March 2024

Volume 41, Issue 1

A Critical Understanding of Inclusion in Oral Microbiome Research through the Lens of Racial Capitalism

Authors: Rizwana Lala
doi: 10.1922/CDH_IADR24Lala06


[Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at the ‘The oral microbiome – from cells to populations’ International Association for Dental Research symposium, March 2024, New Orleans, USA] There are important calls for greater inclusion of Indigenous and racialised communities in oral microbiome research. This paper uses the concept of racial capitalism (the extractive continuity of colonialism) to critically examine this inclusion agenda. Racial capitalism explicitly links capitalist exploitations with wider social oppressions e.g., racisms, sexism, ableism. It is not confined to the commercial sector but pervades white institutions, including universities. By using the lens of racial capitalism, we find inclusion agendas allow white institutions to extract social and economic value from relations of race. Racially inclusive research is perceived as a social good, therefore, it attracts funding. Knowledge and treatments developed from research create immense value for universities and pharmaceutical companies with limited benefits for the communities themselves. Moreover, microbiome research tends to drift from conceptualisations that recognise it as something that is shaped by the social, including racisms, to one that is determined genetically and biologically. This location of problems within racialised bodies reinforces racial oppressions and allows companies to further profit from raciality. Inclusion in oral microbiome research must consider ways to mitigate racial capitalism. Researchers can be less extractive by using an anti-racism praxis framework. This includes working with communities to co-design studies, create safer spaces, giving marginalised communities the power to set and frame agendas, sharing research knowledges and treatments through accessible knowledge distributions, open publications, and open health technologies. Most importantly, inclusion agendas must not displace ambitions of the deeper anti-oppression social reforms needed to tackle health inequalities and create meaningful inclusion. Keywords: Racial Capitalism, Capitalism, Racism, Decolonisation, Power, Inclusion, Equality, Diversity, Equity, Indigenous health, Racial health inequalities, Commercial determinants of health, Social determinants of health, Oral Microbiome


Other articles in this issue

Article Pages Access
CDH Board 2024 1-1 Download
Acknowledgement of Reviewers 2-2 Download
Editorial: Oral Health: luxury or a fundamental human right? The necessity of introducing a dedicated oral health budget and Proportionate Universalism in Greece 3-3 Download
Need for orthodontic treatment and oral health-related quality of life in children and adolescents – A systematic review 5-13 £10 single article
Sign language based educational interventions vs. other educational interventions to improve the oral health of hearingimpaired individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis 14-19 £10 single article
EXtraction or PREServation? EXPRESS survey of patients’ preference for toothache in public health facilities of Eastern India 20-26 £10 single article
Patient-dentist communication and its impact on dental services utilisation as perceived by patients in Libya 27-31 £10 single article
Capacity and needs assessment of the implementation of the toddler oral health intervention at well-baby clinics 32-38 Download
The association between edentulism and progress of multimorbidity over 12 years among older American adults 39-43 Download
Is tooth loss associated with oral health-related quality of life among young men? Findings from southern Brazil 44-48 £10 single article
Planning the future of oral health care workforce: Moving beyond demographic change 49-53 £10 single article
Lessons Learned from Contact Tracing COVID-19 cases in Dental Settings in East Scotland 54-59 £10 single article
Powered toothbrushes and toothbrushing resistance in young children: a qualitative content analysis of an online parenting forum 60-64 £10 single article
Oral microbiome research – a call for equity and inclusion 65-66 Download
Oral microbiome research – working in partnership with Indigenous Australian communities 67-69 Download
A Critical Understanding of Inclusion in Oral Microbiome Research through the Lens of Racial Capitalism 70-74 Download
Oral microbiome research from a public health perspective and implications for oral health 75-82 Download
Commercializing equitable, accessible oral microbiome transplantation therapy 83-88 Download


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