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?

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

  1. Race is a biological myth created by society and has no biological grounds. I think that health care providers shouldn’t diagnose and treat their patients according to “biological race” because we all the same. Some illnesses may run in the family or genetically, but it is not because of race. Professionals should not take biological race into account because individual cannot be classified based on their appearance. Throughout history mixing of different individuals and mutation can cause an individual to be different from another individual whom is from the same background. Health professionals cannot make life or death decision based on a myth. If people were to believe that races carry unique diseases, it would create misunderstanding information. For example, people may be misdiagnosed or mistreated if doctors assume a person’s illness based on their appearance. The reason why the diagnosis can be inaccurate is because the individual may be classified into an incorrect racial group. Individuals sometimes are not aware for their ethnic background or their complete ancestor. But social race would be different. Social race is culturally constructed by others. Physicians could look into illness based on behaviors of individuals in a specific cultural background. The diagnose based on social race would be a decision influences by the economic status, quality of life, income, and social status.

  2. I don’t think Race in and of it self should be taken in consideration by health professionals and doctors when diagnosing and treating illness but i do think there could be slight differences between people of dramatically different skin colors which may make the diagnosing and treatment different in a biological sense. However, skin color is not race so the distinction needs to be clear to these health professionals. Race as biological can definitely have a negative effect for example if black people are told that being black makes them less intelligent that could greatly affect ones psyche. Considering social Race can be very different because social race has roots in identity and how a person identifies his or herself can shape there experience so a psychiatrist for example would need to take race into consideration when deal with people

  3. I don’t think Race in and of it self should be taken in consideration by health professionals and doctors when diagnosing and treating illness but i do think there could be slight differences between people of dramatically different skin colors which may make the diagnosing and treatment different in a biological sense. However, skin color is not race so the distinction needs to be clear to these health professionals. Race as biological can definitely have a negative effect for example if black people are told that being black makes them less intelligent that could greatly affect ones psyche. Considering social Race can be very different because social race has roots in identity and how a person identifies his or herself can shape there experience so a psychiatrist for example would need to take race into consideration when deal with people

  4. Using race to diagnose and treat illnesses may lead to much confusion, and bad advice. Depending on where one may be on the globe one may get two very different medical opinions on what illnesses they are more likely, and less likely to get. If the medical field uses something other then race to find out what illnesses one is likely to get, that may lead to even better and more effective ways to help diagnose and threat people.

  5. I believe doctors and health professionals shouldn’t take the “biological race” into account. As we all saw on the film, internally we are almost the same. There are only a few genes that distinguish us from each other. However, one tends to claim a race based on physical appearances and external similarities. In my experience, Medical doctors and health professionals are just “guessers”. They tend to predict and recommend a given diagnostic or medicine based on previous outcomes. Most of them do not have an idea how pills work. When, and/or, I get medicine for an X dysfunction, I ask the M.D how the procedure works and their best well common answer “Oh it follows a very complex mechanism”. In other words they have NO idea. Hence the reason “Biological race” should not be use in their field.
    Hispanics are consider a minority group and most of us live in poverty[1]. These “professionals” will take this information and predict the future for the upcoming generations. Now, I think “social race” comes up when the separation between Blacks, Whites, Asian, Native Americans, etc shows up. I encounter this question every time I apply for an internship, scholarship, etc. I think is a matter of census and how the U.S decides how to distribute its budget.

    • [1] I am using the term “poverty” very loose here. I believe everyone has their own meaning of the word and therefore I reserve my right to use it under the circumstances.

  6. Biological characteristics are not indicated in the genetic DNA and therefore cannot be categorized. unlike our unique finger prints, genetically all Homo sapiens are biologically and genetically the same. In episode one of the movie it was reiterated that we can’t find any genetic indicators of race and that in fact genetically we are all the same. Should doctors and other health professionals take biological race into account, they would be morally and scientifically flawed.

  7. I believe and hope doctors do not use biological race when treating patients. Why one might ask. This is due to the fact that race cannot be identified by some one biological make up. It cannot be identified by skin color or even hair texture as proven in the movie. A gene/genes found in one race can be found also in another race with both individuals looking nothing like the other. One situation where thinking of race as biological can give a negative outcome is saying that due to the fact that your patient is white they are unlikely to have sickle cell anemia, when in reality that patient is from an African decent and does suffer from the illness. Considering social race is much different than biological due to the fact that it is categorizing people by similar features such as background and culture.

  8. I think doctors and other health professionals should not take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating an illness. Thinking about race might be biologically misleading or have a negative effect. According to the film it shows that people from the same race are more likely to be hereditarily different from each other than people from a different race. in the film where the students were trying to find out their skin color number from skin color chart,they actually were surprised to find out that they almost have similar number of skin color where one was White, one was Asian and the other one was Latino. So i think if a health professional perceives a mutual allegation only then he/she can take social race into account.

  9. Doctors and other health professionals shouldn’t take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating an illness, according to the movie, people from the same group so-called race are more likely to be genetically different from each other. Also the movie shows that race is not linked to biological race. I don’t see the reason of doctors asking patients about their biological race to determine any type of illness, because biological race is proven to be wrong. Social race is different than biological race, because social race is a group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics in society, in this case I could see how a doctor can take social race into account because race is culturally constructed.

  10. I do not believe that physicians should use the social construct of “Race” as a factor for medical treatment. If there is no biological way to distinguish a person of a certain race to be predisposed to a specific condition there is no ground for race as a basis for decision making. We already spoke of the belief that Sickle Cell was a “Black disease”, and that type of thinking might cause a white sickle cell patient to have delayed treatment. Hypertension and high cholesterol are reported to be very prevalent in the black community, but this is more likely due to socio-economic inequality than genetic makeup.

    I asked a nurse at my hospital why there are 2 measurements for Estimated Glomelular Filtration Rate (eGFR), one for African Americans and one for everybody else. Her response was that “African Americans are predisposed to renal problems”, which seems contrary to what I understand from our class’s resent discussion on genetics.

  11. I do not think that race was to determine the medical care of a patient. The race on human beings is not a scientific concept but a social construct, which is culture. In a way we are all equal. A given treatment for one person, may not work for someone else, but not because they are different races, but because they have different resistances, perhaps their immune system is one of the factors that can determine why patients’ needs different treatment having the same illness. Often we make mistakes because we do not understand that race cannot be determined by the color of our skin, the shape of the lips, the texture of our hair, or the shape of our noses, but our genes. As the video that we saw in the classroom, social race is what we see with the naked view which puts us in a supposedly correct race, biological race is what skills we have in common

  12. I do not believe doctors and medical professionals should take into account biological race concepts when diagnosing and treating illness. All cases are individual and should not be associated with a particular race. Yes some races are more likely to suffer from certain diseases (African Americans & obesity and diabetes) Doctors should take an impartial approach to diagnosing and treating diseases. In my example cited above not all blacks have diabetes and by treating for these diseases without a basis to do so it can actually trigger a misdiagnosis due to assumption. The problem linked to social race is the categorizing of people into particular attributes because of their race. The perception that all whites eat organic food for example would lead a medical professional to believe that all whites are healthy – this is very misleading.

  13. I do not think Health professionals should take biological race into consideration when diagnosing or treating an illness, unless you are dealing with a disease or illness that “we” know for certain there is a strong genetic link. As we saw in the film we are not as genetically compatible to each other as we once thought we were.
    A case that could be misleading or have a negative effect might be sickle cell disease. For as long as I can remember as a nurse we were told sickle cell disease was an “african” disease, but it is trait passed on for ancestors that lived in high malarial areas. Sickle cell disease is extremely painful, but the early symptoms are fatigue, jaundice and possible swelling of the hands and feet. If a health care professional didn’t consider this to be possible symptoms of sickle cell just because of the race of the patient, that patient could go into a sickle cell crisis.
    Social race should not come into consideration when diagnosing or treating an illness. This could lead to bias in our thinking and lead to stereotyping. We can not assume such things as “all” asians eat well but don’t absorb medications properly or latinos use lots of salt etc. We need to treat the patient as a whole based on the symptoms he/she is presenting with and the lifestyle the patient leads not the lifestyle of their social race.

  14. I do not believe doctors & health professionals should take race into account in diagnosing a patient. Race is only physical and there is no way to tell which person has just because of their skin color, eyes, etc. The perfect example would be sickle cell disease (SCD). This disease was believed to only affect African Americans, and a white patient would be dismissed of having this disease even if showing the symptoms. When in fact this disease has been found in regions that are prone to malaria. Anyone that lived in those regions can have this disease despite skin color. Even social race is misleading because there are as many poor white people as black or any other for that matter. What really needs to be considered is income.

  15. I believe that doctors and other health professionals shouldn’t take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness. Pertaining to the film it gave me a much more vivid understanding of how us human beings think we are alike and the biological race in general. All cases can be different and doesn’t generally have to deal with a certain race. Often they say in African americans that diabieties are most common in this race. I believe it has nothing to do with the African American population, and that anyone can obtain this disease by you’re life style. Biological race and social race are completely different. Social race is what us humans in today’s society believe that race has a big factor to you’re skin color. Biological race is more specific and deals with ur genetic traits.

  16. I think its a huge mistake when doctors take biological race into consideration when diagnosing or treating a patient. Even if people look alike we all are different so our health system is also different. We all respond different to treatments and as result, the medicine that works for one person might not work for others with the same health issue. All I can think right now is that some people think that just because people are Latinos then they all tend to have diabetes. This is a misleading fact because people from everywhere is exposed to diabetes and other health conditions.
    Social race is how race is currently seen.

  17. Biological Race should not be considered when doctors or health professionals diagnose or treat illnesses because even if we might be the same by our DNA we all have different body’s and our health is different than everyone else. Some diseases are not genetic so it will be a bad idea if doctors and health professionals treat illnesses based on biological race. Social race is different also based on how society looks at a race they say they are more likely to be exposed to this type of disease but i think that is not true everyone is different and can be exposed to the same disease does not matter what race society says you are but health professionals take consideration into social race when diagnosing or treating a illness.

  18. How would considering social race be different?

    Health professionals should not take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness because our race has nothing to do with contracting an illness. A physician should treat each patient the same. Illness can vary all over the world and sometimes develop in a particular areas. What should be taken into account is environment and location. For example, it is a misunderstood that people from African decent have sickle cell disease. However, that is false;it is commonly found in the Mediterranean region. This can have a negative effect because a doctor may go without treating a person in the correct location where this disease is present. Social race is different because it is how one identifies them self based on physical characteristics. This IS a negative things because it provokes racism and also superiority amongst different “races.” For example, white vs black hate.

  19. I believe that doctors and other health professional should not take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness since race is not biological. As it specified in “Race- The Power of Illusion” we are all very similar genetically speaking, so to try and say that someone is predisposed to an illness based on biological race is not accurate. For example, thinking that an individual is less prone to developing a certain illness because of their so called “biological race” could be dangerous because the illness may still run in their immediate family etc. Considering social race is different because you can take into account an individuals culture and surroundings which could impact health issues such as the food they eat, the access to healthcare services, the importance of health etc.

  20. doctors and any others health care professionals don’t have any excuses to take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating patients, this can definitely cause stereotypes, and conflicts among them. In reality, health care professionals should not be judgmental. Social race is defined by people’s point of view, it think race could be different if we have more compassion and understanding among each others.

  21. I think doctors should not take biological race into account when diagnosing patients because it could lead them to misdiagnose or not even figure out the problem. For example, if it was assumed that only one group of people get a certain disease (i.e., sickle cell affecting only African Americans) then based on race the doctor may not diagnose the patient correctly and not catch the illness on time to save a life. Diseases and ailments don’t look at skin color or hair type when effecting a person and neither should doctors when treating their patients. Also, the video we watched mentioned how in the past it was assumed that African Americans lived shorter lives because of genes, not because of social factors. If a doctor were to think this way then science would not advance and people would not get fair treatment in a medical facility and assumptions based on race could jeopardize their health.

  22. No, Doctors should not take race into account as the term “Race” is superficial. You can not just look at someone and say “Oh, she is black so she has sickle cell”. Studies has shown us that many people have diseases that have nothing to do with their race. Testing a black person whose test has came back that they have low white and red cells, and saying that based off those results they have HIV could be misleading. The reason for me saying that is that the person could have lupus and because “white society” deemed the disease as a black person could have devastating affects on different individuals. Social race, again, is a term used to divide people based on their physical attributes, behavior, and their ethnic origins.

  23. There are many components of the medical interview that patients may find offensive. Weight, race, toxic habits, sexual history are just a few of the things that might make our patients uncomfortable. However, to ignore these components would be doing our patients a disservice. All these components can have a real impact on the patient’s health and is a key part of caring for our patients as a unique individual. It is important to be sensitive and nonjudgmental when inquiring about these areas. It is also important for us to not allow of our own prejudice cloud our judgment. While hypertension may be more prevalent in African American’s and alcoholism is particularly prevalent in Native Americans, each person still must be assessed as an individual. So I do believe race should be addressed when trying to help our patients. However, it is only one piece of the puzzle of who our patient is and we should try to explore all aspects to better understand our patient and then be able to help them with a clearer picture of where they are coming from

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