Additional note – 11/1/17 – it was brought to my attention that at least one person thought I was trying to redefine “racism” by bringing up economic differences and there was a suggestion to check the dictionary instead. that person may not have checked the dictionary however because the definition at dictionary.com includes national policy that discriminates against some racial groups at the benefit of other groups as part of the definition of racism. Hatred for a racial group and stereotyping expectations about all members of a group based on a certain expected ‘profile’ or stereotype of one type of person with the belief that it makes one group inferior and the other superior with a right to dominant over the alleged inferior group is also included in the definition. See “racism:” http://www.dictionary.com/browse/racism
Wealth inequality with differences between racial groups is real and has gotten worse over the last few years or decades. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/12/racial-wealth-gaps-great-recession/
While personal interviews suggest that people from African American or Hispanic groups feel they do have more opportunities to improve their economic future than their parents had, the actual economic differences on average between ethnic groups in the U.S. are very wide. People of white ethnic groups who were interviewed reported feeling they had less opportunity to improve their economic future than their parents. Looking at the numbers might make it clear where the true difference lies – how well off the different sets of parents were at is significant. A young adult of white ethnic groups would have as an average goal to achieve greater than $134,320 Median Household Wealth (I never achieved that myself, so it is a very large average to try to meet let alone surpass for the average young adult just starting their career). A young adult of African American background would be trying to achieve greater than $11,030 Median Household Wealth and a young adult of Hispanic background would be trying to achieve greater than $13,730. Median Household Wealth represents not the household salary but the balance of income and savings to total debt load. http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/24/news/economy/blacks-whites-inequality/index.html
For comparison purposes the U.S. poverty guidelines for 2017 are:
- $12,060 for individuals
- $16,240 for a family of 2
- $20,420 for a family of 3
- $24,600 for a family of 4
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Chronic illness tends to be more of a risk for people living in low income areas which tend to be located near industry or agricultural areas. And our food supply also tends to harm those with less money as processed inexpensive food may be more available in low income and some urban areas than healthier fresh fruits and vegetables.
Read more about processed food and health risks: https://foodtank.com/news/2017/10/ipes-health-costs-industrial-food/
Chronic illness and poverty in Canadian population shows that even with a nationalized health care system the lower the socio-economic bracket a person is in, on average, the lower their expected lifespan may be and they are more likely to develop chronic diseases. One province with lower obesity and smoking rates did have lower chronic illness and reduced mortality rates compared to other areas even with the difference in socio-economic brackets: https://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2009/oct/pdf/08_0254.pdf
The trend is seen in Australia also: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1743-8462-1-8
Poverty itself can make life more complex and stressful due to too many bills and not enough money to pay any of them or due to challenges of transportation when public transport is the only option. Simply having more on one’s mind can make decisions and thinking more difficult for anyone based on research findings. Excess number of things to remember can slow down the thought processes for other tasks. Behavioral Economics
Adequate health care is important but so is an adequate wholesome food supply and clean air and water. Racism is found in how we zone housing areas and distribute and charge for food and water and it affects health and lifespan – inequality is racist.
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposesWhat is racist is unfair housing and food policies by Jenny