Press Release


The Illinois Humanities Council presents the eighth program in its series: Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution.

CHICAGO – New research that aims to identify shared genetic markers challenges some traditional concepts of race and ethnicity and may reinforce others. Other research raises questions about genetics and health disparities among different population groups. Do the results of this research reduce people to a set of genetic traits, perpetuate old forms of discrimination, and put certain populations at risk for further oppression? How do we ensure that racial and ethnic groups maintain self-definition as genetic science advances? Join us for a discussion about the sociological ramifications of genetic testing as it relates to race and ethnicity.

“How Does Race Matter? Genetics and Race” will take place on Wednesday, May 23 from 6:00 – 8:00 P.M. at the DuSable Museum of African American History, Illinois Black Legislators Auditorium, (740 E. 56th Pl., Chicago).

This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To make reservations or for more information, contact the IHC at 312.422.5580, send an email to, or visit

The panelists for “How Does Race Matter?” are:

  • Troy Duster, P.h.D., Professor of Sociology, New York University; Director of the Institute for the History of the Production of Knowledge, author of Backdoor to Eugenics; and grandson of suffragist, journalist, and speaker Ida B. Wells-Barnett.
  • Blase N. Polite, M.D., Instructor, Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, University of Chicago; and
  • Michele Goodwin, JD, LLM, Wicklander Chair and Director, Health Law Institute and Director, Center for the Study of Race and Bioethicsm, DePaul University. ABC 7 TV News Feature Reporter Harry Porterfield will moderate.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to view the Museum’s exhibit: From Dreams to Determination: The Legacy of Doctors Percy and Anna Julian,” from 5:00 – 6:00 P.M.

How Does Race Matter? Genetics and Race” is presented in partnership with the American Medical Association; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago; Columbia College Chicago’s Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media; the DuSable Museum of African American History; The HistoryMakers; the National Society of Genetic Counselors; and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

How Does Race Matter?” is part of the Illinois Humanities Council’s year-long series, Future Perfect: Conversations on the Meaning of the Genetics Revolution. Programs are taking place around the state — in Carbondale, Chicago, Decatur, Lewistown, Peoria, and Springfield — to increase public knowledge of genetics by engaging Illinoisans in conversations about the genetics revolution and its impact on the individual and on society. Programs feature scholars, scientists, ethicists, artists, medical professionals, and philosophers as guest speakers. For the most recent calendar of events or for more information, please visit

Future Perfect” is funded in part by generous grants from the Motorola Foundation and The Boeing Company. Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ 91.5) and Illinois Channel are media sponsors for “Future Perfect.”

The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly; and by the NEH.


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