Racial Differences in Chronic Disease

One of the problems in this debate is that we are trying to relate two poorly defined entities. The concept that racial differences in chronic disease are due to genetic differences among races has been repeatedly challenged.

There is no way to consistently classify people by race: there are continuous gradations between ethnic groups, and genetic analyses have found that there is more genetic variation within one ethnic group than between one group and another.[2]

The American Anthropological Association recently stated, "...human biological variations should not be reduced to race. It is too complex and does not fit this outdated idea. Race is real. Rather than being based on biology, it is a social and political process that provides insights into how we read deeper meaning into phenotypes.

Racialization and racism come about because, in a racialized culture, we read meaning into skin color and other phenotypic variants. Rather than biology affecting behavior, ideology and behavior affect individuals 'under the skin.'"[3]

2.Lewontin RC. The apportionment of human diversity. Evol Biol. 1972; 6:381-398. 3.Goodman AH. Why genes don't count (for racial differences in health). Am J Public Health. 2000;90:1699-1702.

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