W1: Societies False Concept of Race

Before reading this week’s information I would have assumed that many of my friends would be smart enough to know what race was. But after the amount of information that I gained and the amount of things that I had originally thought being proved wrong, I no longer feel as though I can assume that anymore. Knowing what I know now, I would find it fairly easy to describe to a friend what race is. It is actually put exactly how I would describe it in the journal publication, “The Concept of Race and Health State in America”. Here the author(s) state, “Race is an unscientific, societally construction taxonomy that is based on an ideology that views some human population groups as inherently superior to other on the basis of external physical characteristics of geographical location ” (Williams, et al.). This idea of race was not something that we have always known either. Well, I suppose “we” as in each person in this class has conformed to the ideals of race, but “we” as the human race did not always have this concept. It is very difficult to pinpoint what exactly brought it about but we have come to learn that anything that defines you can most likely be traced back to you “race” or racial origins.

Biologically, the concept we have of race is no more than the amount of melanin in our skin. As for actual race, no biological significance is found. There is no gene or cell that is different. Socially is the only place race shows up. “The concept of race is socially meaningful but of limited biological significance” (Williams, et al.). Today race is really just used as a social construct; a way for one person to say that they are better or that another person holds a certain negative characteristic or quality. These factors have been perpetuated within society through laws, government, and reinforcement.

Many of my ideas from above were formed mainly from the “What is Race?” web-page we all visited. I really thought that these 10 facts listed here were a fairly accurate representation of what race really is and how society has it all wrong. It all goes a little into why we think race is what it actually is not. I also really enjoyed the Understanding Race website and immediately after visiting, passed it on to a few friends that I knew would take an interest in it. I enjoyed the visuals that this shows and the activities helped to explain our many concepts.As for how ethnicity influences health, I think of it kind of

As for how ethnicity influences health, I think of it kind of simply. Since we are all the same inside, the only thing ethnicity does is play a role in our vulnerability or susceptibility to certain conditions, diseases, illnesses, ect.. Although there are other factors that can go into this, one of the main reasons this happens is due to family history. History plays a huge role in anyone susceptibility to any sort of health related condition. I found it very interesting that we were learning these concepts while our nation is dealing with shooting and numerous deaths due to someone’s skin color and the characteristics that is associated with that. I am disappointed in everything that has happened and would be curious to see how many of these people “know”, and how incorrect the media is, when it comes to race.

Williams, D.R., R. Lavizzo-Mourey, and R.C. Warren. “The Concept of Race and Health Status in America.” Public Health Reports 109.1 (1994) 26-41, accessed July 07, 2016, url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1402239/?page=1

One thought on “W1: Societies False Concept of Race

  1. Hi Rachel,

    I agree that family history is a primary reason why ethnic groups are more prone to diseases, conditions, and illnesses. Moreover, I feel as if you missed something really important. The environment that you live in is equal in importance. Moreover, ethnicity comes into play because some groups are subjected to live in areas with minimal access to resources. Down through the years, people of darker complexion were excluded from good jobs; which leads to less income. Less income leads to a wide range of problems such as seeking appropriate housing, health insurance, and much more. I remember reading an article in my environmental ethics class about North Richmond in California. The people in this area are typically black, and within this residential neighborhood are oil refineries and factories. Pollution is constantly being emitted, not only that, but there are also high numerical readings of chemical contents in the homes of these residents. Just from that situation, you can’t say that family history of illness is an issue without acknowledging the fact that the environment is a huge issue too. The residents of North Richmond report upper respiratory problems, asthma, bronchitis, and even skin irritation (Jane Kay and Cheyrl Katz, 2012) . All of the negative externalities results from their environment. Not only that, most of the people their don’t have adequate health insurance because they work for these factories; and of course the factories doesn’t provide an ample amount of benefits. If the residents lived in a better area, their health would also be better.

    Kay, Jane, and Cheryl Katz. “Pollution, Poverty, People of Color: The Factory on the Hill.” Online posting. June 4, 2012. Environmental Health News. Accessed July 9, 2016. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/pollution-poverty-and-people-of-color-richmond-day-1.

Leave a Reply