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.