Week 6 Reflection Post

This week’s lecture we learned about race and health. In the article “If “race” is the answer, what is the question?—on “race…”, it stated that for the better part of US history, the conventional answer to why racial/ethnic health disparities exist has been because the races are innately different and whites are inherently superior. This statement was very interesting to me because it’s extremely alarming that once upon a time scientist believed that different races of humanity constituted different species and argued that racial differences in disease rates and mortality were proof of underlying difference. I believe the sole reason for racial/ethic disparities has to do with socioeconomic positions. I think that black people mortality rate and the low birth rates is lower because of the poverty environments that some of them live in. The main reason why this may be true is because black people don’t have the same resources as white people in the suburbs. For example, nneighborhood poverty is also associated with an increased rate of lack of prenatal care utilization among African-American women.  Furthermore, this may be the cause of infants of the black community having low birth rates. I think your environment can play a dominant role in the opportunities that are presented and the resources that are offered. The better the community you live in the greater the opportunities and the resources offered will be. Overall I enjoyed this week’s lecture. It was nice to learn about the correlation between race and health, and to see the different views and thoughts that scientist made. 

16 thoughts on “Week 6 Reflection Post

  1. You drew some very strong arguments from this week’s lectures and articles! I agree with everything that you’re saying. Socioeconomic stature has way more to do with health and mortality rates than a race or ethnicity. It is very surprising that some prominent medical professionals are still using race as a basis behind some health issues! For example, Sickle Cell Anemia is still largely considered a “black” disease yet people from a variety of races and backgrounds suffer from it world wide. To focus in on diseases as strictly a racial factor is not only detrimental to the socio group in question, but also to the medical community as a whole. By not looking at every single person affected by an ailment is blocking off crucial points of the disease that could help discover better treatment for the afflicted.

    The points of socioeconomic stature you brought up are extremely important to consider as well! A poor person is obviously going to have less proper medical care than those with more financial security. The statistics found on these poorer people having an increased mortality rate that also just so happen to be of minority groups are because minorities are often barred from having better jobs.

  2. I really liked what you said about races existing because they are inherently different from whites. What I am most curious about is how this came to be. We have found out that whites were viewed as superior, and took over many lands and violated the rights of a lot of other groups. However, it is often not discussed where exactly this decision was made and how that came to. I think it is important to acknowledge this because if we can find out where this started and how it began, we may potentially be able to fix the issue or at least educate ourselves more about it. One theory that can be considered is who had the most power and resources, decided that they could take advantage of the others and used this to be superior. Since we know that European nations had a lot of power and used it to take over other nations, and also happened to be white this may have been where the superiority began. However, there is still a lot that goes unexplained with this, and we need to understand history and evidence of race properly before making any actual claims. There is a very complicated history with race, and I think that attempts to find genetic differences are really just a way to try and figure out how society came to be.

  3. I really liked your idea of poverty being an underlying reason of racial disparities in the African American communities. I believe this spreads to other communities and the issues they face as well. To be completely honest I don’t know how long it will taken our society to provide every person with the same opportunities. We are still unfortunately in a male, particularly a straight white male, dominated world. On top of that there are discrepancies in the work place, on a governmental level which trickle down to the systematic oppression of colored men and women. The main way to tackle this would be to educate the general public who votes and then to enforce these policies. Equal pay would be a solution. Raising the minimum wage to incorporate for all people would be another. These practices don’t disadvantage any particular group it simply brings equality for all. I believe it is up to the public because contrary to some ideologies all the progress we as a nation or world have had was largely due to people who cared about not themselves but the greater good. We are all benefitting from their doings but also the lack thereof. Since poverty is a fundamental issue I believe we should start there and really examine the policies that make people fall from grace.

  4. You did really well in describing this week’s lessons in your post. I also found the article “If “race” is the answer, what is the question? – on “race…,” a very interesting read. It is absolutely crazy that at any point in the history of the United States that whites believed that they are the superior of all the races and ethnicities of all other people. I absolutely agree with you that it is absolutely ridiculous that the science world once believed that people with different colored skin are of a different species of human. The only way the use of race is every relative is in the medical field because it helps save lives. Through the use of the health histories of certain races of people, doctors are able to make better informed medical decisions and use the correct treatment plans to increase the health and wellbeing of their patients. I agree with you that this weeks lectures were very good and really opened my eyes to a different perspective on the use of race and ethnicity in daily life. The fact that doctors used the health histories of races to improve the treatment of their patients is very good to hear. It is nice to see that the term race is not always used in a negative manner.

  5. Hi! I loved reading your blog post because it reminded me of a few details I’ve studied in past anthropology classes at MSU! Specifically the section of your post I’d like to highlight is – “It’s extremely alarming that once upon a time scientist believed that different races of humanity constituted different species and argued that racial differences in disease rates and mortality were proof of underlying difference. I believe the sole reason for racial/ethic disparities has to do with socioeconomic positions. I think that black people mortality rate and the low birth rates is lower because of the poverty environments that some of them live in. The main reason why this may be true is because black people don’t have the same resources as white people in the suburbs. For example, nneighborhood poverty is also associated with an increased rate of lack of prenatal care utilization among African-American women. Furthermore, this may be the cause of infants of the black community having low birth rates. I think your environment can play a dominant role in the opportunities that are presented and the resources that are offered. The better the community you live in the greater the opportunities and the resources offered will be.”

    This is true! Lower-Economic status demographics live shorter life spans and overtime have developed a weaker immunity than someone with more privileges and wealth. Studies have shown that lifespan is directly related with stress and income, also! This is reflected in African American baby girls. The immunity of African American girls is weaker than any other combination of race because of the stresses and work African American women have endured throughout their entire life. I remember studying a specific case in which the mother and father were both African American Doctors. They were high socioeconomic, both studied at Ivy League schools, lived together in the suburbs, ect. When the woman was pregnant she took all her vitamins, when to the doctor, ect. However, this did not reflect the health of the baby girl when birthed. The child was weak with illness and spend the first few weeks of its life in the hospital because of the health linage of African American female ancestry.

  6. I really enjoyed reading your post! I think you brought up a lot of valid points that contribute to the health disparities that are seen between black individuals and white individuals that are often not considered by health professionals. After going through this week’s materials, it has definitely become clear that these other factors, such as socioeconomic status, need to be taken into account when health disparities are being discussed due to their great impact. These differences are not due to “racial” predispositions that some individuals have to certain diseases, while others do not, as some health professionals argue.

    I agree with your statement that higher mortality rates and low birth weight rates that are seen among African Americans are related to the “poverty environments that some of them live in”, as you put it. Environment definitely plays a very large role in not only the opportunities and resources that are available or presented to individuals during their life, but also the health of an individual throughout their life. Living in a poorer environment means that there are not as many health resources available to people, not matter the issue they are having with their health. As you stated, the poverty of an entire neighborhood coincides with the lower rates of prenatal care the it employed by pregnant African American women, and this is one of many issues that needs to be taken care of.

  7. – [x] I enjoyed reading your post. You drew several interesting points that I too agreed with/felt the same about. For example, I do not agree with the reason behind race and health disparities that was provided by the article. Promoting the idea that races are innately different and that whites are superior is pretty much bizarre. As you mentioned, there are several things that contribute to health disparities amongst different races. Environments, health resources, education, culture, and SES are just a few. All external factors are important and should also be taken into account when comparing how different races are affected by serious health conditions.

    This week’s topic on race and health brought about several different viewpoints. We saw the efforts produced to confirm race as being a scientific concept as well as those that still view race as being a social construct. Overall the research done to bridge the gap between race and health is not the only resource we should rely on when comparing health disparities. As a society, I do not believe that we have a clear and consice question to address race being the answer. In regard to health disparities, race is very important to consider however, seems easier to place it as being the only option to consider. Great read.

  8. Nice post! I liked the points that you made about the scientist and how wrong their thinking was when believing whites were a superior race. You also mentioned a lot of supporting factors for pushing the issue about how and why African Americans have statistically worse health issue. Although you mentioned more current issues, this has been going on for centuries, so over hundreds of years of being disadvantaged can start to really take a toll on a gene pool and what traits are being passed on. As you said the environment is one of the biggest factors, basic animal life moves on from a habitat if it doesn’t withhold the correct resources the only issue with people in this situation doing this is, they are usually stuck there in their crummy situation. What is really an odd angle to look at this subject though is when thinking about if we still had the major amounts of racism to what it was like decades ago the damage done to the people themselves and the ones they will pass it on to could possibly damage a large enough human population to make them constructively different enough for a scientist to make such a claim. Yes that last statement was extreme but has some truth to it because as I stated before animals adapt over time and will adjust passing on genes that are the more dominant which in this case could be very bad or even good dependent on the situation. Over all I really liked your post it was well though and covered the material well.

  9. Your post brought up a really valid point, being that the socioeconomic status of a group can have a much more profound effect on their health than their race or ethnicity. It’s unfortunate that so many people chalk up health disparities to purely genetic factors and completely overlook all of the other aspects of people’s lives that can impact their health. This is especially troublesome when a people within the disadvantaged groups take that idea as fact because it may lead them to make poorer decisions regarding their health. If a person thinks that they are at a higher risk for a disease than others they may try and do as much as they can to avoid partaking in activities that would contribute to getting that disease. However, they could also resign themselves to a fate that may not be as certain as they think and make poor choices, such as smoke or consume large quantities of unhealthy food. I thought your point about the prenatal care was good, but it’s important to note the difference between a lack of usage of prenatal care and the lack of access to prenatal care. It’s one thing top actively choose to not use prenatal care products, but it’s another entirely to want to use them but not be able to afford them or have stores near you that sell them.

  10. I think that you made a really good point that a huge reason that the mortality rate for black people is so much higher is due to the poverty level on average. I think that this is such a huge problem that needs to be addressed because I mean think about it. If you have kids and you are struggling to provide for yourself you are going to have an even harder time providing healthy food and such for your entire family. Also, the socioeconomic status that you brought up makes sense as well. If black people are on average making less money than white people they are probably receiving less health care/ not wanting to take care of health concerns to even just save money because they have families to take care of. A lot of the issues that have to do with minorities comes with lack of money and lack of resources. If people are not given the resources in their community that they may need they are going to be less likely to reach out for the help that they need. They may just have to make do with the things that are the closest to them which leads to a lot of issues and health concerns.

  11. In my post I came to a similar conclusion. The environment has a lot to do with the care and opportunities you are offered. Someone who lives under the poverty line will be prone to more diseases simply because they cannot afford to get proper healthcare. Also, something I find interesting about data conducted is that your physical self adapts to the environment in which you live in. This is not necessarily something that happens due to race. For example, a disease that is more prone amongst Black Africans can also be more prone amongst White Canadians. It’s not about the genes it’s about the environment.
    These past two weeks I was just in Peru working in a center for older adults. These adults are mostly of Incan descent living under the poverty line and many of them suffer from diseases that are easy to cure if given the right treatment. However, if you go into a middle class area in Peru people will not necessarily suffer from the same diseases. I thought this was a good example I experienced of how rather than race and biology affecting health it’s the socioeconomic factor that has a greater influence on mortality.

  12. Like you, I find it alarming that the concept of race was used as a way to separate people to groups of either inferiority and superiority. Unfortunately, this concept still lingers in the media and we hardly even recognize when we ourselves hold a certain degree of racism in our perception. The concept of race is instilled in us from a very young age, so when a new study comes out on the study of race, such ideals of racism will almost always unintentionally arise.

    You made a good point when you talked about the availability of prenatal care for African American women. This was a thought I hadn’t thought about and it most definitely plays a role in the number healthy babies born in the African American community. Taking into account the socioeconomic barriers minorities face, is an important factor when looking at the statistics of illnesses across races. Humans tend to group information together as this makes it easier to comprehend and make judgments. However, the problem with that mentality is that, we perpetrates rash judgments and they are is often mistakes made in our conclusions. This can be ever more problematic in the health field which is another reason why I’m weary about the study of genomes in the health field.

  13. Hello!
    I enjoyed reading your post; you made interesting analysis I can relate too! You have said, “I think that black people mortality rate and the low birth rates is lower because of the poverty environments that some of them live in. The main reason why this may be true is because black people don’t have the same resources as white people in the suburbs”. I agree with this statement to an existent. The part I don’t agree with is you saying black people don’t have the same resources as white people. I have a few questions to ask, I am curious. It is true black and white people my not have the same resources. Depending on who you ask white people and black people do have the same resources. However, I don’t believe that. Some black people are fornaute enough to have resources to excellent just as much as white people. I do agree with your statement “For example, nneighborhood poverty is also associated with an increased rate of lack of prenatal care utilization among African-American women”. I do believe poverty does cause lack of prenatal care. All woman should have prenatal care no matter their living situation.

  14. I very much agree with you on the reason for high black mortality rate is simply the socio-economic conditions. If you look at nations with high mortality rates, many of them are white such as Russia, which has an average life span for men of 60. When one demographic is stuck in poor economic conditions with poor health care, it grossly affects their offspring and puts them in a never ending cycle of poor health and poverty.

  15. I have to admit that your post is brilliant, especially the part you were introducing the concept “socioeconomy”. I agree with your opinion that socioeconomy play an important role contribute to racial prejudice nowadays. From personal point of view, using developed scientific methods can make great contribution to solving racial problems. Just like what was displayed within this week’s reading, the article named “The Reification of Race in Health Research”, which covers the content of fixing current public racial prejudice using the results come from genetic researches. One of the impressive ideas introduced in this article is Troy Duster’s “prism of heritability”, which can be definite as disease is uncritically linked to individuals because of racial assignment and categorically disassociated from other populations. Environment truly is an significant factor related to the relationship of race and health, but I prefer to illustrate my opinion with researches and scientific evidences. It’s not hard to see that two instances was introduced in this article, I’d like to mention the first example that proves prejudice on black somkes more often was due to racial features was incorrect. By doing several researches, scientists received the result that “non-Hispanic black smokers have significantly higher levels of serum cotinine than either white or Mexican-American smokers”, although they are reported that two groups have smoked the same number of cigarettes a day.

  16. I agree with you and thought that it was interesting that someone would compare race to health. I think that there is absolutely no comparison between the two and there shouldn’t be. I also agree with your facts that based on the low birth rates this could add to the racial or ethnic disparities or differences. I also think that economic status affects this for every race or culture. However, this can affect anyone and does not have to refer to an entire race. There may be a certain trend based on the total population of a group, but this does not represent the entire group. I think that your environment definitely plays a huge role in your overall health and the resources that you are offered to. I agree that it was interesting to see a different perspective on the topic of race and health. I don’t think that I would have ever compared the two because I never thought that there was a correlation between the two.

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