Racism's Health Risks Flow From Parent to Child

Writing at the Huffington Post, Jason Silverstein follows up on a piece explaining the harmful physical effects of racial discrimination. 

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Writing at the Huffington Post, Jason Silverstein follows up on a piece explaining the harmful physical effects of racial discrimination.

Recently, I wrote a piece for The Atlantic on how racism is bad for the body. For the bulk of the essay, I discuss how racism harms a single person's health directly -- and I link public health research with the NYPD's stop and frisk policy. But at the end of the piece, I write:

... no person discriminated against is an island. When conditions of social injustice affect this many people, and prompt poor health outcomes, risk passes down generations. And this damage isn't going away any time soon. Even in the absence of discrimination, Nancy Krieger argues that populations "would continue to exhibit persistent disparities reflecting prior inequities."

... But what's especially striking is how the impact of discrimination flows from the parent to the child. In the Howard model, with the exception of racist bullying, both the microsystem and macrosystem exposures focus on parental experience. On the micro level, parents may suffer from harassment. On the macro level, they may also suffer from discrimination in housing, employment, and health care. These sources are not always neatly split. Personal and institutional discrimination can be two dimensions of the same event -- consider a leasing agent who discriminates against an apartment applicant. No matter the source, the health outcome may be the same.

Read Jason Silverstein's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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