This morning I watched an amazing TED Talk on how medicine uses “race” in diagnosing disease. I thought it was particularly good based on the point of view of the presenter. This woman socially identifys with being “black” but ancestrally is of both European and African descent based on her “white” father’s and “black” mother’s ancestry. The talk made me reflect on how I am classified when I check that box Caucasian—such a broad classification. Especially when actually ancestrally I am ¼ Swedish and ¾ Scotts-Irish –not just Caucasian. Genetically I carry the gene for Factor V Leiden, a blood clotting disorder. Since I am a heterozygote, I just have to worry about this if I lose a lot of blood (I will get blood clots) and I cannot take any form of estrogen. I already had a major episode of blood clots –and having survived it –I do not want to repeat it. BUT not all Caucasians are likely to carry this gene—people of Swedish descent are though. Maybe the boxes we check on our medical forms need to be more ancestrally based to be useful than socially related.
Dorothy Roberts explains why race-based medicine is bad medicine.
Watch the video.