In BioPrivilege, Professor Ikemoto expands the privilege inquiry into the fields of biomedicine. BioPrivilege, as Professor Ikemoto define it, uses the characteristics of the dominant or privileged group to set the normative standards in health, define disease, and identify who does and does not comprise a risk group. She starts with the normative body, used to train physicians, design research protocols, and define basic categories of health and disease. Until recently, that normative body was the white male. All others were defined by their deviance from this norm.

This Essay uses this example and others to start a catalog of the forms and functions of BioPrivilege. The handful of examples used show that, like privilege, BioPrivilege sometimes hides in plain sight. At other times, BioPrivilege is invisible until one remembers that BioPrivilege requires finding others deviant or problematic. BioPrivilege is the invisible enforcer of those categories.

Professor Ikemoto concludes that seeing and revealing privilege is the necessary first step to countering BioPrivilege and moving toward BioEquality. She argues that the next step is creating a public forum for a collective voice of community and social justice. Professor Ikemoto argues that science, specifically biomedicine, is one such public forum and has already produced several projects that are moving toward BioEquality.



Lisa C. Ikemoto (University of California, Davis School of Law)



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