African American Bioethics: Culture, Race, and Identity

African American Bioethics: Culture, Race, and Identity

African American Bioethics: Culture, Race, and Identity

African American Bioethics: Culture, Race, and Identity


Do people of differing ethnicities, cultures, and races view medicine and bioethics differently? And, if they do, should they? Are doctors and researchers taking environmental perspectives into account when dealing with patients? If so, is it done effectively and properly?

In African American Bioethics, Lawrence J. Prograis Jr. and Edmund D. Pellegrino bring together medical practitioners, researchers, and theorists to assess one fundamental question: Is there a distinctive African American bioethics?

The book's contributors resoundingly answer yes -- yet their responses vary. They discuss the continuing African American experience with bioethics in the context of religion and tradition, work, health, and U. S. society at large -- finding enough commonality to craft a deep and compelling case for locating a black bioethical framework within the broader practice, yet recognizing profound nuances within that framework.

As a more recent addition to the study of bioethics, cultural considerations have been playing catch-up for nearly two decades. African American Bioethics does much to advance the field by exploring how medicine and ethics accommodate differing cultural and racial norms, suggesting profound implications for growing minority groups in the United States.


Edmund D. Pellegrino

“CULTURE” is perhaps the slipperiest concept in the social sciences. Some years ago, Kroeber and Kluckhohn collected 164 definitions. of the many definitions available, we believe Kuper best captures the connotations of the word in his crisp characterization of culture as a “collective cast of mind.”

In this book we have taken a “collective cast of mind”to be a summation of all those things that give identity to persons, nations, ethnic groups, and organizations. Under this rubric we include all those things humans value, those things that define them as who they are, what they perceive themselves to be and want to be. These are the things they value enough to work for, live for, and die for. These are things that define their view of the good life and shape their morals, that is, their judgments of right and wrong, good and evil.

Every human and every group has its own perception of a specific configuration of values and beliefs that reflects its history, life experiences, and aspirations. Humans belong to many “cultures” in this sense: to a nation, family, club, political party, and so on. No two persons have precisely the same “cast of mind” as the others who share their “culture.” However, it is in those things that are held in common that the profile of a culture is established.

African Americans, therefore, like all Americans, have a collective cast of mind on some things and individualized perspectives on many others. the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.