W1: Race Misconceptions

As we learned throughout week one, separate races in humanity haven’t existed since the beginning of mankind. Unlike animals, humans don’t have subspecies to separate us, there’s only one human race. We learned in Lecture 2 of this week that we can confirm this because we can answer yes to the two criteria that tell us so; can they interbreed and are their offspring viable (2). People of all different kinds can have children, unlike for example a cat and a dog, because we’re all in the same species. However, many people today think there are major biological differences in different ethnicities even now. With stereotypes today, “race” has become more of a social phenomenon than anything else. Skin color has been the major factor dividing the world into racial categories, yet it’s nothing more than the genetic makeup of ancestors, just like eye color. Obviously not everyone is the same, but what really makes people different is diversity. For example some people have straight or curly hair, or some people have a cleft chin and others don’t. All these traits are from their genetic diversity, but skin color is the easiest way to classify groups of people. In our world today, race is unfortunately something that can give some groups a privialge. The term race came at a time when equality was emerging, but it was used to justify inequalities for slavery. “Linnaeus presented a classification scheme for humans, based on physical characteristics and notions of continental boundaries prevalent at the time: Europeaus, “white”: Americanus, “red”; Asiaticus, “sallow”; and Africanus, “black” ”(Hunt/Truesdell, 85) this was to justify slavery, but unfortately there’s still racial and ethnic discrimination today. Sadly, because of this, ethnic discrimination still exists and this can lead to health and illness issues.

An example of this is in Birth Outcomes for Arabic-Named Women in California before and after September 11 by Diane S. Lauderdale. The article is about arab women and their pregnancies after the attack on 9/11. Due to the effect of discrimination, there was an overall decline in infrant weight by 34%. This just proves that discrimination really takes a toll on people especially in health related issues. Something that most people forget, or just don’t know, is that it’s ethnicities, genetics and geographical location of ansestors that effect a certain population’s health and illness’. It has nothing to do with their physical skin color. An example of this is many people assuming black people get sickle cell because of their skin shade. “Is sickle cell a “black” disease? No. Contrary to popular perception, the gene variant that causes sickle cell disease evolved as a result of its surprising upside – malaria resistance.” (Understanding Race 1).

RACE – Are We So Different? A Project of the American Anthropological Association. (n.d.). Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.understandingrace.org/


One thought on “W1: Race Misconceptions

  1. Hi Julie, I agree with what you wrote. Humans categorize everyone based on how they look. People use race as an excuse to decide if they should have special rights and treatments and they do not realize the impact it can have on the health of everyone. The health effects they have cannot only be based on the genetics that run in their genetics but can also be a mental health problem. When people are judgmental towards you that can create anxiety and depression and their self-consciousness decreases and they may begin to see themselves as a person that is not as good as others and that leads the power of race to keep on prevailing. It will be difficult for people to change their ideas now that they have lives so much of their lives believe that “race” is the color of their skin. It will always be confused for ethnicity and not realize that even though the people look different on the outside. They are the same on the inside. After all, if you were in dire need of a kidney transplant, you would not care at all what the donor match looks like. What you wrote spoke on the need to understand what race is all about.


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