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Roberts, Dorothy E. “Race, Gender, and Genetic Technologies: A New Reproductive Dystopia?” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society 34, no. 4 (Summer 2009): 783–804.


In this article, Dorothy Roberts addresses reprogenetics and the “racial caste system” it has created. In general, Roberts finds reprogenetics shift responsibility for children’s health and well-being away from the government and towards individual women.  Originally, policies regarding reprogenetics  encouraged the use of high-tech fertility practices for white women, while using reproductive technology for population control of people of color, thus pitting eugenics against a form of ‘choice’ for white, affluent women. Now, reprotechnology has evolved and marketers target women of color as well. However, Roberts argues that the marketing of race-based biotechnologies can “reinforce the biological meaning of race,” thus furthering a belief that race is a natural classification instead of a social construct. She contends that, “including women of color in the market of reprogenetic technologies does not eradicate the racial caste system,” and instead obscures responsibility for the overall health of American children by shifting responsibility away from the government and placing it on mothers who are accountable for the genetic fitness of their children. Roberts attributes this shift in responsibility to the increasing reliance on neoliberal policies. The article is emphasizes the dystopia surrounding reprogenetic technologies and genetic defect screening over an analysis of race. It is useful for a critique of neoliberal policies and how they have an effect on reproduction.


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Related Topics

Race/ethnicity: African American/Black   Assisted reproductive technology   Health care   Race/ethnicity: European American/white   Health disparities   Population control