Sick of Race: How Racism Harms Health and Misleads Medicine

Clarence C. GravleeSociocultural Anthropologist, University of Florida

Social scientists commonly assert that race is a cultural construct, not a biological reality. This refrain is correct in spirit, but it has proven to be an ineffective response to the persistence of racial-genetic determinism in medicine, science, and everyday life. What’s more, it creates a blind spot: deflecting attention away from the biological consequences of cultural constructs like race. In this talk, I show how hidden assumptions about race, genes, and biology infect contemporary medicine and how integrating methods from the social and biological sciences clarifies the health effects of systemic racism.

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