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Vicious Cycle: Systemic Racism

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Karen Gaffney

on 9 July 2015

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Transcript of Vicious Cycle: Systemic Racism

The Social Construction of Race, Systemic Racism,
and Health Disparities


Rutgers Summer School of Addiction Studies
July 2015

Dr. Karen Gaffney
English Department
Raritan Valley Community College

Racism persists due to...

False Belief #2:

Racism is Individual

Media
Education
Housing and Wealth
Health
Social Construction of Race
Why?

False Belief #1:

Race is Biological

We hear things like:
What do these false beliefs look like?
Race is...
We hear things like:
Why are these false beliefs a problem?
Most scholars from all disciplines who study race now recognize that there is no biological basis to race
Race is a social construct invented to make people think that races are biologically distinct and hierarchical
# 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Systemic, institutional, structural racism is ignored
Recognize
Race as a social construct
(not as biological)

Recognize
Racism as real and systemic
(not as individual)

Healthcare as one of several systems that perpetuates racism
My suggestions for where we might begin
Before...
Colonial VA (early to mid 1600s)
"Race" didn't really exist as a way of categorizing people
Instead, people were identified by country of origin, religion, and class status (not as "white" or "black")
line between "servant" and "slave" not clearly defined
European and African laborers often worked together, lived together, married each other, had children together, and ran away together
After...
Colonial VA (late 1600s)
Most laborers were European, and by the late 1600s, this population increasingly began to outlive their period of servitude and become free, a potential threat to wealthy land owners
1676: Bacon's Rebellion (African and European laborers united against wealthy landowners, an alliance that scared wealthy landowners, who determined that indentured servitude was not a long-term solution to their labor needs)
Plantation owners shifted from European servitude to African slavery
Africans became slaves (permanent, inheritable)
Europeans became free
black = slavery, white = freedom
Racial Hierarchy
White
Black
Human
Innocent
Animal
Guilty
Criminal
Intelligent
Citizen
Dumb
Inferior
Superior
innate
natural
inherent
Racism is caused by
a few malicious individuals

Recognize
Vicious Cycle of Systemic Racism
Government
and
Elections
Laws
Criminal
Justice
System
Racial Hierarchy
White
Black
Human
Animal
Declaration of Independence
Freedom
Equality
Constitutional Convention of 1787: slaves were counted as 3/5 "of all other persons"
Naturalization Act of 1790: citizenship for"free white" people
Laws determine who is white and who can run for office, own land, vote, and marry.
Who is electing the lawmakers, and what does it take to become elected?
Even after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed, voting rights are in jeopardy.
Whose interests are the lawmakers protecting? (Citizens United)
Who has power?
Racial Hierarchy
White
Black
Human
Animal
Declaration of Independence
Freedom
Equality
http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/02/08/383279630/100-years-later-whats-the-legacy-of-birth-of-a-nation
http://cmhc.utexas.edu/modelminority.html
http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/08-0608-AAPI.pdf
Who is perceived, represented, and treated as a "thug" and who isn't?
the "model minority" stereotype
"positive" stereotypes can be very damaging
http://colorofchange.org/
http://www.colorlines.com/droptheiword
Consider how this gap perpetuates systemic racism through limited opportunities for people of color on and off the screen. Whose stories are told?
http://www.nhmc.org/reports/impact-media-stereotypes-opinions-attitudes-towards-latinos/
Dylan Roof (white man) arrested for mass murder and terrorism treated humanely with bullet proof vest
Eric Garner (black man) arrested for selling cigarettes choked to death
Dajerria Becton (black teen girl) forced to ground by police for being at a pool party
http://documentedthefilm.com/
Racial Hierarchy
White
Black
Human
Animal
Declaration of Independence
Freedom
Equality
Who is allowed to access education?
Segregation
http://ielp.rutgers.edu/docs/IELP%20final%20report%20on%20apartheid%20schools%20101013.pdf
What are students being taught about race?
http://www.preciousknowledgefilm.com/
Ethnic Studies classes were banned in AZ
https://www.aclu.org/issues/racial-justice/race-and-inequality-education/school-prison-pipeline
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/12/racial-wealth-gaps-great-recession/
http://www.aapf.org/healthdisparities
http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
Racial Hierarchy
White
Black
Human
Animal
Declaration of Independence
Freedom
Equality
"The Case for Reparations" by Ta-Nehisi Coates
For every dollar a white male earned:
Latinas earned 53 cents
African American women earned 64 cents
White women earned 78 cents
http://www.aauw.org/2014/04/03/race-and-the-gender-wage-gap/
Racial Hierarchy
White
Black
Human
Animal
Declaration of Independence
Freedom
Equality
Environmental Racism
http://www.forestethics.org/sites/forestethics.huang.radicaldesigns.org/files/Crude-Injustice-on-the-Rails.pdf
"Crude Injustice on the Rails: Race and the Disparate Risk from Oil Trains in California"
"race is the determining factor in the levels of pollution that the country's communities are exposed to. Researchers came to the conclusion that people of color breathe 46-percent more nitrogen dioxide (NO2) -- a toxic compound resulting from the burning of coal and oil -- than do non-Hispanic whites."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/javier-sierra/racisms-in-the-air-race-i_b_5267447.html
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0094431#pone-0094431-t001
http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/npa/files/Plans/HHS/HHS_Plan_complete.pdf
"A growing literature shows discrimination raises the risk of many emotional and physical problems. Discrimination has been shown to increase the risk of stress, depression, the common cold, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and mortality."
"A new study by Kathryn Freeman Anderson in Sociological Inquiry adds evidence to the hypothesis that racism harms health. . . .First, because of the prevalence of racial discrimination, being a racial minority leads to greater stress."
"Second, this stress leads to poorer mental and physical health. But this is not only because stress breaks the body down. It is also because stress pushes people to cope in unhealthy ways. When we feel stressed, we may want a drink and, if we want a drink, we may also want a cigarette. But discrimination is not just any form of stress. It is a type of stress that disproportionately affects minorities."
"Here we see how racism works in a cycle to damage health. People at a social disadvantage are more likely to experience stress from racism. And they are less likely to have the resources to extinguish this stress, because they are at a social disadvantage."
"Just the fear of racism alone should switch on the body's stress-response systems. This makes sense -- if we think our environment contains threats, then we will be on guard."
"How Racism Is Bad for Our Bodies"
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/03/how-racism-is-bad-for-our-bodies/273911/
Thank you
What questions do you have for me?
Any comments?
Reminder: This Prezi is available on my blog at
DividedNoLonger.com
. Please check it out and contact me with any feedback you have. Please also see the Recommended Resources section.
Karen.Gaffney@raritanval.edu

Discussion
What are some ways that your patients/clients have been affected by systemic racism in various aspects of their lives?

What kinds of systemic racial health disparities have you noticed?

What are specific things you think could be done to reduce racial health disparities?
#6
# 7, 8
Declaration of Independence
Freedom
Equality
#9, 10
http://www.newsreel.org/guides/race/10things.htm
http://www.newsreel.org/guides/race/10things.htm
http://www.newsreel.org/guides/race/10things.htm
Who creates the laws that become part of the criminal justice system?
Who is considered a criminal, and who needs to be protected?
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/aclu-thewaronmarijuana-rel2.pdf
http://www.sentencingproject.org/template/page.cfm?id=122
Responsible
Irresponsible
Innocent
Intelligent
Citizen
Superior
Responsible
Innocent
Intelligent
Citizen
Superior
Responsible
Innocent
Intelligent
Citizen
Superior
Responsible
Innocent
Intelligent
Citizen
Superior
Responsible
Innocent
Intelligent
Citizen
Superior
Responsible
Guilty
Criminal
Dumb
Inferior
Irresponsible
Guilty
Criminal
Dumb
Inferior
Irresponsible
Guilty
Criminal
Dumb
Inferior
Irresponsible
Guilty
Criminal
Dumb
Inferior
Irresponsible
Guilty
Criminal
Dumb
Inferior
Irresponsible
Who is "white"? It changes over time.
Every 10 years, the Census categorizes people by race, and these categories shift over time (another example of the social construction of race).
Depending on the historical moment, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos have occupied various positions on this racial hierarchy, depending on who is seen as a threat.
For example, in the late 1800s, Asian Americans were seen as a threat, and called the "Yellow Peril," but then in the late 1960s, they became the "model minority" and were depicted as the "good minority" in contrast with blacks and Latinos. This new "model minority" stereotype allowed the status quo to be preserved because the message of the stereotype was that racism couldn't exist anymore if Asian Americans were successful, and no further civil rights changes needed to be made. This is a classic "divide and conquer" strategy.

Who is "white"? It changes over time.
Every 10 years, the Census categorizes people by race, and these categories shift over time (another example of the social construction of race).
Depending on the historical moment, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos have occupied various positions on this racial hierarchy, depending on who is seen as a threat.
For example, in the late 1800s, Asian Americans were seen as a threat, and called the "Yellow Peril," but then in the late 1960s, they became the "model minority" and were depicted as the "good minority" in contrast with blacks and Latinos. This new "model minority" stereotype allowed the status quo to be preserved because the message of the stereotype was that racism couldn't exist anymore if Asian Americans were successful, and no further civil rights changes needed to be made. This is a classic "divide and conquer" strategy.

Who is "white"? It changes over time.
Every 10 years, the Census categorizes people by race, and these categories shift over time (another example of the social construction of race).
Depending on the historical moment, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos have occupied various positions on this racial hierarchy, depending on who is seen as a threat.
For example, in the late 1800s, Asian Americans were seen as a threat, and called the "Yellow Peril," but then in the late 1960s, they became the "model minority" and were depicted as the "good minority" in contrast with blacks and Latinos. This new "model minority" stereotype allowed the status quo to be preserved because the message of the stereotype was that racism couldn't exist anymore if Asian Americans were successful, and no further civil rights changes needed to be made. This is a classic "divide and conquer" strategy.

Who is "white"? It changes over time.
Every 10 years, the Census categorizes people by race, and these categories shift over time (another example of the social construction of race).
Depending on the historical moment, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos have occupied various positions on this racial hierarchy, depending on who is seen as a threat.
For example, in the late 1800s, Asian Americans were seen as a threat, and called the "Yellow Peril," but then in the late 1960s, they became the "model minority" and were depicted as the "good minority" in contrast with blacks and Latinos. This new "model minority" stereotype allowed the status quo to be preserved because the message of the stereotype was that racism couldn't exist anymore if Asian Americans were successful, and no further civil rights changes needed to be made. This is a classic "divide and conquer" strategy.

Who is "white"? It changes over time.
Every 10 years, the Census categorizes people by race, and these categories shift over time (another example of the social construction of race).
Depending on the historical moment, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos have occupied various positions on this racial hierarchy, depending on who is seen as a threat.
For example, in the late 1800s, Asian Americans were seen as a threat, and called the "Yellow Peril," but then in the late 1960s, they became the "model minority" and were depicted as the "good minority" in contrast with blacks and Latinos. This new "model minority" stereotype allowed the status quo to be preserved because the message of the stereotype was that racism couldn't exist anymore if Asian Americans were successful, and no further civil rights changes needed to be made. This is a classic "divide and conquer" strategy.

Who is "white"? It changes over time.
Every 10 years, the Census categorizes people by race, and these categories shift over time (another example of the social construction of race).
Depending on the historical moment, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos have occupied various positions on this racial hierarchy, depending on who is seen as a threat.
For example, in the late 1800s, Asian Americans were seen as a threat, and called the "Yellow Peril," but then in the late 1960s, they became the "model minority" and were depicted as the "good minority" in contrast with blacks and Latinos. This new "model minority" stereotype allowed the status quo to be preserved because the message of the stereotype was that racism couldn't exist anymore if Asian Americans were successful, and no further civil rights changes needed to be made. This is a classic "divide and conquer" strategy.

"inadequate access to a primary care physician"
"poorer quality of care" especially due to language barriers
higher rates of "preventable hospitalizations"
"significant differences in the racial and ethnic composition of the healthcare workforce compared to the U.S. population"
Full transcript