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Presented By: Institute for Social Research

Event Update: Location Change - ISR Reads Author Visit and Talk: Harriet A. Washington

The Cognitive Costs of Environmental Racism: Myth, Science and Myopia

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ISR Reads Fall Book Selection: A Terrible Thing to Waste; Environmental Racism and It’s Assault on the American Mind

Wednesday, March 11, 2019 (Earth Week)
1:00pm to 3pm
ISR Thompson 1430ABCD

Virtual Live Stream Presentation with: Join us at ISR or online at

In support of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts at the University of Michigan and the Institute of Social Research and School of Public Health we are excited to partner in bringing an award-winning science writer Harriet A. Washington.

Washington will join us via livestream to discuss her book "A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind."

Ms. Washington adds her incisive analysis to the environmental discussion presenting an argument that IQ is a biased and flawed metric, one that it is useful for tracking cognitive damage. She takes apart the spurious notion of intelligence as an inherited trait, using copious data that instead point to a different cause of the reported African American-white IQ achievement gap.

The book explains that environmental racism - a confluence of racism and other institutional factors that relegate marginalized communities to living and working near sites of toxic waste, pollution, and insufficient sanitation services is terrible for the brain. Ms. Washington investigates heavy metals, neurotoxins, deficient prenatal care, bad nutrition, and even pathogens as chief agents influencing intelligence to explain why communities of color are disproportionately affected -- and what can be done to remedy this devastating problem.

Harriet A. Washington has been the Shearing Fellow at the University of Nevada's Black Mountain Institute, a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at
Tuskegee University. She is the author of Deadly Monopolies, Infectious Madness, and Medical Apartheid, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and the American Library Association Black Caucus
Nonfiction Award.

Presentation Co-Sponsors: ISR (ISR Reads, SRC Racism Lab and PSC Population Dynamics and Health Programming & School of Public Health

If you have any questions or require an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Anna Massey at
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