W1: The human race

The first thing I would tell someone who is uneducated about race that it is a social construct, not a biological. A really good example was provided in the lecture where we talked about the division of “English” and “Irish” into two separate races. Race use to be differentiated though societal status, (like it was between the English and the Irish), but slowly became defined by skin color. Biologically there is no genetic difference between these “races”, instead science tells us that there is less difference between “races” than there is within a race. Race is just genetic diversity, like hair color or texture. Instead, what most people mean when they say “race” is ethnicity.

Ethnicity effects health studies because most physicians conducting the studies do not know the difference between race and ethnicity, therefore when looking at how different populations are effected they mistakenly divide people into categories based on “race” or skin color, despite their genetic history and makeup. However socially, ethnicity does affect our health when it is confused with “race”. Health inequalities between White and Black Americans was a good example used while discussing access to resources.

It is so important to understand that race is not biological. Yet because the social construct of race is so strong, our ethnicity can affect our health. This is due to racism that grants some people more access than others. This was explained comparing difference in birth weights between Arabic-named women before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Lowering or decreasing birth weights and poor birth outcomes were found to correlate with the increase of discrimination towards women with an Arabic name.

Unsurprisingly, the classification of people based on “race” complexly affects health through multiple facets. In a Forbes.com article, Robert Pearl, M.D. points to the income disparities in the U.S. and how they affect different “races” access to adequate health care. The author points to multiple statistics that have little to do with genetics: that African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer (50% more so) than white woman. This is due to the limited amount of screening options that come with poor or no health insurance.

The problems of “race” and institutional racism are deep rooted in many white cultures. Poor health is a direct result of systematic racism that comes from a poor understanding of race and ethnicity, and makes it very difficult to solve. The first step however, is education. We must make sure to knock down cultural barricades that prevent equality from flourishing in our society with education.


Pearl, Robert. Why Health Care Is Different If You’re Black, Latino Or Poor. Forbes. March 05, 2015. Accessed July 08, 2016. http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertpearl/2015/03/05/healthcare-black-latino-poor/#5b8582631ca7.

3 thoughts on “W1: The human race

  1. Hi Lindsey! I like how you started off this post by saying “the first thing I would tell someone who is uneducated about race is that it is a social construct, not a biological.” For my post, I wanted to write that people are uneducated if they believe that “race” is real, unfortunately, I didn’t know how to word it without sounding arrogant, but the way you stated it sounds great and its the truth! We need to educate individuals that “race” is not real, and that racism is. I find it very interesting and unfortunate that individuals that are non-white experience health concerns from racism, yet we think its coming from something else and that’s why researchers design studies to understand why they experience mental illness. I also found the film that we had to watch, Becoming American, very intriguing and again unfortunate in the way that the Latino family experienced so much discrimination. Due to this discrimination, the tight kin and healthy lifestyle that they once had, started to disintegrate. They also mentioned in the film that they found that after five years in the U.S., Latino’s were 1.5x more likely to have high blood pressure and same for obesity; heart disease, and diabetes also increase. Hopefully, we can stop this assumption of “race” being real and understand that only racism is. Individuals would therefore be healthier, physically and mentally.


  2. Hi Lindsey, I liked how you worded you post and I agree with it for the most part. The only thing I would point out or add to your post is that even research can be misleading especially on such broad topics like classify ethnicities. For my article it showed the health effects of immigrants to the United States deteriorated as the generations passed. However, it was equal deterioration for all immigrants regardless of ethnicity including white European immigrants. This got me thinking that sometimes the easy answer blaming racism may not always be right and that there are other factors at play. Could it have something to do with American culture like the fact that we long hours and are always on the go? Or maybe the healthcare system in general is causing the deterioration. I do not know what the answer is, but my point is some studies are quick to jump to conclusions without investigating them further. This same thinking can also be applied to why to minorities have less access to healthcare. I do not believe that has anything to do with any sort of racism, I believe it is all economic driven. Minorities statistically make less money and are less likely to have health insurance through employers due to working less skilled jobs. If we could address the complex problem of how to get minorities to stay in school and go to college at equal rates of non-minorities and in turn getting better jobs I would presume that the statistics would show equivalencies in all categories.

  3. Hello Lindsey!

    I loved how you worded your introduction. You eloquently stated that race is not biological it is completely social while including that a lot of people do not know or understand this because they are under educated. I think you introduced this topic wonderfully.

    I also mentioned in my post the article about discrimination toward Arabic named women. I think that, first of all, that discrimination is terrible. Also, I think that the reason they had complications in their pregnancies is terrible. No one should have to deal with the stress of pregnancy with a stress of discrimination and fear for their safety on top of it. In my post, I wrote about how no one should have to go through that stress. I can’t even imagine what that would feel like.

    Another thing I think was great about your blog post was how you explained it is not just in our culture. At the end you mentioned that it is deep rooted in all cultures. I think that is important to know. It is a huge problem here, but it has become a huge problem for everyone in the human race.

    I also love how you provided a solution to this increasing epidemic. I think that you are one hundred percent correct when you mention that the first step to overcoming any of this is to start in education and start breaking down the cultural barricades. I hope that one day we truly can break the cycle and break down the barricades to have a whole human race that can love everyone. Equality is needed and the first step is in education and trying to break the walls down to let everyone inside.

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