April 13, 2024

Mea culpas and they-a culpas

Therapeutic cloning on the skids

Here’s an interesting idea about the phenomenon of apologising for the sins
of past sins, from bioethicist Alice Dreger, of Northwestern
University. She is discussing an apology issued by the American Medical
Association for discriminating against African-American doctors.

"It’s more like a ‘they-a culpa,’ since the AMA administrators are actually
apologizing for bad behavior on the part of their predecessors. ‘They-a culpas’
can be just a wee bit self-serving… When you pull a ‘they-a culpa,’ you don’t
actually have to admit to any sin of your own, and you accrue all the social
capital of being decent enough to apologize…

[W]hat if, rather then just issuing a ‘they-a culpa,’ the AMA administrators
hired some historians to ask a really interesting question: What are we doing
right now that our successors are going to feel the need to apologize for? What
is the AMA doing now that might look later like racial discrimination looks to
us now?"

Good question. Any comments from BioEdge readers? ~ Bioethics
Forum, July 18