October 16, 2012
- Racial health inequities
- Structural Racism
- White privilege
- Invisible knapsack
- Racialized Science
- Healthy Immigrant Effect
What kinds of social inequalities or hierarchies inﬂuence health status?
- Socioeconomic status
- trad. and generally, males have greater access to power and resources than
- Gender paradox - ʻmen die quicker but women are sickerʼ
Racial Inequities in Health:
- Health outcomes also vary by ethnicity or race.
- persistent differences in what we tend to see in different racial groups
- the primary racialize difference in health is between african americans and
caucasians. (Blacks and Whites)
- African men tend to die about 5 years sooner than white men
- African women tend to die 4 years sooner than caucasian women.
- African american males over age 5 and living in Harlem, you are less likely to reach
the age of 65. You would be more likely to reach the age of 65 in Bangladesh.
- One of the best examples is called the healthy immigrant effect: when someone
immigrates from a foreign country to North America, their overall health is higher than
that of the non-immigrants. But after the ﬁrst generation of immigrants, their health
tends to dwindle.
The intersection of Race and class as Determinants of Health:
- Race and class intersect to produce particular health outcomes.
- What is more important? Race or class? - Health difference between ethnic groups often persist even after socioeconomic
factors taken into account.
- African americans do more poorly on health indicators than their white counterpart.
- Racial differences in health do persist.
- Intersection analyses examine how gender, race and socioeconomic inequality (class)
intersect to produce particular kinds of health inequalities.
- Infant mortality rates decrease in trend as education increases.
- The white person average with a “less than high school” education has a lower infant
mortality rate than that of an African American with a college degree.
- By noticing that African americans have higher infant mortality rates than lower
education white people it shows that this suggests that the advantage white americans
have is not being given to the african americans at the same rate.
What is “race”?
- a social and political construct that is used to distinguish between and rank different
groups of people on the basis of physical characteristics (such as skin colour)
- An enduring social category that captures
differential access to power and resources in society
- We tend to think about race culturally as something held by an individual.
- Biological or genetic factors.
- Genetic differences cannot account for differences in rates of high blood pressure.
- Genetic differences account for very little regarding health problems.
“Race” as a way of categorizing human difference
•“Difference is also used as a basis for including some and excluding others, for
rewarding some more and others less, for treating some with respect and dignity and
some as if they were less than fully human or not even there […] The resulting
patterns of inequality and oppression not only ruin peopleʼs lives, but also create
division and resentment fed by injustice and suffering that eat away at the core of life
in communities, workplaces, schools, and other social situations ” (Johnson, p. 8)
- Race is the basis of discrimination, whose lives are valued more or less, when we can
understand that we can see patterns of inequality or depression and how diseases are
distributed in a non random way.
Biology and Race
- There is NO biological basis to race.
- For example, genetic explanations cannot explain the repeated observation that there
are systematic differences in health between racialized groups.
- Genetic variance does not correspond to differences in what we have come to
understand as “race” > “the difference between us”
- What are the dangers of explaining social differences in terms of biological/
genetic differences? Race as Ideology/Worldview:
- Ideology - system of ideas.
- We have to think about how this story has provided us with a lens that we see the
- We categorize people and try to make sense of the world.
- We become aware how we have assigned meaning to different groups. (stereotypes)
- Stories about race become very powerful by who tells the story and position of power
that person is in.
- The power of the narrative lives beyond the life of the narrator.
- Narratives get written into policies and institutions.
Race: A political construct
• The idea of “race” emerged with the development of US as a nation and notions of
• The construction of the idea of race inﬂuenced by:
- Politics -
- Economics -
1904 St. Louis World Fair:
- Exhibits of “primitive” races to justify racist policies.
Racialized Science & Public Policy
- 18th century > classi