The Health of Black Folk: Disease, Class and Ideology of Science

Authors

  • Mary Basset
  • Nancy Krieger

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14452/MR-038-03-1986-07_8

Keywords:

Ecology, Inequality

Abstract

Since the first crude tabulations of vital statistics in colonial America, one stark fact has stood out: black Americans are sicker and die younger than whites. As the epidemic infectious diseases of the nineteenth century were vanquished, the black burden of ill health shifted to the modern killers: heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Today black men under age 45 are ten times more likely to die from the effects of high blood pressure than white men. Black women suffer twice as many heart attacks as white women. A variety of common cancers are more frequent among blacks—and of cancer victims, blacks succumb sooner after diagnosis than whites. Black infant mortality is twice that of whites. All told, if the mortality rates for blacks and other minorities today were the same in the United States as for whites, more than 60,000 deaths in minority communities could be avoided each year.

Published

1986-07-08

Issue

Section

Articles