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Confronting Racialized Bioethics: New Contract on Black America.


Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, in putting forward his ideas on reorganizing our social benefits and social burdens, has popularized the term, "Contract With America." This article will show how the '90s brings not a contract with Black America, but a new contract on Black America. The contract on Black America pushes forward on three fronts: 1) at the grassroots level, terroristic, overt violence by skinheads, neo-Nazis and other hate-groups; 2) on a middle-class (bourgeois) level, a middle-class compassion fatigue that is symptomatic of withdrawal from inclusionary measures for people of color, including white-flight in the area of housing, and anti-affirmative action initiatives on university and college campuses; and 3) on an academic level, intellectual racism in the form of new theories, including sociobiology, and medical science's medicalization of social issues. At issue are the key questions of communication ethics and distributive justice. Will America tell the truth about its agendas? Is America willing to equitably share the goods?

Historical Contexts for the New Contract

Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott, a West Indian from St. Lucia, said to Bill Moyers in an interview, "The immigrant's dream is inviolable, but the black man's dream is not--it is made to be different. The black man's dream is not allowed to be the American dream" (Interview with Moyers, 1989). Walcott talks about the language phenomenon, calling it the "language of empire," which is used as a mask to hide the will of the dominant culture to keep the goodies to themselves. There is also the language of religion, which demonizes AIDS victims, asserting a deserving immorality for a genocidal epidemic that affects Black and Hispanic women of color disproportionately. However, the racist stereotype of bigoted lower-class uneducated Whites is to an extent lessening, as former liberals move to the right of center.

In the 1990s, the cool, clear "objective" language of science, known officially as sociobiology, is heard. Nowhere is this clearer than in the intellectual history of American higher education. From our nation's founding, its scholars have participated, initiated even, racist ideology based on and fostering the myth of White superiority. As Professor Luke Tripp has observed, "It is deeply imbedded in the culture of academe." (Tripp, The Intellectual Roots, p. 228)

In the eighteenth century, physician Benjamin Rush, the "Father of American Psychiatry," defined the black color of people of African ancestry as a disease.(1) Moreover, ignoring pleas from his enlightened French friends, Thomas Jefferson, noted American enlightenment philosopher and president, theorized that Blacks were inherently inferior in reason and imagination in Notes on Virginia, a classic text in American Studies courses. He considered Phillis Wheatley's heroic couplets parrotlike imitations of real poetry, refusing to grant that a black woman could possess a mind. That she was all body, he seemed too ready to believe, taking free sexual access to his wife's "half-black" sister, Sally Heming. And in the nineteenth century, William A. Dunning and John W. Burgess, Columbia University professors, argued that slavery was a benign institution, and warned of the perils of newly freed Blacks who held political positions during Reconstruction as a threat from Black brutes.

Francis A. Walker, Yale professor of political economy, and author of the most widely used work in the introductory course in college economics from 1883 to 1900, asserted that Whites had a racially based "mechanical genius" imbedded in the "great inventive Teutonic race" that justified expansion of the trio science, economics and technology over inferior peoples. Walker, later becoming president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was also the commissioner of Indian Affairs. Little wonder that today's Native Americans struggle with pollution and nuclear waste dumped on the reservations they were forced to live on in resettlement policies of the Indian Bureau.

No mind, but all sex. This is what psychologist G. Stanley Hall maintained at the turn of the century. Racist novels depicting black men as leopard-like rapists leaping from open windows onto chaste white womanhood accompanied the greatest number of lynchings in American history. America's first great movie, Birth of a Nation, dramatized Thomas Dixon's novel, The Clansman, debasing Black politicians as shiftless, lazy or, when active, crazed sex offenders. (The nation in the title was the Klu Klux Klan.)

Hall, the first Ph.D. in psychology in the United States and the founder of the psychology laboratory at Johns Hopkins (1883) and the American Journal of Psychology (1887), offered academic anti-Black propaganda that legitimized vigilante contracts on black male (and female) bodies, asserting that a peculiar emotional intensity of Black people was associated with unbridled sexuality. (Jordan, White over Black, 1968 and Fredrickson, The Image in the White Mind, 1974.) During the turn of the century, when white privilege was threatened by black assertion, as it is today, Robert Bennett Bean, a professor of anatomy at the University of Virginia Medical school, offered scientific support for the theory that Blacks were innately brutal, vicious and stupid. The "Negro Brain," while normal in perception, memory and motor responses, was deficient in logical critical thinking and in grasping abstract ideas, due to its arrested development. Even the distinguished Harvard historian Albert Bushel Hart, known for his "Germ Theory" which contends that each nation had a particular contribution such as the political system of England, was quoted in Thomas Grossett's Race, theorizing that the "Negro mind" ceases to develop after adolescence.

The eve of Hitler's rise was a time when Hitler and his intellectual theorist, Alfred Rosenberg, found much of their racist ideology in American intellectual writings. In 1930, three years before Hitler took over and formed the Third Reich, Howard W. Odum, president of the American Sociological Society, published Social and Mental Traits of the Negro: A Study in Race Traits, Tendencies, and Prospects, in which he wrote of Blacks as outside the pale of morality and humanity. According to Tripp, Odum theorizes that "The Negro has few ideals and perhaps no lasting adherence to an aspiration toward real worth. He has little conception of the meaning of virtue, truth, honor, manhood, integrity. His mind does not conceive of faith in humanity--he does not comprehend it." (Tripp, p. 228).

Interestingly this was written in the post-Abolitionist era, offering the bestial/demonic image of Blacks. Before this time, Blacks, as in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin's major characters Uncle Tom and the near-white Eliza and George, were theorized as repositories of an innate spirituality. Stowe claimed that they were "natural" Christians--kind, selfless, giving. She ends her novel with Uncle Tom beaten to death as he refuses to fight back, and the near white Eliza and George on their way to live in Liberia to Christianize the natives!

Ironically, in the late twentieth-century, both angelic and demonic images will be used to justify medical racism. Blacks will be enticed into being good "Uncle Toms," representing disproportionate organ donors, by talk of "gifts" and "sacrificial good." Go into any Black church and you will find copious copies of donation brochures, even though Blacks suffer from not getting transplants, either from lack of money, lack of access to efficient medical care, or lack of support in post-op settings at home. (Spielman, "Directed Donation," Lecture, 1994.)

Blacks are expected to be happy donees. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, when African-Americans are demonic, seen as owing themselves to the body politic because of the terrible crimes they commit. Language of causality, of the prevalence of guns in our community, high unemployment, high density population, a younger, more active (violent) population is never entered into the equation, so solutions are not sought, except the happy solution of increased execution of prime bodies. All over, even Black legislators have joined whites in their desire to have juveniles tried as adults!

The Rise of Racist Sociobiology

By the 1970s, when White academics and intellectuals launched an assault on affirmative action, their educational campaign was not so subtly buttressed by the theorizing of prominent psychologist Arthur Jensen, who ascribed intellectual inferiority among Blacks to a genetic basis. Jensen included in his assault the backup measure of stockpiling white gametes, being among the first to participate in a sperm bank for "White genius."

Racist ideology masquerading as academic scholarship and fact continued with the rise of sociobiology in the '80s. James Q. Wilson and Richard Herrnstein, Harvard University professors, in Crime and Human Nature, (1985) based crime on genetic predisposition and lower intelligence. Intelligence is determined not by environment, but largely by genetics, and lower intelligence is positively correlated with crime; hence, the high crime rate among Blacks reflects their mental inferiority. Such theorizing justifies the belief and mental predisposition among Whites to justify the high incarceration rate of Blacks; as of May 1995, 44 percent of all inmates were African-American. Increased death penalties for punishment, for budgetary reasons, and for hidden schemes to attain organs for transplant, may be buttressed by such theorizing.

Herrnstein's publication of the controversial The Bell Curve (1994) shortly before his death was a parting shot aimed at further demeaning Black status in American eyes by insisting on Black low I.Q. Black intellectuals organized to prevent a conference titled, 'Genetic Factors in Crime," to be held by David Waserman, a lawyer and research scholar at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at Maryland, funded by the National Institutes of Health in the amount of $78,000.

Finally, the ideology of racial superiority, which may lead us to draconian, Hitlerian measures, continued in the '80s in the works of scholars like J. Philippe Rushton, professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario, who presented his views on racial differences at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, claiming that Orientals have "evolved" into the most intelligent race, Whites a close second and Blacks a distant last. (Tripp, p. 229). His ideas complemented those of Harvard Medical School Professor Emeritus Bernard Davis, occupier of an endowed chair, Adele Lehman Professor of Bacterial Physiology, who states that human races differ in their distribution of genetic potential, that trying to get equal performance from students from different groups is unrealistic because of genetic-based inequality.

The Rise of Medical Racism, Medical Economics and Medical Nationalism

When Americans look at the sites of the Human Genome Project initiatives, varied forms of genetic engineering projects, "assisted reproductions" of select gametes, and stockpiling of selected embryos, they include Yale, Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities.

Medical science is rushing toward a form of racist medical nationalism based on a biased belief in the primacy of genetics in racial inequality, and propelled by anxieties of being overwhelmed by the "Other," which justifies incarceration, exploitation of the "Other's Body," and finally, by any means necessary, exclusion, in Tripp's words: "White intellectual giants of the academy ... provided the theoretical and ideological underpinnings of racism and established it as a pillar in the traditional canon of academe." (Tripp, p. 227.)

Medical economics stacks the deck against the have-nots versus those who are rich or have jobs with good insurance benefits. Few African Americans will be likely to be recipients of major transplantations because they will have neither the money nor the job benefits. Deceptive language of "gift giving," quasireligious language about those who help others share the "miracle of

life," hide systematic, institutionalized racism inherent in the rationing process, driven by the inequality of economic status between blacks and whites.

The 1990s new contract for America is the alter side of the rewriting of a new contract on Black America. It is written in the "language of empire," dramatizing the empire of language and how language asserts itself in varied texts--legal contracts, media mush, academic textbooks and colluding "discussions" of ethical issues in various interview formats.

An End to Innocence: Bryant Gumble's Deconstruction of Medical Empire Talk

On Friday, May 12, 1995, African-American news anchor Bryant Gumble of the NBC Today Show announced that they would show a segment on a "miracle" baby, focusing on a couple and their physician from Loma Linda Hospital in California, who were discussing their "close call." Their baby, born with a defective heart, waited twenty days for a donor heart. (Here the camera shifted to the nursery's intensive care unit and you could see a fairly healthy looking baby with multiple tubes coming from its nose, head, etc.) Gumble questioned the three--the yuppie-looking couple, tired from their ordeal of staying up nights, and the happy triumphant doctor.

It was a painful interview, which irritated and angered the couple, but seemed to escape the doctor. He asked the doctor if the baby was out of danger, and he said, "No, not for two weeks." Then Gumble asked the couple if they participated in the new trend of getting to know the donor and the donor's family. They looked shocked, irritated and angry. "No," the wife said curtly, "and we don't want to know." She rambled for a while, commenting that the donor gave life, and speculating' that perhaps several babies were living now because of the multiple donations possible from the sole donor. Gumble then lifted the veil from the language of "miracles" and "gift-giving." He asked the husband if he had considered donating his baby's organs, since the baby's heart had stopped beating before they could get the donor heart to it. (This was the "close call.") The husband was shocked and angry; he almost stammered. They had such a hard time; they wanted their baby so much, he said. In short, it never occurred to them to make a gift of their baby.

Lowering the boom, Gumble asked, "What if you were in the other parent's place? Would you have given consent?" The man was almost outraged. "I don't know," he said. Not once did the couple express regret at the death of the donor. The recipient's ruthless, selfish will to power and the will for self survival and their progeny by money and by any means necessary emerged from this interview. And this was only possible because Gumble committed himself to a communication ethic that made visible those who are often erased from the picture.

In this interview, Gumble rejected a false dialogue that would speak only of medical "miracles" and "gifts." He turned the tables and revealed the true picture: the recipient baby, himself, could easily have been a donor; after all, his heart had stopped. In fact, some legislators wanted to enforce a rule that those who were not willing to donate would not be able to receive; but this case revealed the difficulty of that kind of legislation.

Finally Gumble ostensibly softened and used the usual rhetoric of the sad shortage of organs, asking the doctor if there wasn't a "shortage" at his hospital. Happy with his success, the doctor walked right into the trap. "Yes," he said. "We never have enough organs. If only more babies would die so that others might live."

To even speak of a shortage of human organs is strange language that we would have found even stranger twenty-five years ago. The only people who spoke of needing human organs were cannibals or peoples who engaged in sacrificial rites! In one interview, then, Gumble raised the troubling communication ethics and distributive justice of organ donation. The fact is that with organ transplantation as our surgery of choice for major illnesses, there will never be enough; in fact, society will be driven to draconian measures to increase the supply.

It does not take a lot of brains to realize that any baby in a hospital from a poor family, who is on Medicaid, which pays for organ retrieval, would be at higher risk of becoming a donor as he nears death than another equally sick baby whose parents have the money or the insurance to pay for surgery and postoperative care that costs upwards of a quarter to a half million dollars. Health scientists and politicians must unmask the language of innocence which is in reality "the language of empire, raiding the body of the Other, raiding its precious jewels."

More public policies must be enacted, such as banning smoking in restaurants. The effect of firsthand and secondhand smoke is a major cause of heart disease and the potential need for hearts. Smoking not only is a leading cause of heart disease in adults, it affects the unborn and the baby who is brought home to an environment where sometimes both parents smoke. Some bioethicists have suggested a kind of "sin" tax, so that if a couple like the one Gumble interviewed had been smokers, their baby would not be eligible for a transplant if, in fact, its heart condition had seemed to be caused by exposure to smoking. Such management constitutes a version of distributive justice. It is like the Rev. Wayne B. Amason's call in "Directed Donations" for affirmative action for organs for Blacks. (Amason, pp. 13-19.)

Such measures will likely be what society will resort to, as the empire manages its body politic, but it is the kind of bureaucratic solution to an inherently evil practice. While the need for consoling habits is understandable, society must seek alternatives, not only in medical protocols but in a socially responsible public policy activism to save the commitment to equality, dignity and the sense of community.

Fatal Innocence

In this post-industrial, post-Soviet age, America must admit that it is an empire. But how can one have a "democratic empire," Walcott asked Moyers, dramatizing how the phrase is an oxymoron. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see your true self. Walcott wants America to accept responsibility, the responsibility of Empire to protect and nourish its subjects. To deny Empire-status with slippery communication ethics is to promote inequitable distribution of goods.

American people in charge are not infants; they are not adolescents, but adults, responsible for their minds, their decisions and their effects. That applies internationally and internally. When America can admit this, Walcott thinks that then it will admit that what it calls a series of crises are not that at all, but rather part of a pattern of cause and effect. America will see the interconnectedness of the privileged and the underclass, the sinner and the saint, as it were. Not to do this is hypocrisy.

What Walcott may underestimate is how America uses its very hypocrisy to mask its iron will. This will to power stunned English writer, D.H. Lawrence, into his brilliant essay on American character, Studies in American Literature, where he theorized that Americans, at heart, were "hard, stoic, killers." Perhaps it will be the Others in the body politic--women, the poor, the African Americans--who, in speaking out, will be corrective voices of conscience and prove him wrong.(2)

Violence, Family, Language Ethics and the Seduction of the Mind and Brains

Issues as bizarre as bioengineering, medical genetics intervention, and fetal brain transplants require deconstructing language, in part, because it often means uncovering violence. America is a violent country. Among the "advanced countries," the United States has the highest murder rate at 7.9 per 100,000.

From this perspective, the contract against the black body and the female body is merely an extrapolation of historico-social trends. Slavery's inherent violence was described by Thomas Jefferson when he labeled it as a relation that fomented "boisterous passions." Historian Lerone Bennett felt that slavery was a state of "perpetual war," masking its violence with the metaphor of family. For pro-slavery arguers, a plantation was not an economic relation, any more than marriage is, but an affective set of relations with "Big Daddy," Aunties and Uncles, and children.

As late as the 1960s, Southern whites argued an almost familial familiarity with "our" blacks, complaining that Northerners were interfering in their family affairs. Similarly, the feminist movement of the antebellum period, the twenties and the sixties fought mythologies of family that masked dominance, patriarchy and erasure of feminine identity.

Most people think of violence as overt murder, crime, gangs, etc. But we have a high degree of socially tolerated violence, including police violence, war, self-defense, riots. Wife-beating was legal and until the 1980s a man could force his wife to engage in nonconsensual sex. By 1980, doctors targeted domestic violence as a medical problem and emergency room personnel began obtaining training in identifying battered women.

One must wonder what the medical personnel in Orange County, California thought of surrogate mothers like Anna Johnson,(3) when police were called to cut off phone service to her room, lock the door and force her to sign papers giving up her rights to the baby she had just given birth to. In California, at that time, any woman who gave birth was the mother of the child she gave birth to. What kind of violence was this? One more form of socially tolerated violence.

The battering of Rodney King would have gone unnoticed as a social form of violence if it had not been caught on secret videotape. Even then, with a plain view of police battering a downed man, viewers could not make up their minds. The resulting exoneration of police violence led to the bloody, violent reaction, the burning uprising of April 29, 1991 in Los Angeles.

White American culture glorifies violence in its Westerns, its detective stories, its macho movie stars, such as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger and even in such TV recreation of the "news" shows as Cops. Similarly, many new medical protocols, from in vitro fertilization to genetic engineering and fetal transplants, are a form of medical science violence, appropriation of the body, often the black body and/or the female body, committed covertly but acting out the coded language of empire as appropriating the public body.

While the body politic is less and less allowed to have a mind (brain) of its own, some "techno-rebels" are trying to speak out. The results are mixed. On Saturday, May 13, 1995, the New York Times reported that leaders from virtually every major religion in the United States would issue a joint statement the following week asking the government to ban the current patenting practices for genetic engineering. The newspaper reported that the statement had been signed by roughly 100 Catholic bishops, numerous Protestant and Jewish leaders and groups of American Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. The religious leaders said they were not opposing genetic engineering or biotechnology on religious grounds, but rather because it violates the sanctity of human life. Ironically, researchers would love to have patents banned, since it slows down research. Absence of patenting practices for genetic engineering will simply leave the door wide open for all kinds of violent intervention into the pre-born body.

Attacking the Brain: Appropriating the Body Politic's Mind?

Similarly, the issue of fetal brain transplantation is cloaked in the language of hope and "cautious optimism," that a "cure" has been found for Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and Huntington's. What the public mind may not be aware of is the nature of intervention such "hope" involves. Of course, the victims of the disease may not care. A director of the American Parkinson's

Association has been quoted as saying: "The majority of the people with the disease couldn't care less about ethical questions: They just want something that works." (Vas and de Souza, p. 81)(4)

In Bombay, India, a consultation workshop was triggered by a newspaper report of an alleged transplant of the head and brain of a young boy onto the body of his sister, both of whom were involved in an accident. The operation was said to have been performed in Erfurt, East Germany. A West German presenter at the workshop, Dr. B.L. Bauer, insisted that he had thoroughly investigated details of the reported case of whole brain transplant published in the newspapers, and concluded the report was a hoax. (Vas, p. 70.)

Nevertheless, many may be unaware that brain transplant falls under two rubrics: (1) whole or total brain transplant (TBT) and (2) the transplantation or implantation of fragments of tissue or cell cultures, i.e., brain implantations or grafts (BI). The workshop concluded that TBT was unacceptably violent, gruesome, cruel. In its summary it reported that all the participants were unanimous in rejecting the performance of total brain transplants because the benefits were not commensurate with the cost and risk, but also for philosophical and theological reasons that held that death was inevitable and had to be accepted with human dignity. The participants called for a moratorium on the performance of total brain transplants by scientific and medical communities all over the world. (Vas and de Souza, Brain Transplantation Workshop Report, 68-86; p. 77.)

The workshop also looked forward to a more acceptable form of agrifying human tissue, i.e., the growing of human brain cells in the laboratory. Dr. Solomon Snyder, director of the neuroscience department at Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore, where the laboratory brain cells were grown, feels that culturing human brain cells is a breakthrough that will accelerate the range of basic research aimed at increasing our understanding of many serious disease problems. (Vas & de Souza, p. 85.)

Ethical issues of violent appropriation of fetal tissue from captive women also were eased by an October 1989 report from Hungarian scientists at the World Congress of Neurosurgery, held in New Delhi, India, where they reported they had performed brain implantations for Parkinson's disease using stellate ganglia tissue instead of the substantial nigra required in more intrusive retrievals of brain tissue. If stellate ganglia tissue would work, the workshop participants suggested, ethics of getting fetal tissue from aborted human fetuses would not arise.

The World Congress called for an international moratorium on the performance of BI using fetal tissues until more satisfactory data was available. Use of live donors raised ethical issues and prospects of unacceptable violence that we now seemed to be comfortable with. Yet Dr. Robert White, a neurosurgeon at Case Western Reserve, boasted that, "Transplanting an entire human head from one body to another is now possible." (Vas, p. 41.) Dr. White had isolated the brains of monkeys and kept them alive four hours; he excised brains of dogs and transplanted them; in 1970, he transplanted the head of a monkey to another; in subsequent experiments he succeeded in keeping alive two transplanted monkey heads for a week.(5)

More gruesomely, Adam P., Raiha, N., Rehilea E.L.,, report in "Cerebral Oxidation of Glucose and DBOH Butyrate by Isolate Perfused Human Head," that they used a protocol that involved eight human heads obtained by abdominal hysterotomy at 12-17 weeks gestation, that were perfused through their internal carotid arteries. (Vas, p. 18; fn. 63.)

Violent research into the brain began as a result of the discovery that Parkinson's was due to dopamine deficiency in the brain's nigrostriatal complex. How to increase dopamine, to make up for the deficiency, became the challenge. Oral administration of L-Dopa was first thought to be the solution. However, revelation of the biochemical and clinical effect of a by-product of the procedures used for the manufacture of opiates (N.methyl 4 phenyl 1,2,3,6 tetarahydropipridine M.P.T.P.) led to the suspicion that neurotoxic and possibly environmental causes lead to the Parkinson condition.

L-Dopa's failure led to the quest for brain implantation, a procedure that theoretically would lead to the natural production of dopamine by the infusion of living tissue from the fetal substantial nigra which, if it attached itself and became integrated in its new site, would provide an ongoing supply. (Bergin, J.D., "Ethics of Brain Transplant," Vas & d Souza, pp. 7-21.)

Dr. Bergin, neurologist at Wellington, New Zealand, points out several problems regarding BI in his essay on ethics. First, while most organ donation requires a pronouncement of brain death, brain implantation demands exactly the opposite--you have to use living brain tissue! (Bergin, p. 14.) Second, he cites other critics of BI, namely, P. McCullagh, author of Fetal Brain Transplantation: The Scope of the Ethical Issue and P.J. Murphy, author of "Moral Perspectives in the Use of Embryonic Cell Transplantation For Correction of Nervous System Disorders," Applied Neurophysiology, 1984: 47:65-68.

McCullagh feels that use of fetal brain tissue for therapeutic purposes could increase induced abortions and lead to production line abortion for that purpose. (Bergin, p. 15.) Murphy feared a "crass commerce in aborted fetuses" and that transplantation of embryonic cell tissue for correction of nervous system disorders "coarsens humanity itself' and leads to the "grave loss of reverence for human life in its most helpless and dependent stage." This is surrender of higher moral value that is too great a price to pay.

Murphy refers in turn to philosopher Hans Jonas, author of Experimenting with Human Subjects, who warns against "progress" by any means necessary. Jonas warns that progress is an "optional goal," that the slower progress in conquering disease (as in "conquering" natives or the land!) may be more expeditious since the body politic's soul is threatened by loss of moral values caused by too ruthless a pursuit of scientific progress. (Murphy, 67.)

DeSouza raises questions of neuronal continuity and maintenance of neuronal activity, i.e., how well does brain implantation really work? She cites an experiment of quail embryonic tissue implanted into a chick embryo, leading to clicks that began to peep like quails; in short, brain transplants may be, in effect, mind transplants. Such violence into the body politic and its mind is what we face.

In the DeSouza case, there is the question of integrity of memory. Will the head remember what its body knew? Or what its new body knows? Nobody knows. In fact, it is well known that neural cells lose their histocompatability antigenicity and are less prone to rejection. The transportation of fetal substantia nigra and fetal medullary tissue to the caudate nucleus region of patients with severe Parkinson's disease seems to lead to an immediate improvement, but for how long and at what cost to the female "hosts" of fetal tissue and to the body politic's sense of decency and respect for human life? (Cf. Darab K. Dastur and S.A. Barodawala, "Neural Transplants" in Vas and DeSouza, pp. 25-27.)


(1.) Perhaps aware of this, black poet Phillis Wheatley pleaded with her fellow colonists to remember their religious ideology that, "Negroes, black as Cain, May be refin'd and join the angelic train."

(2.) For further reading see: Thomas Gossett, Race: The history of an idea in America, 1963; Ron Takaki, Iron cages, 1979; and B. Davis, Storm over biology: Essays on science, sentiment, and public policy, 1986.)

(3.) For the complete story of Anna Johnson as a victim of the failure of Boethics to confront medical science's initiative in the area of assisted reproduction, see Maria Mootry's forthcoming book entitled Brain games: Bioethics and the seduction of the American mind.

(4.) For more discussion, see C.J. Vas and E.J. de Souza, eds., Brain transplantation: Ethical concerns, report on a consultation workshop organized by the FIAMC Bio-Medical Ethics Centre, held in Bombay in 1988. Report published in India by Mrs. P. Rodriquez for Rodrigo Enterprises: A-22, Seema Apts. Bandstand, Barndra, Bombay, India -400-050.)

(5.) For further discussion, consult the following: R. J. White, Locke G.E., Albin M.S. "Isolated Profound Cerebral Cooling with a Bi-Carotid Head Exchange Shunt in Dogs," Resuscitation 1983: 10; 193-195; and White, R.J. "Experimental Transplantation of the Brain," in Human transplantation, eds., Rapaport F.T. and Dausset J. Eds. 1968. Gane and Stratton, New York and London, 692-709.)


Arnason, W. B. (1991). Directed donation: The relevance of race. Hastings center report. November/December: 13-19.

Dastur, D. K. and Barodawala, S. A. (1988). Neural transplants. Brain transplantation: Ethical concerns. C. J. Vas and E. J. deSouza, eds. Bombay, India: Rodrigo Enterprises: 25-27.

Fredrickson, G. (1987). The Black image in the White mind: The debate on Afro-American character and destiny. Connecticut: Wesleyan Press.

Gossett, T. (1963). Race: The history of an idea in America. Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press.

Jordan, W. (1968). White over Black: American attitudes toward the Negro. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Lawrence, D. H. (1924). Studies in American literature.

McCullaugh, P. (1984). Fetal brain transplantation: The scope of the ethical issue. New York: Wiley.

--. (1993). Brain dead, brain absent, brain donors: Human subjects or human objects? New York: Wiley.

Moyers, B. (1989). A world of ideas with Bill Moyers. An Interview with Derek Walcott, PBS Video, Public Broadcasting Service, 1989.

Murphy, P. J. (1984). Moral perspectives in the use of embryonic cell transplantation for correction of nervous system disorders. Applied Neurophysiology. 47: 65-68.

Spielman, B. (1994). Directed donation: Race issues. Lecture at Sangamon State University. (University of Illinois at Springfield), November 8.

Tripp, L. (1994). The intellectual roots of the controversy around cultural diversity and political correctness. The Western Journal of Black Studies, Winter. 227-230.

Vas, C. J. and E. J. DeSouza, (eds.) (1988). Brain transplantation: Ethical concerns. Bombay, India: Rodrigo Enterprises.

Walker, F. A. (1883). Political economy. New York: H. Holt & Co.

White, R. J. (1968). Experimental transplantation of the brain. Human Transplantation. F.T. Rapaport and J. Dausset, eds. New York and London: Gane and Stratton, 692-707.

White, R. J., Locke, G. E., Albin, M. S. (1983). Isolated profound cerebral cooling with a bi-carotid head exchange shunt in dogs. Resuscitation. 10: 193-195.

Maria K. Mootry is Associate Professor of English and Convenor of the African-American Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She teaches courses on African-American literature and philosophy, race and bioethics. Professor Mootry received the Ph.D. in English and African Studies from Northwestern University. She is the co-editor of the widely used anthology, Gwendolyn Brooks: Her Poetry and Fiction (1987). Her forthcoming title is the theoretical work, Racial Principalism: Towards a Racialized Bioethic for America.
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Date:Mar 22, 2000
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