Saturday, February 16, 2013

{First Reader} Race: More to the Story?

           To be blunt, there are health disparities between different races of the human species. What this means is that different races experience differential levels of health status. For example, Dressler et al.  (2007) state how compared to white individuals, African Americans experience higher mortality rates in many categories, while Asian Americans compared to whites experience a much lower level of mortality. Race and ethnicity may not be all that is behind this discrepancy.

            Something I was curious about is why white individuals are being used as a comparison for other races. In the past, anthropology was very westernized. Western society was seen as the most well developed and a basis for what other cultures should do with their own. Other cultures were more “primitive.” Later on, anthropologists learned that other societies were simply different. When comparing races and ethnicities, we ought to understand why they are different when it comes to their health. We should delve into the history of these ethnicities to see where genetic differences may have arisen from. In addition, if race and ethnicity are going to be used to analyze differences between groups of people, a more clear distinction should be made between the two, which is not often done. Race and genetics have something in common, but there is more to it. One cannot identify a person’s race and know everything about their genetic code. Why there are the health discrepancies there are needs some more looking into. Factors such as socioeconomic status, behavior, and stress also play a role in a person’s health, making it more difficult to make an argument that race is the reason why health discrepancies exist.

1 comment:

  1. (Respondent)
    In response to your opinion on why white individuals are being used as a comparison may be because they are the largest population. I do not believe it is because of the old bias views of Anthropology since this was a recent study. The U.S. Census reported that out of 311,587,816 Americans in 2011 78.1% were White. Meaning it would be a good group to compare other races also having a larger portion of medical records. But based on the study I feel there were some things that could have been taken into consideration. One would be how they determine a person to be white since there are many white people that come from different back groups and their genetic variation differ. Furthermore, SES does have correlations with race and ethnicity in certain areas and not all. I feel as if SES is a major factor on health discrepancies based on the type of medical treatment and your surrounding environment you grow up in. Where a person better off than another many experience less stress throughout their life time and interact around an environment that may affect their health short-term and long term which play a role in health.