I learned a few things during my time as sociology major. Structural inequality, conflict theory, anomie, the usual goodies. But it was during my two class overview of race and ethnicity that I came across how manipulated data can become in order to substantiate unspeakable pillars of racism. Take for instance the misguided assumption from that black and brown kids can never achieve academically as their white counterparts. A study was conducted, then used to exonerate prejudices.
Medicine, as we all know, is a business. And as such, would do just as well nipping and tucking data to fit their needs. Look no further than the recent BiDil scandal of race-based medicine and you can almost see the dollar signs in executive’s eyes when that idea came up in the boardroom.
A friend of mine jokingly complained that a mutual friend of ours not only had many talents (he’s an artist, etc.), but also would have a longer life expectancy than he. I asked him to send me the article he got the information from. The Washington Post explains:
Hispanic men and women had the longest life expectancy, a finding that has puzzled demographers in recent years but that now appears to be unquestionable.
Legit numbers are behind this claim (so they say), but who did they poll? Was it Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Argentinians, or Brazilian? What’s the socioeconomic standing of the people they polled? The education level? What about where they live-safe or unsafe environment?
But perhaps the biggest indicator of health that I would like to have seen in the data is just how recently did they move into the US. No, not to keep tabs on anyone, but it seriously is one of the best indicator of one’s health. According to “Unnatural Causes,” a documentary about health inequalities in America, the difference between a recent immigrant’s health and the health of someone born Stateside is rather substantial.
Nicknamed “the Latino Paradox,” immigrants who come from rural or less developed countries are not exposed to the same toxins most Americans are since birth. Pollution, preservatives, fatty foods, lack of resources for the average blue collar worker, stress, and so on. Of course, this differs from situation to situation. But consider the fact that recently immigrated Africans also tend to have better health than their American-born counterparts. Possibly the worst health outcomes for all minorities belong to Native Americans, who do not have fresh immigrants to come over and boost numbers.
The tragedy is that these health benefits start to diminish over time, and within a generation can be wiped back to national averages of those born in the US. That’s all it takes to lose stellar health and a long life: one generation in the US. It’s rather quite astounding how great our sense of exceptionalism is when we can’t even keep our richest, most privileged members of society healthier than someone looking to better their situation and gives up everything to do so.
Elementary Statistics, my dear Watson.
P.S. I also loved that these prize-winning scientists are shocked over the drop in homicides when the WashPo reported on the fall of violent crimes OVER A YEAR AGO. Possibly even from the same data*(I have not substantiated such claim. Yet.).
- Monica Castillo, originally from La Vida de Mcastimovies