Critical Analysis of Health Disparities by Race and Class: Why Both Matter

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1251 Words
Date:  2022-09-21


The article "Health Disparities by Race and Class: Why both Matter" was written by Ichiro Kawachi, Norman Daniels, and Dean E. Robinson. The main aim of the article is to explain that when it comes to health disparities in the United States, then we have to look at both race and class as determinants. According to the author racial disparities in health has always been used but class disparities have always been overlooked. As such, the authors of this research review aim to show that both race-based and class-based disparities are crucial when talking about health disparities in the United States.

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Analysis of the Article

The issues that the authors raise in this article are the sensitization of class as a determinant of health disparities. The author brings out three approaches on racial disparities in health which are that race is a biological category, and people reflect inherited susceptibility to diseases, the race is a proxy of class and that socioeconomic stratification is behind racial disparities and lastly, race as akin to caste. The other issue is how the class is overlooked when talking about differences in health and why people opt to be segregated into racial groups rather than their economic wellbeing when discussing health disparities.

The primary claim that the author has brought forth is the issue of hidden tension on the race-based account over class-based accounts in regards to health disparities when decisions and policies are made in different areas. In this case, the article reviles how race-based discourse has been used to suppress any dialogue of class-based account in the United States. The minor claims include racial disparities are the causes of inherited biological differences that make people susceptible to diseases, that racial disparities are proxy of the class an individual belongs and that both class and race have independent but interactive effects towards health disparities (Kawachi, Daniels, & Robinson, 2005).

The first claim that racial and class identities are mutually constitutive is a claim of value. This is well elaborated in the aspect that when discussing the class inequalities, the issue becomes intrinsically divisive. Some people see that this issue would mean that they are turning against their own and in most cases are not understood, and people justify them. The United States cultural traditions have a broad acceptance of injustice about racial disparities in health. This mostly stems from the overt racism whereby there is preferential treatment of the white to the blacks. The minor claims on racial disparities not necessary as determinant disease preference is a statement of fact because as the author elaborate, this is a gross oversimplification as many factors affect the prevalence rate of an individual.

The central claim that there needs to be a link between race and class when addressing health inequalities is relevant, reliable and accurate. The reason where this claim is relevant is the fact that many white people in the United States do not want to be placed in the same class as a black man and would instead use race inequalities to class inequalities. However, most of this white people are very poor, but they want to be better off than the wealthiest black people. The accuracy of this claim is based on using racial disparities in health rather than class disparities are working against the whites' economic interests. Concerning the minor, the claim is also relevant, recent, reliable and accurate. This can be argued from the fact that current policies in the health sector are mainly focused on racial disparities rather than class disparities

The author supports their main claim by analyzing the health disparities based on both race and class and what the society believes in what is accentually socioeconomically sensible. They are trying to address a misinterpretation and making sure that it is well understood that race and class disparities are significant when it comes to tackling inequalities in health. The most important people to help solve the misinterpretation are the politicians whore the policymakers as they can strengthen the nation's information infrastructure to help monitor these disparities. The authors accept counter-argument from Richard Cooper about the biological account in of racial disparities in health.

Research Relevance

From this study, the table as shown in exhibit 1 on the last page of this critical analysis would be great content for my scholarly paper because it shows the readers a well-organized interpretation of what race and family income and its effects on health. The statistical data is very crucial as it shows the importance of class disparities across all ages and gender. The other content that I can use is the explanation on the medical report on eliminating health disparities about the infrastructure and Medicare claims. Also, the additional necessary information is on the various pieces of legislation and the impact they have had in both class and racial disparities. Lastly, the concept that the article brings out on what it would mean when the white are grouped in the same category with the black and the contrast it has had in the traditions of Americans.

I agree with the authors that class and racial disparities are crucial in health. The explanation given is concrete and conclusive. I also totally agree that biological inherited differences stemming out of racial disparities are not an indication of one's susceptibility to diseases. However, I am in disagreement with the authors on the issue on the need to improve the infrastructure to improve the measurement of race and socioeconomic status. The reason is this might not help unless the legislative arm of government decides to change its approach when making laws in health from racial segregation to socioeconomic power. The government laws should not stereotype on the "blackness" or "whiteness" of an individual and avoid giving prevalence along racial identities.

What I found new in the article is the argument on the genetic susceptibility to diseases based on race, the exhibit that shows the race as a proxy for class, reasons for racism in the United States, welfare states that were built by the government and the need of strengthening of the nation's information infrastructure. The strength that one derives from this content is the comprehensive explanation and collaboration of different ideas from different authors that seems to settle on the same point. Also, the authors, explains the reason where it is wrong to use race and how race has been misused overtime to undermine the black people rather than help address the disparities in health. The keywords I got that I could use in section headings include the origin of racial inequality and its effects, the abuse of racial disparities in health, why race is used as a proxy for class, classifying the whites and why improve the information infrastructure.


The review as shown will go a long way in helping me on my research. The fact that the authors were detailed and addressed each section fully will help me understand the study better than before having more content to write about and discuss any gap that may arise in my research. The various form of disparities come into play and how they affect health is very clear. Also, the article provides reviews by other authors, e.g., W.E.B Dubois, Philip Klinker and Roger Smith and Richard Cooper that I plan to read on and use it when my research paper.


Kawachi, I., Daniels, N., & Robinson, D. E. (2005). Health Disparities By Race And Class: Why Both Matter. Health Affairs, 24(2), 343-352. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.24.2.343

Cite this page

Critical Analysis of Health Disparities by Race and Class: Why Both Matter. (2022, Sep 21). Retrieved from

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