How Racism Impacts People, Families and Communities of Color

By Rosa Riley

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The statistics are troubling. People of color are far more likely to suffer from inequity. Inequity that can be traced directly to racism, a side effect and the enduring legacy, of slavery. The legacy of slavery has insinuated itself into the very fabric of our society via the criminal justice system, housing, and education.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent for The Atlantic wrote an article titled: The Case for Reparations, that addressed all of the ways in which the ideals of slavery and racism have endured in the United States through policy created by the U.S. government and the prime opportunity that now exists for our country to make amends.

The most important thing that the article did was to explain how we got where we are today. How we moved into segregated neighborhoods, why children of color now go to schools with fewer resources and how our communities were built on inequity.

As planners and public health workers, health equity is often a lens through which we aim to address the barriers and health outcomes that typically only affect people and communities of color. These barriers impact every part of their daily lives and are reinforced by the choices made by local policy makers and practitioners in many sectors.

The article and infographic written by Living Cities, provides a snapshot in the daily life of a family named The Reddings. Of particular interest are the parts of their day that are impacted by health, transportation, housing, and environmental challenges that exist at the structural, institutional or individual/implicit bias levels of racism. The areas addressed by the infographic are:

Health
46% of maternal deaths of African-American women are preventable
33% of maternal deaths of White women are preventable
Transportation
Black workers have the longest average commute time: 50.8 minutes, which causes high transportation and child care costs

Housing
43.05% is the home ownership rate of Black families
71.65% is the home ownership rate of White families

Environmental
In New York City, communities of color bear exposure to:
30% of the exposure of city waste
70% of sewage sludge

To read more about The Reddings and the impact of racism on their daily lives, the article and infographic can be found on Medium: A Day in a Life: How Racism Impacts Families of Color. For more information about Living Cities, check out their website: https://www.livingcities.org/.

For more information about how to address and close racial opportunity gaps, check out Living Cities’ Racial Equity and Inclusion page.

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