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What does racism have to do with death?

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by

Alexis Shotwell

on 7 October 2011

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Transcript of What does racism have to do with death?

"Racism, specifically, is the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death" (Gilmore 2007, 28) Racism is the state-sanctioned or
extra-
legal production and exploitation of group-
differentiated vulnerability to premature death What are our commonsense ideas of what racism is? prejudice
prejudice + power
dislike ==> hatred
institutional racism
structural racism
discrimination
biological determinism
personal/individual ignorance "state" = a political organization, to which people give (voluntarily or by force) the power to govern, usually through policy, with the backing of law, force, and custom. "sanction" = the legal rewards or penalties for obeying/disobeying or supporting/
opposing state policy and practice. things that fall outside the law - e.g.: custom
habit
emotion/affect
vast swathes of activity which only sometimes intersect with the law things that are against the law & Davis: Slavery => Convict Lease System legal emancipation and the abolition of slavery under the 13th amendment -- except as punishment for crime The movement from slavery to imprisonment was effected in part through the "Black Codes," which, when enforced, radically altered the racial make-up of Southern prisons This is the *production* of a racialized group Enforcement of these codes also involved the formulation of new ways of expressing how race was made, such as the "one-drop rule" The case of Albert Kligman's experiments on the prisoners at Holmesburg Prison, which generated profits for companies like Dow Chemicals and Johnson & Johnson (and the "invention" of Retin-A, various poison ivy remedies, etc) Medical experimentation in prisons and the development of pharmaceuticals Not every individual member of a group will have the experience in question (which means that saying "but look, Jane hasn't experienced that" doesn't negate Jane's membership in that group, or the fact that people in that group have that experience demonstrably more than people outside the group) But being part of that group will make you more likely to have that experience "Social determinants of health" model:
social and economic conditions
collective, not individual
not about lifestyle choices Infant mortality:
50% higher in African-American than white babies
Strongly correlated to other racialized indices (living near pollution, in poverty, low birthweight, etc) Youth mortality is similarly differentiated along racialized lines
(homicide, suicide, and accident) mid-life death from cancers is likewise differentiated As is death related to diabetes In general: (as presented by Donald Berwick, administrator of Medicade and Medicare)
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