over 70 percent of the African-American residents of America’s poorest and and most segregated neighborhoods are the children and grandchildren of those who lived in similar neighborhoods forty years ago. The persistence of intergenerational poverty and economic disadvantage is thus inextricably linked to location and place.”


Angelia Jolie’s Choice – NYTimes Opinion

Angelina Jolie wrote in the New York Times yesterday about her choice to have a double mastectomy, given her genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancer. However, she brings up issues of access to testing and the high cost. I’m glad she’s talking about this important issue (and encouraging others to talk about topics that were once taboo), but it also brings up serious issues related to health care in the U.S.