Bioethics Blogs

How do we talk about enhancement after Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown?

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

No other area of philosophy has captured my interests like bioethics. Thinking about the ways that we can use health care to justly distribute opportunities and what those opportunities are is my greatest interest. My specific interest in biomedical enhancement stems from my interests in the relationship between health care and opportunities. As health is essential to living the kind of lives that we want to live, I’m always thinking about how traditional practices and advances in health care can help us lead better lives, even when there is nothing medically abnormal about or minds or bodies. But the recent riots and protests in Ferguson, Missouri surrounding the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, by a white Ferguson police officer has forced me to think about enhancement in a different way. The events also have forced me to reevaluate what I do with my academic career and whether I should be thinking about enhancement at all or would my time be better spent as an activist.

Near the time of Michael Brown’s death many other unarmed black Americans were shot to death by white police officers and many Americans were outraged. Most of the people (of all races) who were outraged fell into two parties: 1) those that were unaware that sometimes unarmed blacks are racially profiled and killed by police offers; and 2) those that were always aware that sometimes blacks are racially profiled and killed by police officers but whose normally quiet anger was pushed over the edge by Michael Brown’s death.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.