Sunday, February 23, 2014

Race and Health

I never would have made the connection of race and health being tied together, well not until I read the Viruell-Fuents study. What really surprised me was that I actually had thoughts and opinions on this topic and I never knew I did. I really enjoyed reading the study; it got me to think a bit and actually realize a few things. I was not surprised by the fact the first generation immigrants have better health than second generation immigrants. Without even reading the study I know that immigrants tend to stay together when they arrive instead of branch out. I know when I was in Germany, not as an immigrant, but I was there for a few months, I tried to stay with people who spoke the same language. This I am sure first generation immigrants would have tried to do as well. Of course they would have been stressed but they were not thrown into a completely new environment like the second generation immigrants. The second generation would experience the stressors of branching out, since they would not have as big a culture and language barrier. They would have a lot more to deal with than those of the first generation. Since they would have more stress in their lives, it would only make since that they would have poorer health than the other.
I have always tried to stay away from the topic of health, and I am really starting to understand that health does have a lot to do with culture. I am amazed that this took me by surprise.

1 comment:

  1. I too was surprised by the idea that a person's health can be hurt by being a Latino immigrant in the US. After reading the study I realized that it all made sense. While reading I thought of how different the lives of my grandmother, who is a first generation Mexican immigrant, and my mother, who is second generation, truly are. My grandmother only interacts with her friends that also migrated from Mexico and the few Mexicans in her neighborhood. She minimizes her interactions with White Americans by having my mother take care of those responsibities and has done this ever since my mother was a child. Growing up my mother had to be a translator for my grandparents and had to be responsible for her life outside of her house from a very young age. Unfortunately, the same situations happen for many second generation children. From a very young age, children have to help their parents take care of house bills, make doctors appointments, and go grocery shopping. The stressors only become more apparent when the second generation child grows up and starts the college application process. Unlike many White Americans who have parents that went to college, many second generation Mexican immigrants are first-generation college attendees. I myself was a first-generation college student and it was one of the most rigorous and confusing things I have done. My parents did not understand the process for applying to college, applying for scholarships and filling out FAFSA. Luckily for me, my parents both speak English and were able to help me along the way in whatever way they could. For those students who donot have English speaking parents, the struggle was even harder. Many of my friends who were in that situations did not even discuss with their parents about the process.

    One never thinks about what second generation children have to go through. They not only have to interact, compete with, and branch out into White American community for their own life, but they also have to take care of all the responsiblity of their parents. With all these stressors pushed onto the shoulders of these children it is no wonder that their health is deteriorated.