Racism is a Health Issue

Jun 9, 2020 | Articles, Misc articles

Racism is a Health Issue | Go Messy or Go Hungry

The content in this post was originally sent to my newsletter subscribers; however I felt this topic was important enough to get its own blog post. Usually newsletters are only sent to subscribers so if you enjoyed this, please sign up!

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Well hello there. First of all: how are you? 2020 has really taken us for a ride so far, hasn’t it? I hope you’re hanging in there.

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When I started this newsletter, I promised to help y’all make sense of the “health & wellness” world. Which, as I’ve been reminded of this past week, absolutely includes discussing racism and representation.

As Chrissy King says so well in her article Everyday Racism in the Fitness World and Beyond, “I don’t personally believe we can talk about fitness or empowerment without discussing race, politics, access, inclusivity, representation, and even more, who gets a seat at the table — who gets to be fit, who gets to be represented in fitness, and who gets the opportunities. These issues are all inextricably intertwined.” (link)

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Black people are less likely to have access to health care and more likely to have serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease (link). Numerous studies have found that because of the implicit bias against black people, they “receive lower-quality health care than white people—even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable.” (link). And of course, black people, especially black men, are more likely to be incarcerated and die at the hands of the police, which the American Academy of Pediatrics has named a public health issue (link). Racism is. absolutely. a health issue.

I’ve always passionately believed that EVERYONE deserves to be healthy. EVERYONE — including people of color — has the right to feel their best. (My senior year thesis was actually about the relationship between mental health and access to food, which disproportionately affects communities of color.) GMGH exists in the “health and wellness” space, which is full of skinny white women and terrible at representing black bodies. However, because I have the privilege and luxury of not having to confront racism on a daily basis, I’ve mostly been ignoring it. 

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As I’ve learned, reflected, and read the words of so many black people over the past week calling for lasting action, I’ve been considering what I can do long term to help. I refuse to let this just be a thing that white people turn into a trend for a few weeks and then let it die out. The past week has been UNCOMFORTABLE to say the least, and I am ready to continue to get uncomfortable. I am committing to continue to post about racism in the health and wellness space, raise up BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) voices, and of course learn as much as I can.

In the meantime, here’s a collection of some of the awesome people and pieces I’ve been and will continue to learn from.

Stay messy, y’all (for the record, I 100% consider this work “messy” 😜)

📚 I’m reading

Everyday Racism in the Fitness World and Beyond by Chrissy King. Link Let’s Talk About Black Female Representation in Fitness by Sonja R. Price Herbert. Link Implicit Bias and Racial Disparities in Health Care by Khiara M. Bridges. Link Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell. Link

🤓 Learnings from the ‘gram

Anti-racism for wellness professionals: how to show up better. Course by @iamchrissyking Link

Racism is a root cause of disease. @avivaromm Link

The maternal mortality rate for black women is 4 times that of white woman regardless of socioeconomic factors. @avivaromm Link

White privilege in motherhood. @urbancusp Link

Racism is the missing element that explains the origins of fatphobia. @steph_gaudreau Link

On saying “all lives matter”. To quote: Yes, absolutely they do. All lives matter. However, that’s not what we’re talking about RIGHT NOW. Right now we’re talking about the lives of people of color in America, specifically black people in America. @drjohnberardi Link

So you want to talk about implicit bias. Link

🤩 People to follow and support

Chrissy King @iamchrissyking (I’m also taking her course mentioned above)

Rachel Elizabeth Cargle @rachel.cargle@thegreatunlearn

Layla F. Saad @laylafsaad

Alishia McCullough @blackandembodied

Dr. Carrie Kholi-Murchison @dr.kholi

Ilya @decolonizing_fitness

Stay messy, y’all 💙

If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for my monthly newsletter! I share resources and my analysis of what’s going on in the health and wellness world. I’d love to have you there!

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