The Difference Between Us: Post-viewing Activity

Please respond to the following question below:

Should doctors and other health professionals take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness? Why? Can you think of a situation where thinking about race as biological might be misleading or have a negative effect? How would considering social race be different?

31 thoughts on “The Difference Between Us: Post-viewing Activity

  1. Race is a biological myth of “racialized society” and has no biological grounds. According to the video, “look-alike penguins have twice the amount of genetic difference, one from another, than humans”.
    we just have slight biological variations or lops in our ” mitochondrial DNA” that phenotypically showed in our skin and eye color, eye shape and hair structure.
    I think that health care providers shouldnt diagnosed and treat their patients according “biological race” because in reality we all the same and our diseases are the same and treating people according their skin color will wrongfully support racism.

  2. I don’t particularly care how doctors make diagnosis or subscribe treatments to patients as long as they are correct in the diagnosis and the treatment isn’t harmful to the patient. If a doctor refers me to a specialist because that dot on my arm could be skin cancer I don’t particularly care how he came to that conclusion. I just know it needs to be looked at, and if he was wrong at least I don’t have skin cancer. One bad scenario would be telling a Brazilian that since they are Latino(a) that their higher weight is due to excess rice consumption instead of running further tests. Could it be the cause? Sure. But so could several hundred other factors. Again, I’m not bothered by the logic or reasoning a diagnosis is made so long as it’s accurate. If it isn’t then I have a problem.

  3. Yes doctors should take biological race into account when diagnosing someone because biologically we are for the most part the same. Any signs of disease or illness should not be classified by social race. we all have more or less the same body parts and functions and capabilities. Diagnosing someone for something because of their “race” (looks) is highly unethical in my opinion and promotes social racism. Doctors have a responsibility to be ethical at all times, even though everyone has their own personal beliefs and assumptions in the back of their head. I can’t really think of a serious situation where thinking about biological race can make a huge negative impact.

  4. Doctors and other health professionals shouldn’t take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating an illness, according to the video, people from the same race are more likely to be genetically different from each other than people from a different race. Thinking about race might be biologically misleading or have a negative effect because according to the video the students were surprised to find out that they were genetically similar to the students they thought had the least similarities between them.Race, as a social construct, is a group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics. I can see how a health professional can take social race into account if that health professional sees a common trend.

  5. The phrase biological race is an oxymoron as we have learned in class that there is nothing biological about race. Therefore, I don’t think that “biological” race should be taken into account when diagnosing and treating a patient. I believe this because saying that an illness is due to a biological reason automatically makes it sound like nothing can be done about it. It also gives the impression that the whole family and lineage of the person will have that same problem. While it is true that some illnesses run in the family or are genetically linked, it is not due to their “race” because race is a social construct. If a person is taken out of their environment that illness which is said to be linked to their race can very well be eradicated. Issues such as poverty, an alcoholic household, or a high crime neighborhood are examples of some of the confounding variables that may lead to people developing certain illnesses. Something as simple as geography can be a reason a disease is more prevalent, but not race.

    If people were led to believe that certain races carry unique diseases, it would cause a lot of misunderstanding. People may outcast one another or think another group is inferior. Things that can be done about the illness may not be done because they will think that it can’t be helped. People may even be misdiagnosed or mistreated if doctors are too quick to assume a person’s illness just based on their superficial appearance.

    I think that considering social race is not as bad. Problems within different racial communities are unfortunate but real. There is a disparity in healthcare that is related to social race. It is especially hard for people who don’t have the opportunity to get out of their negative surroundings. I feel that sometimes we should consider social race in order to get more help out to the different communities that need it. Some people just need a chance.

  6. -Doctors and other health professionals should not take biological race into account because it was proven in the video that biological race is a myth. Biological race classifies race in terms of physical traits (phenotypes) rather than genetics as a whole which includes the genetics you can’t see. The problem with this form of classification is that you cannot classify an individual based on their appearance or look. One reason is that every individual shares a common ancestry therefore they share similar physical characteristics. In addition, throughout the course of history migration, mixing of different individuals from different origin background, and mutation can cause an individual to differ greatly from another individual within the same origin background. Some differences in their physical traits (phenotypes) are a slight darker skin tone, different color eyes, etc. Additionally, two individuals with the same origin background can differ more from one another compare to another individual within a different origin background.
    -Using biological race (based on appearance) to diagnose an individual can result in an inaccurate diagnosis. The reason why the diagnosis can be inaccurate is because the individual might be mix or had an ancestor of a different ethnic background that he/she is unaware. The individual may be classify into a racial group incorrectly. A physician diagnosing based on appearances can give an individual the impression that an illness is common within the race that he/she falls under and since it is common that means that he/she can’t do anything about it. This gives the patient the impression that the diagnosis is tied to their race.
    -Diagnosing through social race would be different because social race is culturally constructed. If a physician considers social race, the physician would look into possible illness based on the behavior of individual in a certain cultural background.

  7. I don’t think that doctors and other health professional should take biological race into the account when diagnosing and treating illness, we might contain the same genes. It is possible that race might not exist, because according to a scientific study on race genetics our ancestors migrated into different parts of the world. This allowed a mixture on genes appearance and culture. It doesn’t matter how we look like, we are all the same. We all have the same characteristics, we contain DNA, two organs. Diseases and infection does not discriminate our skin color, hair appearance and eye color, so why shall we.

  8. The video has taught us that “biological race” is nothing more than bad science. So in terms of needing “biological race” to come to a diagnosis for anything, it would be fallacious. And as the professor has stated in her own personal story, having an illness due to “being black,” would possibly give people a sense of hopelessness or apathy concerning what they have.

    Now social race, which I believe would encompass influences such as economic standing, quality of life, financial income, overall social status, etc., seems far more valuable in the biopsychosocial model. And considering current events, most notably the relationship between law enforcement and citizens of color, I would most certainly believe the social factor of race is vastly more important.

  9. I do not believe that Doctors or any health professional should use biologic race as their sole method of diagnosis. Historically there is evidence that some groups are more prone to certain illnesses, however, this should not be used to diagnose someone to the exclusion of any other symptoms or potential treatment. As the video stated you can be more genetically similar to someone of a completely different “race” than of your own. I personally would like my doctor to see me as a person as opposed to an African American woman. The family history questionnaire that every doctor makes you complete to me is similar to racial profiling. They read your family history and then they automatically know what to diagnose you with before even running any tests or even seeing you in person. Yes my family has a history of breast cancer, yes there is diabetes and hypertension but this is history not my current history or physical state. So I feel that biologic race or social race should really be removed from the medical equation.

  10. The diseases shouldn’t be focused on biological race basis. Race shouldn’t be defined as biology because race is not based on biology. DNA does not distinguish as racial groups but it can alter depending on the environment such as food or drugs. Among races, there are similarities in physical characteristics like skin color and body types but there is no specific disease in race.
    For example, many researches found that breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting American women. In this case, I’m wondering if the highest factor is the gender and age or Do American women have possibility of developing breast cancer?
    Unlike biological race, social race is what we’ve seen and experienced in the society. Social race carries history, ethnicity, economy and many other properties. Mostly, it comes from the stereotype.

  11. No doctors should not take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illnesses. Based off of the video, it is clear that just because you a different race as someone doesn’t mean you are biologically different. Humans are the most similar in biology than any other species. It would not make sense for a doctor to diagnose someone based on their race. In the video the students thought their DNA would match closer with someone who looked like them than with someone who was a different color than them. They were proven wrong and it showed that just because you are the same skin color doesn’t mean you are biologically the same. It is misleading to treat someone based off of race because their is not just a certain race that is more likely to get an illness than another. We are one species and an illness should not be targeted to only a certain race. Taking social race into account of diagnosing someone is different because it can actually be a contributing factor in someone’s illness. The way someone lives, who they are around, and where they live can definitely affect someone’s health.

  12. Race has no biological background and shouldn’t be taken into account when diagnosing or treating an illness because a disease doesn’t discriminate on who it will affect. Thinking of race as biological is inaccurate because as seen in the film nobody is a pure categorization of one single race. A negative effect would be someone being diagnosed with a disease that is common among their race which would give them a feeling of hopelessness that they cant do anything about it. This would only result in the illness worsening in a person instead of them getting any treatment to better themselves. Social race is a much better measure since it covers way more confounding variables in a persons background such as economic and financial standing, quality of life, and their overall social status.

  13. I keep asking myself this question over and over again what is Race? According to society it is how we see someone, their physical appearance and their phenotype. We are all humans or Homo sapiens according to biology or research. This distinguishes us from animals. Our genes or biological makeup will be and should be different from animals or plants. BUT very similar because we are humans. This is how God has made us. I am not surprised by this study in fact this just reinforces what I have learned through my other classes. God has made us all humans.

  14. Doctors are not suppose to treat us differently because of our race. It is clearly UNETHICAL. Respect is the word I will use. We all need to respect each other and treat each other with dignity.

  15. I don’t think doctors and other health professional should take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness because there are multiple variables not taken into account. They can give the wrong diagnoses and treatments to the patients from a misrepresentation of their race. From the video “Race the power of an illusion” Episode 1, It was thought Sickle Cells was a characteristic trait (genotype) of African American however it was shown to be common among people’s ancestor from the Mediterranean region. Biological race was proven to be misleading, although genetic traits are similar between family members it may not be the same for those of the same race. Genetics may not closely match your own race as oppose to others of different race. Social race was the more accepted of the two. The similar superficial characteristic traits (phenotype) help categorize people more accurately into their race than biological race.

  16. Doctor and other health professionals should not take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness because everyone is the same since we are human being. If the doctor did take biological race in to account they would have treat each patients diagnosing and illness different.Also in the video we watch in class it show that us as human being it don’t matter what race you are DNA does not have to match with the same race color, it proven that your own DNA can match with other races. I think consider social race would be different because it can evaluate the person background, financial and other stuff the patients do in basic life.

  17. health professionals shouldn’t take biological race into account when they are diagnosing and treating people, the human body is the same no matter what skin tone we are. Having different skin tone doesn’t make parts of your body different from others i think. When treating illness by thinking about race have negative affects because heath professions might think people have a certain type of illness because of skin tone. Being a type of skin tone does not grantee that a certain illness. When thinking about race and treating, professionals will think that the person that is a certain race have certain illness and won’t find what the real cause of the illness is.

  18. No they should not. As we learned on Wednesday, there is really no difference between DNA that makes one race different from the other. A situation where thinking about race as a biological factor that have a negative affect is when a teacher thinks that a Hispanic child is less likely to pass their exam than a child of the white race. Because the teacher thinks this, they would unconsciously spend more time encouraging the child of the white race to do better instead of working with the child they believe has an issue. So when they review test scores it appears as if they were right. Situations like this occurs because of our misunderstanding of race.

  19. Doctors should not take into consideration race when diagnosing illnesses because it is inaccurate and people are not different biologically since we share common genes. As we learned, race does not determine if a person will have an illness or not. Not does it mean that necessarily because someone is black or Hispanic they will be more than likely to develop a disease. A different situation is when a person has a hereditary illness. in which someone illness is predefined upon a family chain, nevertheless; we can see that families have relatives which are black, Hispanic or white members in a single family, with some members not having an illness. In Terms of Social Race, this is dependent on we are raised, includes the health conditions, the level of someone’s income. i think in a way a physicians job would be more accurate to look at the causes and background of a person’s behavior which caused a disease.

  20. In my opinion, biological race is simply a myth that has no scientific evidence. Research has shown that there is no genetic marker that can be used to define race. In the video: “The Power of an Illusion: The Differences Between Us,” when the students had explored the biology of human variations, they came up with surprising results that confirm that race is not biological. Furthermore, the experiment has also demonstrated that people from the same race are more likely to be genetically different from each other than people from a different race. Therefore, taking what is called biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness would be a terrible mistake and an unethical behavior.

    Classifying diseases according external individuals characteristics can lead to inaccurate diagnostics and treatments, but also it promotes stereotyping and racism.

    The term race is used to identify one group of people from another according their external characteristics; however social race is a social construct that has a negative connotation. It does not have a basis in the natural world but is simply an artificial distinction created by humans that divides people by creating inequalities.

  21. It was a great learning experience to know that race doesn’t play a factor in health concerns. When focusing on a person race and believing that having a certain illness is due to race you might be focusing on the wrong thing. Race doesn’t play apart in biology, they should instead be focusing on pass medical history in your family.

    Focusing on race as a biological factor in someone health is misleading because people might not be concern of developing certain illness that they feel doesn’t apply to them. Another reason that classifying a illness as race related would have negative results would be the for the possibility of outcast individuals because of their race.

  22. Health care professional cannot take biological race into account because genetically we are in one similar type of species homo sapiens sapiens. There is genetic similarities of all colors, someone who is black may match a white person. If we think about blood transfusion or organ donations there is no where on the label it say black or white donor otherwise we won’t be able to save anyone outside our family or race. My DNA is different from my mother , my father and siblings or family and no body can tell if you white or black unless other investigations made to determine your skin color. Race is a social construct, not scientific. It is based on physical appearance , skin color, hair texture. White as the dominant group used race to rationalize their ideas of inequality. It is based on social and economical environment and skin color and for me it is a big mistake because if we look at the lower class white people we can consider them as black indeed they are the most racist and called themselves kkk. We live in a confuse society, people put their own ideology in order to dominate over minorities which are people of color. health disparities can be used among different racial groups due to wealth inequality, huge income gap and access to quality health care between groups. Ancestral problems , i don’t believe in that ( If my mother is diabetic i will have it… no way).

  23. Doctors and other health professionals should not take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness because race is not defined by biology but instead by the “Social construct”. The treatment of the illness is the same of any race since we are biology the same. For example, most American has diabetes, which could mislead because it is caused by life style.

  24. Absolutely not because one has nothing to do with the other. You being a certain race has nothing to do with illness, yes people of the same race my be of high incidence but that does not mEan that all people of a cetrain race should be categorized.

  25. I believe that professionals should not take biological race into account; I believe that we are all humans and race doesn’t have to do with illness. There is a negative effect for example that racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive lower quality of care than nonminority and that, patients of minority ethnicity experience greater morbidity and mortality from various chronic diseases than nonminority. I do not believe social race would be any different because they both deal with race. People are treated differently based on their race. The nonminority is born with privileges; they receive better care and opportunities in life unlike the minorities.

  26. Doctors should not diagnose/treat based on your biological race because there are multiple variables taken into consideration. You could have contracted it from your environment, from when you’re born cause of what your mother done during her pregnancy, where you lived, what you ate during your lifetime, etc.

    Just simply taking the poor boy Ahmed who made the homemade clock. A good representation of what our nation came upon to what they think is a “terrorists.” He was just a poor kid who’s love for tinkering, but based on what he did and his color of his skin and his name makes a whole big difference.

    Like in the video, sickle cells. While most would quickly assume it is mostly in African Americans, but it is technically more for people with the Mediterranean backgrounds. Biological race would be more among our families. People from the same race may not have what is considered “common among that race” illness. For instance, my cousin, she had a brain tumor last year. It was the worst Christmas season ever for our whole family. The doctors were perfect, they diagnose her based on her DNA, not by what she looked like. They hardly were even there to meet her face to face. They diagnose her and treated her with medicine and surgery based on her tumor and the size of it and the location of it, not by her being an Asian. They constantly have to take her blood in order to see the progress.

    If all doctors were like her’s, or even blindfolded…

    • Ahmed serves as an unfortunate example of how we’ve come to utilize the concept of race in the U.S. I’m pleased that he will soon be a guest at the White House– that’s a tremendous sign of progress. Under different presidencies and in different times– this wouldn’t be “news” and the President of our country wouldn’t have gotten involved. Good response.

  27. Doctors and other health professionals shouldn’t take biological race in account when diagnosing treating illness because it’s not “professional” and its ridiculous. What if a person is dying and you’re the only doctor around to treat them are you going to just stand there watch them die? Just because of some racial thing? If a doctor thinks like that then they shouldn’t be in the medical field. i know a couple of Asian doctors who practice in private only and they refuse to take in non-Asians as patients. It’s a good thing they are private.

    also I was pretty sure I did this but I guess I’m doing this again.

  28. I don’t believe that race should be factored into the medical field. This is because race is man made and has no effect on medical practice. It also leads to misconceptions and could possibly lead to false diagnosis. For example it is commonly thought that only African Americans could get sickle-cell anemia where it has been proven scientifically that there are people who are not of African descent who have sickle cell in and around the Mediterranean.

  29. Race should not have any role when it comes to diagnosing and treating illness because it is irrelevant. Race does not play a role in a persons health. What does play a role is their family history, lifestyle, eating habits, etc. If you visit a doctor and are diagnosed with some disease and the doctor tells you that this is a common illness for African Americans, or Asians, or Caucasians then that person might be under the impression that they can’t do anything about it. They should just accept their disease and move on because they are a certain race and people in that race get this disease. That is a dangerous scenario because a person’s way of thinking or their outlook (along with medicine) can help them overcome a disease. But by telling someone that they have a disease because of their race then you can take away their belief that they can do something about it.

    As others have said in their responses a great example of this is that only African Americans can get sickle-cell anemia. The fact that this is untrue and that it is instead tied to people located around the Mediterranean shows that it is simply untrue that diseases are tied to race. Diseases that are commonly associated to a certain race are much more likely a result of living in a certain region where people of a certain race are more prevalent. Because of this doctors should be blind to race and instead focus on obtaining a complete patient history to best treat their patients.

  30. Should doctors and other health professionals take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness? Why? Can you think of a situation where thinking about race as biological might be misleading or have a negative effect? How would considering social race be different?

    – I believe that doctors and health professionals should take into account biological race when researching and documenting, but I don’t think race should be the primary reason of a diagnosis and treating an illness. I think that more consideration should be taken into diagnosing and treating because race could just be one factor but it might not be the entire reason an illness has occurred and therefore it could cause a bit of a misdiagnosis or mistreatment of an illness.

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