Dying while black – blaming health issues on slavery and racism

This should be interesting. Organized by Professor Vernellia Randall from the University of Dayton School of Law, the program aims to defend the position that a colorblind policy approach will not solve health issues of black males and females in the United States.

I would not argue a discrepancy between the health of blacks and whites in America – and I certainly don’t have an answer – but Randall states individual behavior is not the real problem; social issues including racism is the real issue.

Her seminar suggests a 21st century anti-discrimination law to solve the issue, but no details are available in the e-mail promotion that was distributed to State of Connecticut employees (via the state’s e-mail system), and I could not find anything online in the short time I had available to research. Hat tip to reader CJ. The following is the full e-mail.

I’ve removed the direct link, but you can find it quite easily with an Internet search if you are interested in attending.

Black: Colorblind Policies and Eliminating the Slave Health Deficit

Professor Vernellia Randall announces a free webinar on April 25, 2009 at 2:00pm – 4:30pm Eastern Standard time. Registration available at: [link removed]

This seminar will trace indigenous black American health status to slavery. It will explain why a colorblind policy approach will be ineffective for eliminating the health deficit. The seminar will provide a comprehensive approach focused on improving social determinants of health. Finally, it will detail the components of a comprehensive 21st century anti-discrimination law.

At almost every income level, indigenous Black Americans are sicker than whites and dying at a significantly higher rate. Black men live on average 6 years less than white men. Black men have shorter live spans than men in Chile, Barbados, Bahamas or Jamaica. Black women live on average years 5 less than white women. Black women have shorter live spans than women in Barbados, Panama, Bosnia and the Bahamas. Infant mortality rates are 2 times higher for blacks. Some racist has commented that African Americans should be gratefully for being in the United States, yet, Black Americans have more low-birth weight infants than women in Rwanda, Ghana and Uganda.

Social Determinants of Health, not individual behavior, is primary factor in the health status inequality between Blacks and Whites. Social determinants include: wealth/income, education, physical environment, health care, housing employment, stress and racism/discrimination. In fact, for blacks racism is a primary factor even when you control for economic, blacks have poorer health. That is, middle class blacks have poorer health than whites; middle class blacks have poorer health than middle class whites. The stress of living in a racialized discriminatory society accounts for the racial health disparities.

Racial inequality in health persists in the United States because racial discrimination despite laws against racial discrimination, in significant part because of the inadequacy of ant-discrimination law. In short, civil rights law only prohibits intentional discrimination, and does not address reckless or negligent discrimination. Reckless discrimination occurs when an individual knows that there a high risk of discrimination and the individual proceeds with the behavior. Negligent discrimination occurs when the individual knew or should have known that there behavior would result in discrimination and failed to take appropriate action to prevent or minimize discrimination. Most discrimination of the 21 st century is reckless or negligent discrimination rather than intentional. Eliminating racial discrimination is essential to closing the health gap in America.

Along with teaching at the University of Dayton, Professor Randall wrote the “America’s Whitest Law School” reports in 2004 and 2005.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Dimsdale on April 23, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Oh this is rich!  To wit: "the stress of living in a racialized, discriminatory society accounts for the racial health disparities."  Yet birth weights in black women in the U.S. are lower than those in Rwanda?!?!?  Where they not too long ago had a genocidal war that killed millions and subsistence farming is the order of the day?  Yeah, no stress there.

    The premise of Randall's webinar looks shallow enough to have been ripped from Michelle Obama's senior year thesis.

  2. Wyndeward on April 23, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Her high-school thesis, at that…

  3. SoundOffSister on April 23, 2009 at 11:28 am

    The "thud" you just heard was my jaw dropping onto my keyboard as I read "Professor" Randall's theory.  Her pronouncements will come as a surprise to my black neighbors.  (Yes, like many Americans, I live in a mulitracial community.)  But, more to the point, racism in this country will never end as long as people like the "Good Professor" keep writing that kind of crap.

  4. Dimsdale on April 23, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    I could have sworn that was thunder, SOS!!  😉

  5. decade8 on April 24, 2009 at 1:46 am

    The stunner here is that this email is distributed to State employees! I bet this creates racial harmony in the workplace.

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