Race is a Social Construct

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2022-02-02 02:45Z by Steven

Race is a Social Construct

Center for Health Progress

Sarah McAfee
Golden, Colorado

On a recent road trip with my sister, a doctor, we were talking about how race is a social construct. (We’re not the best conversationalists.) She asked, “If there’s no biological basis for race, then why do some medications work better for people of some races than others?” Which is a good question. Since we had a long drive ahead of us, I stalled by pointing out the window at a pretend elk and changed the subject, then did some furious Googling when we stopped for gas.

For hundreds of years, we’ve been told that each race is a discrete group of people defined by specific genetic and biological differences. As a result, we’ve used race as a way of explaining observed differences in health: Sickle Cell Anemia is considered a black person disease; Cystic Fibrosis is considered a white person disease; we’ve said people of color are genetically pre-disposed to diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and other chronic conditions; the FDA has approved drugs for different races; and through “race-based medicine” we’ve established care standards (such as responding to patients’ pain) that vary by race. But it’s all wrong

Read the entire article here.

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