Anthro Race Paper

Submitted By oliviah413
Words: 720
Pages: 3

Olivia Henriques
Anth 101 Fall 2014
Second Paper
Human Variation and the Concept of Race

The idea of innate biological differences between races has existed for centuries, and despite the progressive views that modern society so often prides itself on, racial prejudices persist to this day. The idea that some races are genetically predisposed to be weaker, stronger, or more or less susceptible to disease endures in modern medicine with the introduction of race-specific drugs such as BiDil even after scientific research, cited by Jonathan Marks in “Human Evolutionary Biology,” indicated that such medications are no more effective than their generic counterparts. Racial marketing has allowed manufacturers to mark up race-based medications to exorbitant prices, taking advantage of their target consumers. Bidil, first marketed in 2005, was introduced as a drug targeted specifically at combating heart failure in African-Americans. According to Scientific American, however, “There is no firm evidence that BiDil works better for African-Americans than for whites (Kahn 2007). “ This dishonest marketing tactic took advantage of people’s views on racial differences in order to keep the drug’s patent from expiring and raise the price to, “six times as much as the readily available generic equivalents (Kahn 2007).” Instead of breaking down racial stereotypes, progress in the fields of medicine and biology has been used for capital gain at the expense of people disadvantaged by illness. It cannot be denied that some populations are predisposed to certain diseases, but this is the result of situational stress or genetic drift rather than any sort of biological imperfection. For example, Tay-Sachs disease is more common in Ashkenazi Jews than in other groups (Tay-Sachs 2012). The mutation that causes Tay-Sachs is not an innate characteristic but one that occurred randomly and was passed down by people marrying within their faith. In addition, Judaism is a religion and culture that should not be equated to race or physical appearance. The stress of social inequality on individuals who are regularly exposed to racism also takes its toll on the human body. An article in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology reported that patterns of poor health such as diabetes and heart disease, “are often taken as evidence of fundamental genetic differences between alleged races. However, a growing body of evidence establishes the primacy of social inequalities in the origin and persistence of racial health disparities (Gravlee 2009).” Therefore, even race-based that are proven to be effective would only be affective on populations that fit specific socioeconomic criteria. Skin color and race are a central part of how humans identify themselves, and thus play a key role in the alienation of those who are perceived as fundamentally different. Despite common views that skin color marks the divide between races, humans are far more similar than different. Racial boundaries, though they are a significant part of human interaction, are based on social constructs rather than quantifiable data. Claims that individuals in separate populations have more genetic variation than individuals within a