Welcome and Introduction by Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, PhD and Mildred Cho, PhD.
Keynote: "The Fallacy of Biological Race: Systemic Racism in Genomics" presented by Ruqaiijah Yearby, JD, MPH.
The genomic age showed that the genome between humans was 99.5%-99.9% identical and that there were no identifiable continental or racial genomic clusters. Notwithstanding this evidence, biological race remains prominent in population genomics, epigenetics, and genetics research. The continuation of the misuse of race as a biological factor is evidence of systemic racism in genomics. Systemic racism is a social system where the racial group in power (White individuals) creates a racial hierarchy in which other racial groups are deemed inferior. The continued use of race as a biological category in population genomics, epigenetics, and genetics research reinforces the notion that racial and ethnic minority individuals are inferior to White individuals. For example, most epigenetic research tends to highlight the genetic differences between Black individuals and White individuals as a result of experiencing racism, which explains health disparities between these groups. Yet, this reinforces the notion that Black individuals are somehow genetically different and inferior to White individuals. It also ignores the impact racism has on both the victim and oppressor. To eliminate systemic racism in genomics, we should study the impacts of racism on all socially racialized groups without then attributing them to genetic differences based on an identifiable continental or racial genomic cluster.