By Miranda Dove

The American healthcare system is already looked down upon by other countries for its inaccessibility and extremely high ticket prices. Now imagine the same erratic system with the evergoing American theme of racism and misogyny. The black woman is the single most disrespected being in the world–that is amplified in the American healthcare system. I remember as a child hearing female luminaries of color who had just given birth say it was a difficult time and they were scared for their lives. It was not until one of the greatest athletes of all time Serena Williams gave birth to her first child and wrote in a first person essay in Elle Magazine about how she almost died while giving birth. This really put into perspective for me just how serious this issue is because if millionaires, billionaires, or just people with great influence and money who can “afford the best of everything” especially Williams who has earned and worked for her name and money are still and just as insecure and unsafe as “regular” people, then there is a bigger issue at hand. The fact is “Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women.” Which is astonishing considering black women are also more likely to experience preventable maternal death compared to their white counterparts.

National Partnership for Women and Families explains it best on why this is happening “Median wages for Black women in the United States are $36,227 per year, which is $21,698 less than the median wages for white, non-Hispanic men. These lost wages mean Black women and their families have less money to support themselves and their families, and may have to choose between essential resources like housing, child care, food and health care.”. Furthering that because of these trade offs it is apparent in black women’s health outcomes and use of medical care. “Compared to white women, black women are more likely to be uninsured, face greater financial barriers to care when they need it and are less likely to access prenatal care”. But this does not just happen with maternal health but throughout all of the healthcare system. In 2005, the Institute of Medicine—a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that has been renamed as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)  found that “racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white people—even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable.” They also found “that minority persons are less likely than white persons to be given appropriate cardiac care, to receive kidney dialysis or transplants, and to receive the best treatments for stroke, cancer, or AIDS.” Again proving that it is not the diseases or procedures killing black people it is the system and the people who are running and supporting the system who are killing them. 

I bring all of this to the table to say black people but explicitly black women are dying for no reason other than the fact that they are black. Black women should feel safe and supported when stepping into a hospital or any healthcare facility just as much as their white counterparts do.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: