Osagie Obasogie

Osagie K. Obasogie

Professor of Law at UC Hastings

Location:
198 McAllister Street, San Francisco, California, United States
Company:
UC Hastings
HQ Phone:
(415) 565-4600

General Information

Experience

Scientific American Inc

Faculty Mentor  - LSA Early Career Workshop

Education

Columbia Law School

Summit Country Day High School

B.A. with distinction  - Yale University

J.D.  - 

JD  - University of California , San Francisco

M.A.  - 

Ph.D.  - Sociology , University of California , Berkeley

Ph.D.  - Sociology , University of California at Berkeley

Affiliations

Senior Fellow  - Center for Genetics and Society

Board Member  - CT2G

Instructor  - Berkeley

Associate Professor of Law  - University of California

Senior Fellow  - Society in Berkeley

Member  - American Society for Bioethics and Humanities

Member  - American Society of Law Medicine & Ethics Inc

Recent News  

Osagie K. Obasogie, JD, PhD
Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco

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Osagie K. Obasogie, JD, PhD
Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco

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Sighted people, according to Osagie K. Obasogie, often assume that the blind, as one sightless person he interviewed put it, exist in "a kind of Star Trek race-blind society.
Yet after conducting interviews with 126 sighted and sightless people, Obasogie concluded that "blind people largely understand and experience race the same way that sighted individuals do: visually." Virtually all of the study participants who were blind mentioned skin color as a race-determining factor. Others went beyond color, Obasogie reports, to "demonstrate a rather sophisticated understanding of the range of visual cues," such as bone and face structure, that can be used to identify a person's race. A blind black man Obasogie interviewed noted that other blind people he met always "went for [the] hair," determining his race by touch. According to Obasogie, an associate professor at the University of California's Hastings College of Law, the visual cues allow blind people to place racial characteristics in societal context, just as they do for sighted people. There is an important practical implication in these findings, Obasogie believes. In Bowen v. Gilliard (1987), the Supreme Court defined factors to take into consideration when deciding whether to apply "strict scrutiny" to a case involving an allegation of discrimination; one of them was that a plaintiff have an "obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristic. Obasogie says his research shows that it's not what people look like that matters, but "the social practices that make such visual distinctions salient and perceptible." * * * The Source: "Do Blind People See Race? Social, Legal, and Theoretical Considerations" by Osagie K. Obasogie, in Law and Society Review, September-December 2010.

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