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.