Health Contextualized: Inequalities in Physical and Mental Well-Being at the Intersection of Race, Skin, and Place

Ann Arbor MI 03-11-2019 03-14-2019 Dynamic, often polarizing views of race and racial inequality have been a defining feature of the United States (US) in the 21st century. On the one hand, the US has largely touted itself as a colorblind society. Results from a recent Pew Center poll, however, indicate that a majority of Americans believe the US needs to make more changes to achieve racial equality between blacks and whites. These patterns are further complicated by the documented increase in and heightened media attention to far-right hate groups. In the context of evidence suggesting the racial hierarchy is taking more of a pigmentocratic character, such diverging images of US society raise questions about understandings of race and their consequences for life chances, including health. For example, what dimensions of race are particularly consequential for health and well-being? Do our self-identifications matter more than how others perceive us? To what extent do our social environments shape the meanings and consequences of race? The present study helps address these issues by examining whether and how two dimensions of race (self-identified race and socially-assigned skin color) combine with racial contexts to structure the nature of health inequality between African Americans and whites. Drawing on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), results help elucidate how multi-level environments shape linkages among race, skin color, and health.

Taylor W. Hargrove, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology Faculty Fellow, Carolina Population Center University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

March 11-14, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Institute for Social Research (426 Thompson Street) Room 1430
Sponsored by: Group Dynamics Seminar Series
Contact Information: Group Dynamics Seminar Series, kaikati@umich.edu

Dynamic, often polarizing views of race and racial inequality have been a defining feature of the United States (US) in the 21st century. On the one hand, the US has largely touted itself as a colorblind society. Results from a recent Pew Center poll, however, indicate that a majority of Americans believe the US needs to make more changes to achieve racial equality between blacks and whites. These patterns are further complicated by the documented increase in and heightened media attention to far-right hate groups. In the context of evidence suggesting the racial hierarchy is taking more of a pigmentocratic character, such diverging images of US society raise questions about understandings of race and their consequences for life chances, including health. For example, what dimensions of race are particularly consequential for health and well-being? Do our self-identifications matter more than how others perceive us? To what extent do our social environments shape the meanings and consequences of race? The present study helps address these issues by examining whether and how two dimensions of race (self-identified race and socially-assigned skin color) combine with racial contexts to structure the nature of health inequality between African Americans and whites. Drawing on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), results help elucidate how multi-level environments shape linkages among race, skin color, and health.