Thursday, July 10, 2014

Science vs. Politics: The Social Construction of Race

There are diseases that are overwhelmingly present in some ethnic or racial groups, such as cystic fibrosis (European ancestry), Tay-Sachs (Ashkenazi Jews), sickle-cell anemia (blacks), or hereditary haemachromatosis (Celts, British, and Scandinavian).  You can find individuals outside those groups with these diseases, but they are generally rare.

If you go to WebMD, you get a screed about how racial differences in diseases aren't real because race is socially constructed, and that poverty and racism are the real causes of apparent racial differences.  Yet when you go to scholarly papers, there are plenty of studies that are examining differences that are genetic, and not environmental, such as this paper from Circulation, "Race-Specific Differences in Endothelial Function: Predisposition of African Americans to Vascular Diseases."  The paper demonstrates using "single human umbilical vein endothelial cells" drawn from health-matched black and white Americans that there are genetically-based differences in NO/O2/ONOO− release that explains, even apart from diet, poverty, and medical care, why American blacks have higher rates of diabetes and hypertension than WHITES.

This is a serious problem: pretending that every difference in illness among different ethnic and racial groups is non-genetic is a recipe for health care system disaster.  It would be like deciding to apportion Tay-Sachs screening clinics in Casper, Wyoming using the same per capita as New York City or Los Angeles, or deciding that funding for sickle cell anemia treatment should be distributed across every state proportionate to population, rather than based on likely risk.


StormCchaser said...

It is ironic that the same crowd of progressives that says I Love F*****G Science pushes this nonsense, while badmouthing as anti-science those of use who doubt climate alarmism.

More and more of science is being ignored for ideological reasons. We are starting to live in 1984, where appearance is all, and reality is meant to be irrelevant.

dmoelling said...

My father-in-law had to travel to NYC from his retirement home to see specialists familiar with his pre-cancerous skin condition because it was only seen in Eastern European Jews.

Unless someone shows some discrimination against favored
"ethnic" groups, racial genetics are not discussed