Laveist Gives an Argument Against Continuing to Conduct Research on Race and Health. Why Does the Author and Researchers Call an End to Research on Race
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The US Census has projected that, by the year 2050, one of every two persons in the United States will belong to one of the following racial and ethnic groups: American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, or Hispanic.
Over time, the descendants of these “White ethnic groups” became the monolithic Caucasian race, the majority population, superior in all respects to the Black people of African descent. According to the IOM, human biodiversity cannot be adequately summarized according to the broad, presumably discrete categories assumed by a racial taxonomy. Furthermore, “racial” groups, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black or African American, or White, and 1 of 2 ethnic groups, Hispanic or non-Hispanic) are not discernible on the basis of genetic information.
The implications of this sociological research for policies to reduce disparities in health are also considered. For example, consumption (tuberculosis) was the leading cause of death for blacks in Philadelphia and Du Bois (1899) indicated that the causative factors were primarily environmental. He stated that “bad ventilation, lack of outdoor life for women and children, poor protection against dampness and cold are undoubtedly the chief causes of the excessive death rate.” Du Bois (1899) also noted that the health of blacks varied within Philadelphia by neighborhood of residence. Death rates were higher in the Fifth Ward, “the worst Negro slum in the city and the worst part of the city in respect to sanitation,” than in the Thirtieth Ward which had “good houses and clean streets.”
Du Bois William E. B. The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study. Schocken Books; New York: 1967. 1899.
Link BG, Phelan J. Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 1995;35:80–94.
Malone N, Baluja KF, Costanzo JM, Davis CJ. Census 2000 Brief. U.S. Census Bureau; 2003. The foreign-born population: 2000