Against the Grain

Against the Grain – June 13, 2006

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An outbreak of disease is one thing; how people and officials respond to it is another. What happens when poor indigenous people are blamed for an epidemic, as they were in Venezuela in the early 1990s? In his book Stories in the Time of Cholera: Racial Profiling During a Medical Nightmare, Charles Briggs examines why and how denigrating stereotypes and simplistic cultural assumptions endanger lives and legitimize social inequality.