I was invited to speak to the Durham University Health & Social Theory group this month about Mix & Match. My presentation, chaired by Professor Tiago Moreira, was an overview of the recent peer-reviewed publication “It’s harder for the likes of us”: racially minoritised stem cell donation as ethico-racial imperative (click for an Open Access copy), a summary of which you can read here.
The paper got some really interesting feedback, with audience members asking, amongst other things, about potential connections between this and Spivak’s notion of strategic essentialism. The paper’s abstract is below.
“It’s harder for the likes of us”: Minority ethnicity stem cell donation as ethico-racial imperative
How can we understand appeals to participate in a biomedical project (e.g., vaccine uptake or clinical trial participation) that are based both on invoking shared ethnic identity, and on framing engagement as the clear moral course of action? Stem cell donor recruitment, which often focuses on engaging minority ethnic communities, provides useful insight into this question. In this talk, I explore the creative ‘doing’ of relatedness between people at the scale of race as well as family that coalesces into powerful appeals to participate. Through analysis of ethnographic, documentary and social media data, the paper argues that this work relies at least partly on framing donation as a duty of being part of a racialised community, which I describe here as an ethico-racial imperative, in which both race and responsibility become intertwined to compel participation in the biomedical project of donor registration.