What Premature Birth Teaches Us

In an effort to learn more about structural racism in American, I asked Sharlene Voogd Cochrane, Professor Emeritus, Lesley University, to be a guest blogger today. 

Black women are almost three times more likely than white women to give birth before thirty-two weeks. Sarah DiGregorio, author of Early: An Intimate History of Premature Birth and What It Teaches Us About Being Human. 

DiGregorio goes on to explain that this statistic is true no matter the income level, health care, or education of the black woman. The research further suggests this troubling outcome is the result of the “stress for black women of living in America.”  Black mothers face extreme stress because of structural racism. They face a level of worry, conflict, and pressure that brings about negative health results. It’s an amazing and disturbing statistic!

We are hearing the term “structural racism,” in response to the murder of George Floyd.  For white people, the term invites us to look more closely at the racism embedded in our institutions including the often unacknowledged racist practices and assumptions within our economic and cultural institutions. Women birthing prematurely because of stress related to structural racism and other factors is a dire consequence. 

 Affirmation:  I will learn more about structural racism in America.

Coaching question: How can I identify and change structural racism in the places I work, live, attend church, and shop?

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Photo by Andre Adjahoe on Unsplash

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