What We’re Reading: 06/05/20


It feels like one of those weeks where decades happen. The country is mobilizing against police brutality, systemic racism, and anti-blackness. New York City is full of energy and activity like we haven’t seen in recent memory, and all in the midst of a pandemic that rages on. Individuals and institutions alike must do more than lend verbal or written support to the Black Lives Matter movement, we must dismantle the white privilege inherent in our programs, organizations, and medicine at large. White people must not sit by, there is much work to do. 

This week we are sharing a few articles relevant for laying that groundwork.

The Case for Reparations

We could all spend a lifetime studying the history of anti-blackness and racism and still have more to read and learn. Do a quick book search and you will find a slew of fantastic reading lists. So for our weekly recommendations, we’re still sticking to articles digestible in a sitting or two. If you haven’t read this historical treatise on racial inequality in America by Ta-Nehisi Coates, consider it your must-read piece of the weekend.

“Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”  (From theatlantic.com)

Racism in Medicine

It’s frankly too difficult to pick one article from this issue published by the BMJ. You may notice some Britishisms here and there; the BMJ is a peer-reviewed medical journal published in the UK. But much of the research cited is done in America and the structures in place remain the same. Pick an article or two at a time and work your way through. The collection focuses on both the experiences of doctors and patients of color, exploring the serious and deadly impacts of racism on health.  (From bmj.com)

How White Parents Can Talk To Their Kids About Race

A conversation to help white parents break the cycle of silence about racism. It’s not enough to say “we’re all equal” and leave it at that. Jennifer Harvey, author of “Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America,” references the smog analogy—Racism is like a smog that we are all constantly breathing in. When you’re breathing racist culture every day, you’re going to show up in racist ways whether you’re conscious of it or not. This article serves as a good starting point in the effort to depollute.  (From npr.org)

How The Protests Have Changed The Pandemic

Even before the protests, Covid-19 cases were increasing in cities across the country, including Minneapolis. But protests have changed a lot, people are in close proximity, shouting and marching. Droplets are certainly flying. Researchers employ reasonable hope that being outdoors will limit the spread, though dispersal tactics by police compound the risk astronomically, as do packing protestors into jails. 

“Americans have broken lockdown in vast numbers to object to racial inequality. If we fail to act now, knowing what we know, seeing what we’ve seen, history will record our failures of public health as an acceptance of racial injustice.” A great read.  (From newyorker.com)

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