Race Misunderstood

As a kid up until recently I always felt that race was the color of ones’ skin. However after taking an ISS Social Inequality Class I really feel race isn’t defined by the color of ones skin. From a biological standpoint we all belong to the same race, the human race. Race is more than a skin color, it’s refers to a to the concept of dividing people into populations or groups on the basis of various sets of physical characteristics (which usually result from genetic ancestry). Even if we have varying colors of melanin in our skin we are the same. Socially we have developed races to discriminate and group people together.

What is the relationship between ethnicity and health ? Well we often hear things like African Americans are more prone to high blood pressure. This isn’t actually do to the fact that they are African American but, more to do with things like genetic predisposition, cultural influences, and socioeconomic status. Instead of just saying an entire race is prone to a disease we should take the time to understand this isn’t due to just a race. There are so many other factors . For example an African American family of a low socioeconomic status often can’t afford to buy healthier food such as fruits or veggies. It could also be possible that the family lives in a “food desert” where there are no grocery stores nearby. This leaves them with only access to convenience store highly processed foods. Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that some African American traditional foods come from their southern roots. Many southern foods such as grits, fried foods, and mashed potatoes, are high in fat, carbs, and salt.  Of course there is also genetic predisposition which causes some people to be affected more than others. Therefore, it is impossible to just say that one race is prone to a disease without considering the other factors that weigh in.  Overall I feel that race is a way to discriminate against other groups of people who may have different skin, eye, or hair colors. It has allowed us to be racist without even realizing it and for the past 300-400 years we have been. The lectures said that the English discriminated against other whites (The Irish).  They claimed the Irish had monkey- like features and they were the first slaves before the African Americans arrived.

“Ethnicity vs. Race.” Accessed July 8, 2016. http://www.diffen.com/difference/Ethnicity_vs_Race

3 thoughts on “Race Misunderstood

  1. Roopa,
    You are absolutely right when you state that people wrongly believe that race is prone to a disease. We learned that all humans are of one race! Therefore race is out of the picture. It is important that you mention all of the other varying factors that can influence an ethnic group’s health other than their genetic predispositions. Cultural and social factors such as social economic status and geographical location can have an even larger effect on a group’s health than their genetic factors. In response to your topic on food deserts…. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that we have to pay more money for healthier foods and less money for junk food. If healthier foods were less expensive and more bountiful, I believe that the obesity epidemic in the United States could actively be resolved. It breaks my heart that people who have no food security seek to spend their money in ways so that they can get the most food… and that leads them to purchasing the processed junk foods. People living in poverty are more likely to be obese than skinny and malnourished. Another social factor that effects a certain ethnic groups wellbeing is their status within society. Minorities have to deal with discrimination every day. Having to cope with this type of stress is proven to negatively affect your overall health.

  2. Roopa,

    I agree with you when you say that race is misunderstood in America. After all these years people have used peoples skin color to discriminate against each other. I also think that the obesity epidemic in America is out of control. It makes me sad to think that many people are forced to make bad eating choices. I believe that the problem needs to be brought to the attention of our government and something needs to be done! I couldn’t imagine living somewhere that didn’t have a grocery store around. I also could not survive off of processed food, being that I eat very healthy on a daily basis. I make trips to the grocery store about every other day! That being said most of my diet consists of non-processed, fresh foods. Although, growing up with a single mother, I know what its like to struggle. My mom could not afford to buy us fresh foods growing up and unfortunately that it how a lot of American kids have to eat today. I think Michelle Obama has done a great job bringing healthy foods to the school system and that is just a start to whats to come. Overall, I really enjoyed reading your blog!


  3. Hi Roopa,
    I liked what you have to say and I do agree with most of it. We all do belong to the same race. I believe that most people just use race and ethnicity interchangeably. I also agree with the part about certain problems being caused by economic factors. The one thing I would have to say I do not believe there is systemic racism in the world or at least in the United States. We obviously have issues that need to be addressed, however I believe that just like the health issues most of the problems are created by economic differences. In order to get to the root cause of the economic disparity you need to look at the facts. Minorities overall besides Asian-Americans finish high school at drastically lower rates and therefore graduate college and lower rates. All of this leads to low paying jobs and high unemployment among minorities, thus perpetuating the cycle. It is of my belief that if you could get everyone on the same page economically then you would not be able to find statistics that point to so called “racism”. The last thing I would like to point out is the fact that I am speaking broadly. Obviously there are hate groups within every ethnicity including blacks and hispanics that make it seem like there is a vast nationwide problem when in reality those people make up significantly less than one percent of the population.

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