• Destined to Die Prematurely: An Examination of African American Life Expectancy

      Howard, Jianna; Howard, Jianna; The College at Brockport (2017-04-01)
      In recent decades, scholars have noted the connections of health, socioeconomic status, and the role that individual, systemic, and institutional racism, legal and de-facto segregation, and criminalization (Wacquant, 2009) have had in producing health disparities, including unequal life expectancy rates between black Americans and other racial groups in the country. Over the past century, African American males and females have experienced shorter life expectancies than the national averages. Many rationalize this troubling disparity by citing individual “lifestyle factors” as a primary cause, thereby suggesting that health outcomes are a simple matter of individual choice. Otherwise known as healthism (Cheek, 2008), this ideology fails to acknowledge how social determinants such as where one lives, household income, and education can impact one’s ability to directly control their own health within constrained conditions. This study seeks to examine the historical underpinnings of racial disparities in health and how they ultimately impact life expectancy in addition to displaying that the healthism ideology is not basis for biological explanation.
    • Destined to Die Prematurely: An Examination of African American Life Expectancy

      Mower, Ronald; Howard, Jianna; The College at Brockport (2017-06-02)
      Throughout history, researchers have continuously noted the connections between health, its social determinants, and the role that systemic racism has had in creating health disparities including lower life expectancies for black Americans. When compared with other racial groups in the country, African American males and females have experienced shorter life expectancies than the national averages for centuries. People of color are geared toward certain lifestyles because of their history and are sometimes at a disadvantage in regards to achieving and maintaining good health. Rather than accept these instances in history as the causes of racial health disparities, many cite lifestyle as a primary cause, suggesting that health outcomes are simply a matter of individual choice. This ideology, known as healthism, fails to acknowledge how the social determinants of health can impact one’s ability to directly control his or her own health within constrained conditions. The purpose of this study is to analyze the historical underpinnings of racial disparities in health and how they ultimately impact life expectancy in addition to displaying that the healthism ideology is not basis for biological explanation. A collection of articles pertaining to this subject matter were examined from authors in different disciplines including scientists, health professionals, and sociologists. Most writings consisted of studies completed and conclusions drawn from them. Although studies were done from different perspectives and in different disciplines, overall, authors agree that the vestiges of African American oppression in early American history have an influence on various social determinants, especially socioeconomic status, which in turn has an effect on health and ultimately life expectancy.