Friday, June 18, 2010

Yes, another headline

Once again I want to focus on the title of an article I'm sharing with you today. It's by Tim Wise whose work I have come across before and appreciated. Take a look:

We Have a Black President, But That Doesn't Resolve the Deep Racism Built into the American Psyche

Here's some stuff I didn't know:

* Black women with college degrees have higher rates of infant mortality for their newborns than white women who dropped out after eighth grade; and children born to black women with college degrees have three times higher infant mortality rates for their children than similar white women.
* Black women who received early and consistent prenatal care while pregnant have infant mortality rates for their children that are nearly double the rates for white women who received no prenatal care at all.
* Black women and Latinas who come to the nation poor or lower-income actually see their health status decline over time, even as their income status typically improves. And foreign born black women (including those from the African continent) come to the U.S. with health outcomes comparable to those of white women. But after a generation, their daughters' health status has declined to that of other African Americans.

So what is it about being black or brown in the United States that affects health, independent of economics or health care access? The research says, as mentioned above, that unequal treatment at the hands of physicians is part of the problem; but even more so, we have to look at the cumulative impact of racism on black and brown bodies over time. What the research increasingly finds is that racialized stresses, like dealing with discrimination, causes a "weathering" effect on people of color, which has repercussions for blood pressure and affects the proper functioning of the cardiovascular, metabolic and immune systems. Over 100,000 people of color die each year because of excess mortality rates relative to the rates for whites, and it appears as though a substantial amount of that excess mortality can be laid at the feet of black and brown folks' experiences with racism. Universal, colorblind policy cannot possibly hope to remedy problems such as these.

There's more. And it really is a matter, I think, of considerable concern. Recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment

New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.