Technologies of Life and Death: From Cloning to Capital Punishment

By Kelly Oliver | Go to book overview

ONE
Genetic Engineering: Deconstructing Grown versus Made

The young runner Caster Semenya was propelled into the international media spotlight when she won the women’s world championship 800-meter race in Berlin in 2009. Her instant stardom was not the result of her being the fastest runner in the world, but rather because her competitors “accused” her of being a man and not a woman. The eighteen-year-old reportedly asked the president of Athletics South Africa, “Why did you bring me here?… No one ever said I was not a girl, but here [in Berlin] I am not” (quoted in Slot 2009). While so-called gender tests were being conducted by an assortment of “experts” to determine whether or not Caster Semenya was female, there was an outcry in the media over a black African girl being subjected to such humiliation. Some called it racist, others called it sexist, and many called it unfair. Evoking the specter of an exotic other, the New York Times cited Dr. Maria New, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, who compared Semenya to the Bantu, “a group of

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