Marginalization of African Americans in Health Care, Housing, and Employment

 

The Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control claims that as of June 2017, about 700 women die during or due to childbirth each year in the United States (“Pregnancy-Related Deaths,” 2017). A discussion of the marginalization of African Americans is not complete without examining historical perspectives. Originally, people of color lived in the vast continent of Africa and other parts of the globe in a dignified manner. Moreover, these ancient societies had in place traditional systems of justice, education, healthcare, and religions. However, upon the arrival of Europeans to this continent, the traditional ways of Africans were deemed as primitive and uncivilized. Ideally, this mental perception programming served as the main precursor for marginalization. After convincing the natives that their cultures were inferior, the natives were forced to adopt foreign mannerisms. Although the colonizers succeeded in altering a well operating society, it came at a cost of lives and resources. The visitors who had better weaponry and divide and rule tactics successfully managed to colonize vast areas of the globe. In the event of a revolution, the outcome was often bloody. Furthermore, the European collaborators made matters worse for the natives. In Sun Tzu’s Art of war, the author describes the various dynamics and tactical approaches in rebellion. According to Tzu, the cost of war in terms of life and resources determines whether the fight is tenable. In the ancient African context, the European colonialists waged a war against an unaware opponent. Despite significant progress in social justice processes, marginalization of Africans in the United States persists in the healthcare, housing, and employment sectors.

Housing

Marginalization in the United States is usually associated with minority groupings, such as people of color, immigrants, LGBT, women, and those with disabilities. Alternatively, privileges in the society are linked with the white population and people of European origin. The common areas, which are rife with disparities in the country, include education, healthcare, housing, and employment. The problem of inequalities within the society emanated from historical events, such as slavery, colonialism, wars, and racial discrimination. These atrocities diminish human dignity and, consequently, their self-esteem and worth. Undignified people act in manner that perpetuates negative stereotypes in the society; for example, the high rate of crime in black neighborhoods is stereotypically linked with the violent and rebellious nature of this race. However, insecurity, education, poverty, and inaccessibility to basic amenities promote these vices. This crime link in the African American community is associated with housing problems in this society. While the real estate prices for predominantly black neighborhoods are lower than other locations, the demand is relatively low. Because of the low demand for housing projects within these zones, investors shy from development projects in such areas. Despite tenable progress achieved by the civil rights activism, there is a vast gap between whites and blacks. The reasons presented for segregation in housing between the racial divide stems from political leadership, market mobility, and biases, which may be intentional or unintentional. During President Obama’s tenure, it was expected that the livelihoods of minorities would improve. Nevertheless, in 2017, the gap between African Americans and their white counterparts is still wide. Many barriers that the blacks face are a result of racial injustice and inequality emanating from historical events. According to Journal by Riphagen in the year 2008 ”Marginalization of African-Americans in the Social Sphere of US Society” the gentrification projects in black neighborhoods was a bias towards the people of color, as it led to school inequality, environmental hazards, and inferior healthcare (Riphagen 100). The problem of residential segregation resonates with the development projects of the 1970’s. For young black millennial, a segregated community is cloaked by technology. Residential segregation was conceived as a public policy to address specific groupings. There are four major characteristics of residential segregation. The first contributor is zoning ordinances across the U.S cities. Secondly, there is poor transport network in black neighborhoods. Thirdly, African Americans and other minority homebuyers and renters receive different treatment from realtors and agents. Finally, black Americans continue to be denied home loans at affordable credit.

Healthcare Inequality

The most important aspect of healthcare is not necessarily the quantity but rather an increased access to quality healthcare. The equality of healthcare delivery in the country can be explained using the morbidity and mortality gaps between the blacks and the whites. As a developed country, the United States healthcare system is quite low and expensive in comparison with countries of similar economic standings; for instance, infant mortality level is high and, at times, worse than that of the developing nations. Moreover, the number of children who die before attaining the age of five for blacks is double than that for the whites. Some of the factors attributed for this scenario include maternal education and income. The disparity is so glaring that infant mortality is higher for the well-educated middle class African Americans than lowly educated whites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2), the disparities in life expectancy persists to adulthood (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2). In fact, African Americans have the shortest survival chances of all the minority races. Racial inequities and education gaps among races are the major contributors of the health outcomes. This exemplifies in the fact that college graduate white men live on average 14.2 and 10.3 years more than black men and women with less than a high school education (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2). Smith on the other hand asserts that, racial segregation in terms of housing means that health facilities are disproportionately distributed in the country (Smith 1699). Hospitals in black neighborhoods are underfunded with poor technology, trained staff, and clinicians. The most highly trained professionals serve predominately white populations. Because of wealth disparities between the two races, fewer blacks are referred for specialized treatments, preventive care, kidney and bone transplant, and fewer life-prolonging drugs for the treatment of chronic conditions, such as HIV and mental disorders are recommended. The health gap in the U.S. can be explained by five causes. The first cause is unintended racial discrimination or implicit bias in medical care. Secondly, social determinants, such as work, life, and play affect access to clean, safe and affordable food, water, and environments. Medical care solely accounts for only 10 % of health outcomes. On the contrary, social and environmental factors (20 %), genetics (30 %), and behavior (40 %) all have a greater influence on health than health care. Housing inequities between whites and blacks is the third factor that contributes to the health outcome of a population. The disparities in housing conditions shape the health behaviors of the inhabitants. The final health issue outcome identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report is crime and law enforcement (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1).

Employment

In recent times, career promotion is not as widely pegged on educational qualification. This can be exemplified from the fact that more women enrollment in colleges surpasses that of their male counterparts. However, Riphagen suggest that the situation is not replicated in the labor market (Riphagen 101). Moreover, women in similar position earn lesser salaries than the male colleagues with similar qualifications. The scenario of women resonates with that of blacks in the employment sector. Since universal education became available, more African Americans improved their skills in institutions of higher learning. However, majority remain in the proletariat class because of the social injustices. In “Who Really Cares? The Disenfranchisement of African American Males in Pre K-12 schools: A Critical Race Theory Perspective,” Howard explains that the minimum wage income earners cannot access quality healthcare, education, and housing (Howard 960). Therefore, the odds of a successful career are stuck against the blacks in comparison to both the male and female white population.

Conclusion

The marginalization of African American communities in the United States emanates from historical socio-economic factors that persist in the contemporary world. Racial discrimination, segregation, unlawful persecution and execution by police dominate the American system. The greatest sectors under threat for achieving equity are health, education, healthcare, and housing. These factors are important for improving the quality of life and sustaining human dignity. Without the respect for the sanctity of life and dignity of all humans, equality cannot be attained. There is a need to maintain strong agency leadership, integrate working groups, and fully implement executive order 12898 on environmental justice. Although some progress has been attained in the society, more needs to be done to close the persistent disparity gap between the blacks and the whites. It is with the above in view that the activism for equity must continue as presently witnessed in the NFL.