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Professor: Racism Causes High Blood Pressure

REUTERS/Lucy NicholsonBernita Jackson, 51, has her blood pressure measured at an event to inform people about the Affordable Care Act and donate turkeys to 5,000 needy families, in Los Angeles, California, November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY POVERTY POLITICS) - RTX15SZ8

A professor speaking at the University of Alabama (UA) argued that race and not genetics causes high blood pressure in black people.

Dr. Clarence Gravlee, an associate professor in anthropology at the University of Florida, hosted a “Sick of Race” seminar Monday, in which he discussed why he thought blacks suffered so disproportionately to whites from high blood pressure, as reported by The Crimson White.

“Color and socioeconomic status interact with blood pressure, ancestry does not,” said Dr. Gravlee, contradicting the conclusions of research conducted in the past.

“The interaction between class and color are closely related to the results of blood pressure,” insisted the professor. During his speech, Gravlee defined “race” as “social environment” instead of a biological element.

While in Puerto Rico, the professor found that African Americans living in white-dominated areas were more likely to have high blood pressure than those who did not.

“High blood pressure runs in my family and I’ve had experiences with racism,” said Jade Hill, a UA International Relations freshman. However, I’ve never thought about the two being related,” Hill remarked. “[The seminar] was an interesting outlook on social issues in America.”

Around 40 students and more than two dozen UA faculty attended Gravlee’s talk. The lecture was hosted by the school’s College of Arts & Sciences and College of Community Health Sciences.

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