Black lives don't matter, even at birth
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The new catchphrase on the DT reelection website reads “Babies Lives Matter!” I doubt if he actually believes it, but the most recent research shows that the slogan should be modified to read “….but black babies lives don’t.”
Black women have the highest prevalence of low birthweight babies compared to other racial and ethnic groups, but black immigrants typically have much better outcomes than their U.S.-born counterparts. Yet, little has been known about whether this “healthy immigrant” effect persists across generations.
According to a new study the substantial “birthweight advantage” experienced by the foreign-born black population is lost within a single generation. In contrast, a modest advantage among foreign-born Hispanics persists across generations.
The authors suspect discrimination and inequality in the U.S. may be a contributing factor to this decline. Experiences of interpersonal discrimination, both before and during pregnancy, are likely to trigger physiological stress responses that negatively affect birth outcomes, they said.
The study, published in Epidemiology, has important public health implications given that low birthweight is a significant predictor of a broad range of health and socioeconomic outcomes throughout one’s life. The findings also underscore the potential role of discrimination in producing racial and intergenerational disparities in birth outcomes.
The authors analyzed administrative records from 1971 to 2015 in Florida, which receives a large number of black immigrants from the Caribbean. They linked several hundred thousand birth records of daughters to those of their mothers. This allowed them to compare birthweights of daughters born to foreign-born and U.S.-born mothers with the birthweights of their granddaughters. The study provides estimates of these intergenerational changes in birthweight for white, Hispanic, and black women.
What the researchers found: The results point to what the researchers call a large foreign-born advantage among blacks: 7.8% of daughters born to foreign-born black women are low birthweight (under 2,500 grams or 5.5 pounds) compared to 11.8% among U.S.-born black women. But whereas foreign-born Hispanic women maintain a birthweight advantage in the next generation, black women see this advantage essentially eliminated with the birth of their granddaughters. These granddaughters are more than 50% more likely than their mothers to be low birthweight. In contrast, the increase in low birthweight prevalence between daughters and granddaughters of U.S.-born black women is only about 10%, which is more in line with national increases in low birthweight over the same time period.
The researchers were surprised by the rapidity with which the foreign-born advantage among black women was lost. After only one generation spent in the U.S., the prevalence of low birthweight is almost as high among the granddaughters of foreign-born black women as among the granddaughters of U.S.-born black women (12.2% vs. 13.1%) and is considerably higher for both groups of black infants than for white and Hispanic babies.
The authors identified an equally striking finding regarding differences in low birthweight by level of schooling. Contrary to the pattern found among all other racial and ethnic groups, foreign-born black women are about as likely to have a low birthweight daughter if they have low or high levels of schooling. However, in the next generation, the prevalence of low birthweight declines as maternal education increases. This likely reflects a difference in the context in which mothers received their education.
What the researchers say: “In the U.S., mothers with less than high school education are disadvantaged in multiple ways,” said the lead author, “but women who obtained this same level of schooling before immigrating to the U.S. were likely relatively advantaged in their origin countries.”
The authors concluded that the high frequency of low birthweight babies among blacks, and the increase from daughters to granddaughters among black immigrants, were likely both due to exposure to discrimination and inequality.
“Foreign-born blacks may experience less prejudice than their U.S.-born peers because they have spent part of their lives in majority black countries where discrimination may be less severe than in the U.S.,” said the researchers. “In contrast, their children spend their entire lives in a more racialized social environment than found in the Caribbean, which could explain the worsening of birth outcomes between generations.”
So, what? If you want to understand the protests, and perhaps the riots, you have to look at studies such as this one.
America has allowed racial discrimination and disregard of black welfare since the founding of the Republic. It will get worse as the majority white population becomes the minority and the black and brown majority begins to flex its demographic muscle at the polling station, at the supermarket and in employment. There will be a backlash—already DT is declaring war on protest and his supporters are becoming increasingly armed with sophisticated weaponry.
When the lives of black babies start to matter as much as white ones, we’ll know that the corner is being turned.
I’m still not holding my breath.
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The most impactful mentors are those who teach students to think independently and communicate their unique viewpoints effectively.
Black lives don't matter, even at birth
Black women have the highest prevalence of low birthweight babies compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Black immigrants typically have much better outcomes than their U.S.-born counterparts however this substantial “birthweight advantage” is lost within a single generation.
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