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October 19, 1994

Ethnicity and Estimates of Pain by Physicians

JAMA. 1994;272(15):1169. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520150034026

To the Editor.  —The recent article by Dr Todd and colleagues1 again raises an antiquated and unscientific concept, namely, race. Although the title suggests a study on ethnic differences, race is also studied and specifically mentioned in the text as well as tables. What is particularly odd is the apparent distinction made between the Hispanic group and the non-Hispanic white group. The authors clearly categorize Hispanics as a separate racial group.The cultural, ethnic, and geographic makeup of Los Angeles Hispanics is so diverse that collectively referring to this group as a race has no meaning. Moreover, classifying any group of peoples as a race is an outmoded scientific idea. Under the rules of taxonomy, formal subdivisions of the species Homo sapiens are called subspecies. Human races being such a formal subdivision are therefore subspecies. The division of species into subspecies increasingly has been abandoned in recent years. In