In Chicago in 1980, black and white women died of breast cancer at the same rate. Today, despite being slightly more likely to get breast cancer, white female Chicagoans are half as likely to die from it. Could the difference in death rates be due to genetic differences between black and white women?
. . .
Race is a political category that has staggering biological consequences because of the impact of social inequality on people’s health. Understanding race as a political category does not erase its impact on biology; instead, it redirects attention from genetic explanations to social ones.
Check out this article in Boston Review by Anne Fausto-Sterling: Bodies with Histories: The New Search for the Biology of Race.
In it, Fausto Sterling reviews these three important and thought-provoking books:
- Richard C. Francis, Epigenetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance. W. W. Norton, $25.95 (cloth)
- Ann Morning, The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference. University of California Press, $26.95 (paper)
- Dorothy Roberts, Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century. New Press, $29.95 (cloth)