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Racism, Ethnicity, Health and Society

  1. Hannah Bradby

Published Online: 15 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005660.pub2



How to Cite

Bradby, H. 2012. Racism, Ethnicity, Health and Society. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Essex, Colchester, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2012


Racialised thinking about human diversity underlies some infamous medical and scientific abuses, although in some cases the form of discrimination is cloaked in the language of ethnicity. A central dilemma of measuring equity along the lines of ethnicity is that categories of difference are inevitably reinforced. Although measuring iniquity may facilitate its redress, it may also reify and reinforce categories which are the basis of discrimination. The role of historical manifestations of racism in the case of rickets and sickle cell disease are discussed. The compounding of racialised disadvantage with other forms of marginalisation is discussed in terms of individual and institutional discrimination with regard to the origins of the HeLa cell line.


  • racism;
  • ethnicity;
  • race;
  • terminology;
  • prejudice