Racial Skepticism Is The Idea That Race, As A Biological

1394 WordsApr 27, 20176 Pages
Racial skepticism is the idea that race, as a biological category, does not exist. Population-level genetic studies have established that race is not discernable as a biological category through genetic variation between races, as genetic variation is higher within folk racial groups than between them. Folk racial groups are categories used on Census forms, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). In “When Socially Determined Categories Make Biological Realties: Understanding Black/White Health Disparities in the U.S.,” Jonathan Michael Kaplan disagrees with racial skepticism. He argues that racial groups, in the United States, have important biological distinctions from each other in such a way…show more content…
He also mentions that “[t]here is a profound difference in expected health between native-born African Americans in the United States and Black immigrants to the United States” (page #). This is important because it provides further evidence that biological differences between racial groups in the United States are caused by environmental stressors and are not rooted in the African biology of people. He uses his concept of race as a biological concept to explain why race is a medically useful category, even though it is not correlated with the presence or variation of specific alleles in populations. I agree with Kaplan’s argument for the influence of racism on allostatic load, and consequently on health. In other words, I agree that “[r]ace, as a social category, creates disease risks through racism.” However, I contend that racism’s effect on average health risk fails as proof for the existence of race as a biological category in the United States. I argue that although racism does create differences in health that may be organized by racial categories in the United States, it does not create biologically distinct groups. Rather, the common disease risk and health phenotypes that are different between racial factions of American populations merely illustrate the effect of racism on health. Kaplan’s theory relies on differences in general health and disease prevalence between socially-determined races. For race to be a
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