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The Center for Practical Bioethics: "Whiteness Amidst a Racial Reckoning in America"

Monday, August 17, 2020
6:45 pm8:00 pm

A Letter to My People: Reflections on Whiteness Amid a Racial Reckoning in America
ft. Erika Blacksher, PhD, John B. Francis Chair, Designee

The United States is in the midst of a movement for racial justice unprecedented since the 1960s. Conjoined crises – a deadly pandemic, a financial crisis not seen since the Great Depression, and an unrelenting string of police killings of unarmed black men and women – have awakened millions of Americans to racial and social inequities that have long characterized the United States. Black and brown people, joined by white allies, have protested in the streets and demanded long overdue structural change. But the change we need is not only in our policies and institutions. We need also to understand whiteness and its role in structuring America and shaping these inequities. What is whiteness and why are so many white people clueless about it?

At this year’s Flanigan lecture, Erika Blacksher, the John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics designee, talks about whiteness, its intersection with social class, and its role in shaping people’s lives and health prospects. Drawing candidly on her own life story as a first generation high school graduate, Dr. Blacksher will connect pivotal moments in her own journey to ideas about whiteness that we need to begin to explore and understand.