W1: One Race, One Messed Up Society

It is sad that we live in a world that is so obsessed with amplifying the differences between the differing “races” in our society when there is only ONE race!  As Dr. Cynthia Gabriel pointed out in our Understanding Race and Ethnicity in Medicine lecture, all humans belong to one race.  Biologically, race is similar to species when you are dealing with animals.  If one animal can interbreed with a differing animal and have viable offspring, they are the same species.  In America we socially accept race as a division of people based on their skin color.  Any person of color can interbreed with any white person or a different colored person and create viable offspring meaning that all people are the same species, or the same race.

This is something that I did not know or understand.  I think our society has taught us from when we are little children that there are different races depending on what they look like or from where their family started.  I wish that society would acknowledge that scientifically there is only one race.  The cultural differences between individuals is ethnicity, not race.

Health differences between two different ethnic groups are not solely based on genetic differences of the two varying groups.  Dr. Gabriel acknowledges that a larger factor other than genetic differences is social issues and experiences within the environment.  She mentioned a study comparing an African black woman’s health to a American black woman’s health.  The black woman who lived in our American Western society dealt with the discrimination of being a minority and had to cope with a higher level of stress, whereas the black woman in Africa didn’t have to cope with a discriminating society because she was not labeled as a minority.  In conclusion the woman dealing with the stressors in the Western society had far worse health issues in her family than the African black woman.  Environmental and social experiences that different ethnic groups have to deal with play a large role in determining the level of health of the individual and the population as a whole.

I wanted to give an example and  talk about the Minnesota shooting, that I’m sure everyone has already heard/watched/read about, and relate it back to environmental and social experiences effecting an ethnic groups health.   The cultural differences of African American people in our country, with its Western social views, puts these people into discriminating environments where they are the minority.  In my opinion, if Alton Sterling was white, I don’t think that the officer would have been so quick to the trigger.  Like Dr. Gabriel stated, race does not exist because we are all one race, yet racism is very real.  Clearly Sterling’s health was immediately effected based on his ethnicity and the cultural differences within our society.  His family and friends health will also be effected when coping with the loss of Alton.  These differences are clearly not based on genes alone.

Gabriel, Cynthia, Dr. “Understanding Race and Ethnicity in Medicine.” ANP 370 Culture Health and Illness. 2015. Accessed July 07, 2016. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp370-us16/lecture-videos/understanding-race-and-ethnicity-in-medicine/.

Neyfakh, Leon. “Video Captures Aftermath of Police Shooting in Minnesota That Left Another Black Man Dead.” Slate Magazine. N.p., 07 July 2016. Web. 07 July 2016.

3 thoughts on “W1: One Race, One Messed Up Society

  1. Hi Sydney! I really enjoyed reading about you coming to understand the same species, same race concept. It is so true that our society teaches us from the moment we enter the world that there are specific races, although no one agrees on how many or what they are, and they are somehow different than the others. It is amazing how real the effects of something that is not real can be.
    I also like your comparison between the recent shooting of Alton Sterling and the effects of persistent discrimination in this country. Whites do not realize they have something called white privilege. Being white in America comes with a multitude of advantages that creates more and better opportunities. However, those with privilege often do not realize that they have it and often deny they do when confronted with the concept. When looking at the statistics, such as the shootings of black men vs. white men by police officers, it becomes very apparent that white privilege exists. Whites don’t have to worry that their actions will be questioned and more closely monitored because they are somehow seen as a threat. They are safely protected by their skin color, which in return has a positive effect on their health. There are endless cases that confirm being black in America comes with greater risks of health problems, and there are also endless studies that prove this is not genetically unavoidable, but culturally avoidable.

  2. Hello! I think that you had a wonderful and thought provoking post! One point in your post which really stuck out to me was when you mentioned how society has taught us to recognize color instead of us all being the same race and I agree with you on that idea. From the moment we were born we started adapting to our cultural habits which meant that we were learning how to interrupt certain things in society. Since we grew up in a society where race is based off of color, it can be hard for others to recognize that that actually isn’t true and that something has to change in order to make our society better. We need all cultures to recognize that we are all the same race and to start working together to help future generations know this as well. With that being said, I think that if we started teaching younger generations this then that might help with cases where there are differences in health based off of discrimination. For example, you mentioned how American Black women have more stress during pregnancy because of discrimination which could lead to health complications. If children are born into a society where they don’t discriminate and understand that we are all the same race, then differences in health from discrimination would probably not exists. We need to work towards a society that recognizes that we are all the same and not just recognizing the difference in skin color.

  3. Hello Sydney!

    I also used the biological explanation you did. I think that our society does not teach us these things anymore because it does not seem relevant to them. I personally think that the explanation we got about subspecies versus race needs to be distributed to everyone in the United States of America. I do not know how quickly it would catch on, but maybe it would help with all of the real world problems we have today.

    Speaking of real world problems, I loved that you included that in your post. I think this class has some very applicable lessons that need to be applied to the real world issues going on to really hit home with everyone. I think that knowing all of the information about race, subspecies, and ethnicity we would be able to reduce some of what is going on around the world.

    I like that you mentioned that ethnicity and race are two completely different things. The only thing I wish would have been in here more is how race is completely fabricated by our minds. It is a social concept that people use based on peoples’ skin color. I wish that it wasn’t true, but it should be emphasized to show people that it is just something we created in our minds.

    I hope that someday people who have taken this class, like us, will be able to show the world what race really is and we can help change the world. Wouldn’t you like that Sydney? I think we could totally do it.

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