Week 6 Reflection Post

I found this week’s readings, lectures, and other materials very interesting in that they discussed the science behind the term race. I especially enjoyed reading “If ‘race’ is the answer, what is the question? – On ‘race,’ racism, and health: a social epidemiologist’s perspective” by Nancy Krieger. It is absolutely amazing to me that black Americans have a life expectancy of 5.5 years less than that of white Americans. However, Nancy Krieger’s article does a good job of describing how black Americans are more prone to health problems that result in a lower life expectancy. Black Americans actually have a higher chance of being born at a low birth weight than white Americans as well. As the years have gone by, medicine has obviously improved, but there still is a large gap between life expectancy of black Americans and white Americans. Although the life expectancy gap is slowly decreasing, the gap still remains to this day. Hopefully the life expectancy of people of different ethnicities will so close completely with advances of modern medicine. Over hundreds of years, racism, segregations, slavery, and mistreatment of certain ethnic groups has led to significant health problems for the people of those groups. It is obvious to see that these significant health issues that have plagued the people of different ethnic groups today are directly correlated with the mistreatment of the people of these groups in the past decades. It is truly disgusting that in the past these people did not receive the proper care needing to maintain their health and longevity. We cannot change the actions of the people of the past, although we wish we could, but hopefully soon all people will be able to live long and prosperous lives with the access to proper advanced medical treatment. Everyone deserves the right to a health and safe life no matter what he or she looks like, or where he or she comes from.

One thought on “Week 6 Reflection Post

  1. Hi Kyle,
    I agree with you that the health problems of the African Americans are caused by the history legacy rather than biological differences as Armand Leroi suggests in “A Family Tree in Every Gene.” I’m taking another course on Demography, and I saw the video clip that shows the history legacy of the segregation. Even though segregation has been outlawed by the Fair Housing Act, segregation has still been prevalent, though it’s a shame on us. And it affects seriously on the minority groups. It cuts people off shopping centers, supermarkets, highways, parks, and much more that can affect the quality of life. Moreover, the minority people tend to live in less pleasant, unhealthy environment. It is not a positive influence on health as a group. Not because they can’t afford better places, but because they’re intentionally rejected when the realtors find out their race.
    I agree that gene deviation is worth studying to figure out cure for certain diseases. However, I’m not sure whether it is a right approach the genetics research with the race classification as many anthropologists and sociologists doubt. I think social and cultural factors can’t be ignored in any racial issues.

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