Recognizing Racism in Bioethics as the Subject of Bioethical Concern
Attending to racism and US bioethics raises the question of whether and how racism in bioethics has been the subject of bioethical scrutiny. Bioethics has certainly brought its analytical tools to bear on racist aspects of clinical care and biomedical research. But has bioethics studied racism in bioethics as its subject? A close examination of relevant reports, articles, and books in the US bioethics literature published in the early days of the field, pre-2000, shows mixed findings. In the 1970s, racism as a bioethical concern was variously nonexistent, vaguely implied, and powerfully examined and condemned. In the late 1980s/early to mid-1990s, racism was more frequently described and critiqued, often in the context of discussions about African American perspectives of biomedical ethics and inequities in health care. Understanding how racism in bioethics has been addressed as an ethical concern has consequences for the historical narratives told about the field, for antiracist bioethics work today, and for envisioning an antiracist future for bioethics.
Copyright (c) 2022 Charlene Galarneau
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
The Canadian Journal of Bioethics applies the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License to all its publications. Authors therefore retain copyright of their publication, e.g., they can reuse their publication, link to it on their home page or institutional website, deposit a PDF in a public repository such as PubMed Central. However, the authors allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy their publication, so long as the original authors and source are cited.