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The social, economic, political, and genetic value of race and ethnicity in 2020

Tesfaye B. Mersha, Andrew F. Beck
2020 Human Genomics  
Disparities across racial and ethnic groups are present for a range of health outcomes. In this opinion piece, we consider the origin of racial and ethnic groupings, a history that highlights the sociopolitical nature of these terms. Indeed, the terms race and ethnicity exist purely as social constructs and must not be used interchangeably with genetic ancestry. There is no scientific evidence that the groups we traditionally call "races/ethnicities" have distinct, unifying biological or
more » ... iological or genetic basis. Such a focus runs the risk of compounding equity gaps and perpetuating erroneous conclusions. That said, we suggest that the terms race and ethnicity continue to have purpose as lenses through which to quantify and then close racial and ethnic disparities. Understanding the root cause of such health disparities—namely, longstanding racism and ethnocentrism—could promote interventions and policies poised to equitably improve population health.
doi:10.1186/s40246-020-00284-2 pmid:33059745 fatcat:iv7v3336trgqpnq7l6bqz5baie