Department of Sociology Colloquium Series presentation by David Williams, Harvard University, Professor of Public Health and of African and African American Studies.
Race, Racism and Health: Needed Research to Capture Emerging Risks
Racial Inequities in health are observed in racialized societies around the world. Sociologists have long recognized the centrality of socially-structured living and working conditions to shape the social distribution of disease. Sociologists identified socioeconomic status (SES) as a fundamental cause of inequities in health and have given growing attention, in recent years, to the role of racism as a driver of racial health inequities. However, this body of research on racism and health centrally focuses on self-reported measures of discrimination. As important as these are, there is an urgent need for more rigorous and comprehensive assessment of the multiple pathways linking racism to health. There is a need for increased research attention to documenting the health impact of 1) changes in social policies that are hostile to the well-being of socially stigmatized populations, including low SES whites; and 2) changes in racial hostility and animus that are embedded in our culture.