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Societal Racism Is Damaging To Individual Wellbeing

Police brutality is a public health crisis Vox, June 1 2020, Brian Resnick

Why Black Lives Should Matter For Everyone

“America’s crises are boiling over, one into another. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, masses of people are taking to the streets to protest police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and other victims of racial violence.

These two stories are linked. They are both public health stories. The link is systemic racism.

“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.

“One in every 1,000 black men and boys can expect to be killed by police in this country,” she says. “To me, this clearly illustrates why police brutality is a public health problem; anything that causes mortality at such a scale is a public health problem.” ”
Read the full article here

Through the WI Lens

It’s not customary to characterise racism as a health problem, but when police brutality is proven to have caused so many premature deaths in a country like the USA, viewing it through the lens of public health offers a fresh perspective on America’s oldest problem. This article draws a link between the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on black and ethnic communities (the same has also been found in the BAME communities of the UK) and the violent policing that takes such a high toll of black lives and led to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The thread that connects the two, it argues, is ‘structural racism’ – an in-built disadvantage and excessive burden that permeates throughout society. That racism has implications for public health because it creates mistrust in public institutions and results in people not seeking help when they need it, or failing to follow official advice, which has contributed to the disproportionate toll of Covid-19 victims.

But in a broader picture, racism affects the mental health and happiness of everyone. A society where people are not treated equally breeds mistrust and creates tensions between different groups. And it damages our own sense of wellbeing. As the American theologian E. Stanley Jones put it: “We think we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves.”

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Societal Racism Is Damaging To Individual Wellbeing

June 3, 2020

“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.

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