Race, now more than ever, has created a cluster of some of the biggest issues this world and this country have faced. Race specific violence, especially as of late, have provoked several different movements and has become center of discussion for US citizens. Interesting that something that technically doesn’t exist has created such a violent problem. Yes, race is not real. It is a social construction that began hundreds of years ago to differentiate different groups of people. Specifically, “race” was not conceptualized until the fifteenth century when people were able to sail long distances. Biologically speaking, there aren’t specific differences between blacks and whites. To enhance this idea further, we only evolved to have different skin tones because of adaptations to UV rays. This social construction is what is causing all the “differences” and they are only created to enhance the idea that we are different, therefore enabling some people to act superior to others based on location or color of skin.
A part of me wants to believe that ethnicity and health would not impact each other as much if race was not as powerful a construct as it is today. People like to treat someone’s ethnicity the same as someone’s race: a century ago, someone who was Irish would have been treated extremely different than someone who was English (Betancourt & Lopez). Now, someone who is black is treated differently than someone who is white. Similarly, at one point in time, a Jewish person was considered a non-white. It is known that those with darker skin tones are more likely to suffer from sickle cell anemia, and it is a common misconception that this is so simply because of their skin tone, as if that is the sole reason. In reality, since those with darker skin tones are more likely to be from areas that are affected by Malaria and they have evolved in such a way that sickle cell anemia helps to reduce the effects of Malaria.
Moreover, ethnicity also plays an important part in health because it effects the culture. For example, in one of the videos we watched of the immigrants, they were in such great health, and their ethnic approach to family was their reason for staying so healthy. However, their health declined the longer they stayed in the US. This is likely attributed to the clashing of the ethnicities and the systems that are already in place in the United States, like the health care systems. Lastly, 9/11 is a prime example of the intertwining of health and ethnicity. In the research article we read, it was Arab-named women who were suffering from the bouts of discrimination. This interplay between health and ethnicity caused the women to suffer from worse birth outcomes than other women post 9/11.
“The Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race in American Psychology.” Last modified June1993. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hector_Betancourt/publication/232475040_The_study_of_culture_ethnicity_and_race_in_American_psychology/links/00b7d52e1ba7754e06000000.pdf