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Keep Kicking the Can

Despite major advancements for Blacks in the United States, it seems we are still synonymous with far too many negative health outcomes, COVID-19 has not been an exception to this trend. I want to be hopeful, I really do, but part of me feels like this country will always have health disparities that exist by race, specifically. Am I wrong for feeling this way? Maybe not. This country has been setting lofty goals and recommendations for eliminating health disparities for decades. The great Black scholar W.E.B. Du Bois was talking about this problem in 1899, and he even presented solutions. We have had this problem of racial inequities in health status and health outcomes for as long as “America” has existed. Sure, we can continue to talk-a-good-talk about the costs of health disparities, the social injustice of health disparities, or even solutions to addressing the problem…but, what happens after that?! Do we just keep reporting alarming statistics or recycling the same strategies to eliminate the problem? I have to be perfectly honest in my feelings about this problem. It’s frustrating, shameful and disheartening that Blacks are disproportionately burdened by this problem. The CDC reminds us that health disparities translate to “earlier deaths, decreased quality of life, loss of economic opportunities, and perceptions of injustice.” Why has progress been so remarkably slow for eliminating racial health disparities? I wonder...would we still have this problem if health disparities disproportionately burdened Whites? I know the answer to my own question, and the associated factors, but I still ask the question.


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