Here at Neighborhood FOWARD, we know that all the policies we advocate for are in furtherance of improving the lives of marginalized folks. From environmental justice to affordable housing, strong education and more, all these different facets in our lives work in conjunction. Things like living in a safe and affordable home, living in an area with clean water and air, and getting a good education all have impacts on overall health.
The Associated Press spent a year investigating Black Americans’ health outcomes over their lifetime; their findings, in addition to other new studies, are staggering and show just how greatly systemic racism hurts not only Black Americans but the country as a whole.
Some findings from the AP’s investigation include:
- Black mothers and babies have higher birth mortality rates than any other race or ethnicity, more than doubling the next closest group.
- Black babies are more likely than any other group to be born prematurely.
- Black children are more likely to develop and die from asthma compared to other groups, much of which can be linked to living in less healthy environments.
- From the years 1991 to 2019, Black children had an 80% increase in suicide attempts – the largest of any group.
- Three out of four Black Americans are likely to develop high blood pressure by age 55, whereas white Americans are around two out of four.
- Among COVID deaths, high blood pressure is listed as a contributing factor for 21.4% of Black mortalities, and only 15.5% for white deaths.
- Compared to other groups, a higher percentage of Black Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.
There is no doubt that health outcomes of Black Americans are disparate compared to the rest of the country. Just how much? The answers are hard to bear.
- Black communities in the U.S. saw an excess amount of 1.6 million deaths over the last two decades, when compared to white Americans.
- That adds up to 80 million years of potential life for the Black community that never came to fruition.
These statistics are tough to read, but we must – to understand and show others how systemic racism is not bad just for Black Americans, but it is a plague permeating our country. Imagine if folks had lived those 80 million years of life that they should have and imagine what they could’ve done with their lives.
They could’ve became doctors, researchers, artists, parents, teachers, and so much more; they deserved the opportunity to do these things. The entire country, not just the Black community, is worse off with racial disparities persisting at the current rate.
This is why we advocate for everything that we do – to improve the Black community and other marginalized folks’ experiences across all aspects of life. Everything affects our health; the racial health outcomes gap in the U.S. helps nobody and hurts everyone.