NEW BIOCULTURE REPORT ADDRESSES STI DISPARITIES AND SCIENTIFIC RACISM

2018-04-11 14:30:46 Cedric Dent 기자

A new study found that Trichomonas vaginalis, a sexually transmitted infection, affects blacks more than others. The study was published by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine based in Baltimore, Maryland, and it speaks to the return of race science even though, of course, this is not that. Race science is predicated on the yet unfounded belief that intelligence and race are linked, and there is an uptick in progress for this mode of thinking. The correlation is that these things come on the heels of the release of a new report that marks significant progress for the broad field of anthropology: “New Directions in Biocultural Anthropology.”

Obviously, the new report is as almost as broad in its scope as the actual field of anthropology is, but its focus is on bioculture. Major facets of biocultural anthropology are “critical and synthetic approaches within biocultural anthropology; biocultural approaches to identity, including race and racism; health, diet, and nutrition; infectious disease from antiquity to the modern era; epidemiologic transitions and population dynamics; and inequality and violence studies,” according to a press release about the report on MilTech. These are all critical to what bioculture even is, and the aspects that deal with race directly relate to both of the issues mentioned above — ethnic disparities with regard to health issues and the age-old, ridiculous debate on race science.

TV infection causes trichomoniasis by way of a protozoan parasite. “Increased public-health action is needed to eliminate the stark racial disparities in TV infection and achieve racial equality in sexual health,” according to Aaron Tobian, the senior author of the Johns Hopkins study and an associate professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He and his research team analyzed TV results via urine samples collected from over 4,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 59. These were specimens initially collected for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the 2013-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Non-black men and women respectively showed 0.8 and 0.03 percent prevalence of TV compared to black men and women showing 4.2 and 8.9 percent prevalence. For black women who specifically have less than a complete high school education, live below the federally recognized poverty threshold and are older, also displayed a markedly higher prevalence for TV. The question, as usual, is whether these kinds of disparities are biological, behavioral or a combination of the two. Tobian conceded that the answer isn’t black and white, pun intended, but he did highlight an amalgam of contributors like sexual network characteristics and biological differences in infection susceptibility. With the former, he included the favoring of sexual partners within the same race as well as the lack of such favor.

Tobian also addressed the idea of sexual risk behaviors like how many partners a person has at one time. On the other hand, he noted that this didn’t prove to be a measurable determiner in the TV infection rate last year. Another somewhat bizarre observation he made was that, though there are several other STIs for which blacks are inordinately affected in comparison to whites at least, TV infection actually represents the largest disparity, “Which supports the hypothesis that high individual sexual-risk behavior likely does not fully explain the racial disparity in TV infection,” Tobian said.

The new bioculture report will inform what anthropological concepts are taught to students in class, and among other things, this is one of the aspects that will be addressed. The report features “Comprehensive treatment of diverse topics within biocultural anthropology, from human variation and adaptability to recent disease pandemics, the embodied effects of race and racism, industrialization and the rise of allergy and autoimmune diseases, and the sociopolitics of slavery and torture.” Meanwhile, race scientists still posit that there’s evolutionary evidence for disparities in social outcomes like educational attainment, life expectancy, incarceration rates and wealth between racial groups. The presiding argument levies a lack of intelligence against blacks as the primary cause for their socioeconomic inferiority.

This is the kind of science that has been bandied about and broadly disproven for generations at this point. The global scientific community at large views those who still cling to this fight as fringe researchers, but there is a nebulous and somewhat insular community of scientists who consider themselves experts on the subject, releasing more and more information to support these claims. Recently, right-wingers have been pumping out more of this kind of research than usual, and the then-Breitbart executive, Steve Bannon, wrote in July 2016 an article that contributed to this with the suggestion that some of the blacks who had been unduly gunned down in the street by police officers may have deserved it.

“There are, after all, in this world, some people who are naturally aggressive and violent,” Bannon wrote, proceeding to allude to this biased science. As perverse as it may be, this fight is actually a biocultural one as the biological differences between people of different races are incredibly minute and nuanced yet ostensibly real. What is known, however, is that these purported differences are not the differences garnering any scientific legitimacy like those statistically observed with respect to STIs or, for that matter, sickle cell anemia proclivity or hypertension. 

[researchpaper 리서치페이퍼=Cedric Dent 기자]

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