Many believe that there is a strong correlation between race and health, but in all actuality, the two are not related.
Race is different from a biological perspective than from a social perspective. Biologically race among humans does not exist. Humans are part of one race because all humans can interbreed with one another and their offspring can do the same. Race is a socially constructed matter. The creation of race aimed to separate people into groups with others that relate the most to them. The belief in polygenesis, the creation of different species by God for different reasons, also encouraged separation using race. Throughout history there were many ways humans separated themselves into different races, but today it is predominately done by the color of skin. This is inaccurate because there is more variation within a group of people than variation among other groups For example, if a person is African American, he or she might have more in common with a person who is Latino than a person who is African American. It is not correct to conclude that because a person is from the same “race” as a different person, he or she shares more in common with that person than any other. Because of these differences, it is not justifiable to conclude that race and health are related.
Ethnicity refers to a person cultures, customs and, often, lifestyle (Teng). This influences someone’s health more than race does. The choices a person makes and the lifestyle he or she choses to live can have a major effect on health. These choices can be the way a person eats and the activities they partake in (Teng). In the short video, “Becoming American,” a doctor investigates why Latinos in a certain area have better health than people surrounding them. It turns out that Latinos are very family oriented. Unlike the average American, the Latinos spend more time with family. This caused a lowered amount of stress among Latinos.
In the lecture video, sickle cell anemia and malaria were mentioned. These diseases are related to the ancestry of a person. Ancestry refers to where a person’s family is from, which gives clues about or his or her genetic make up (Teng). A person with ancestry in Africa has a higher chance of acquiring diseases such as sickle cell anemia and malaria than people who do not.
In conclusion, the race in which an individual identifies will does not correlate with one’s health. It is the persons ethnicity and ancestry that can predict certain health outcomes of a person.
Teng, Kathryn, MD. “How Your Ancestry and Ethnicity Affect Your Health – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic.” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. March 10, 2014. Accessed July 08, 2016. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/03/how-your-ancestry-and-ethnicity-affect-your-health/.