A Deadly Lack of Care for Some of America’s Sickest: Ex-Inmates

This article starts off by retelling the story of ex-inmate Ernest who found himself being sentenced to prison for killing his 2 year old daughter due to a psychotic break down. The primary concern now is what will happen to him having been released very recently, and being uninsured. The state failed to enroll him in medicaid, despite the fact that under the Affordable Care Act Indiana had expanded the health insurance program to most ex-convicts. However, Ernest represents the former inmate population that doesn’t get to have insurance based on technicalities and state level politics.

Ernest has a serious mental disorder that caused him to commit his first crime, in the first place. Upon his release he was supposed to be guaranteed, however 31 states that have enacted medicaid do not have adequate institutions in place to provide services for ex-convicts. As many as 16 states have no procedure in place at all to provide medicaid for ex-convicts trying to re-enter communities. Many of these former prisoners a ill, and have chronic diseases.

This has everything to do with class because we can so clearly see how prison traps the bodies of these people. Ernest was only in jail in the first place because he had  a breakdown and killed his daughter. Had Ernest been given the proper treatment from the beginning he may never have killed his daughter. This puts people like Ernest in a position where they are in and out of jails because they can get treatment there, and because of the possibility that they might have another breakdown  which causes them to commit a crime.  This government inaction is what allows the prison industrial complex to survive.



UN apologizes for Haiti cholera spread in plan to eradicate disease

This article is about the cholera spread that took place after the 2010 Haiti earthquakes during the height of UN intervention. Until recently the United Nations have ignored assertions that Nepalese UN workers reintroduced the disease to the island after a 150 year absence. With only a month left in his term Ban ki Moon released a carefully worded apology that acknowledged the UN’s wrongdoings in the dilemma. Now the UN’s two pronged approach is their response for a half decade old problem. The first approach is more of a research and development approach with the intention to establish systems in place to respond to the disease, while the second prong is more policy based.

The article poses the question of : to what extent was the reintroduction of the disease an “accident”? After the earthquakes in 2010 Haiti served as the perfect place to conduct research on a captive human population. Although this is not suggested in the article, the situation raises red flags. The UN’s 6 year late apologize raises the question of why now? It makes the situation look quite scandalous considering they only apologized recently and that delay of acknowledgement would be enough time to conduct research on the disease to study eradication possibilities. What also raises a lot of alarm is the fact that the very people that introduced the disease are doing the research. There seems to be a lot of overlap that begs the question who “accidental” was the resurfacing of the disease?




Harassment in schools skyrockets after election, teachers report

This article follows up the multiple reports of verbal harassment in the days following the Presidential election. Donald Trump’s bigoted campaign and eventual victory has confirmed racist notions that previously wouldn’t be expressed as often and explicitly.  Just to name a few examples this report covers; students in Kansas chanted, “Trump won, you’re going back to Mexico,” to students from other countries, in Oregon, a high school teacher photographed vandalism in the boys’ bathroom, which mentioned the KKK and used the n-word, and in Tennessee, a black student was blocked from entering his classroom by two white students chanting, “Trump, Trump”. Over 10,000 teachers reported incidents such as these through the Southern Poverty Law center website. There were a reported 2,500 negative incidents of bigotry and harassment that mimicked Donald Trump’s rhetoric.

However these taunts and incidents of harassment don’t come without a cost. Approximately 80 percent of educators who responded with these claims said they noticed heightened anxiety from minorities in their classrooms. One of the teachers that responded noted that in her school teachers were discouraged from speaking up about these incidents and encouraged to downplay them- leaving students who were targeted hopeless, and suicidal.

In class we’ve talked about the ramifications and cultural shifts that Donald Trump’s victory allowed for. This hyper-agression from his supporters present a real problem for students of color and the response from school administrations show that the problem has an institutionalized element to it. Rather than acknowledging a problem, the school boards thought the appropriate conduct for these situations is to turn the other way. Furthermore, creating incentive and reason for these aggressor students to conduct themselves in ways that jeopardize the mental health of other minority students.



New Research Provides Insights into Impact of Childhood Discrimination Experiences


Childhood experiences of racial animosity, discrimination, and prejudice can have lasting impacts on the life of pupils, research suggests. Studies show that it can actually lead to depression, poor academic performance, and negative health outcomes. The notable section discusses why equality and justice is essential to the developmental science discipline and that it has the power to influence policy  and practice,  aimed at tackling inequality directly while simultaneously  mitigating the adverse experiences of traditionally discriminated against people.

This ties into our class lessons on institutional instruments that are put in place that effect  minority communities and their ability to succeed. This prejudice that minority students may face, feeds into the low expectations set for minority students and limits their ability to succeed. Mental health is something else that has in the past- been used to stigmatize and to detain minority populations- as we can see in Toni Morrison’s Home. However now mental disease is being used as a crippling, silent killer that is seemingly dismissed by the same system that used mental health as an excuse to unjustly detain.  We first saw mental health as an excuse to detain, and now we see it ignored and permitted and used to hold back minority populations.


Racial Disparities Receding for Women with Breast Cancer


According to a recent finding from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, younger black and white women benefit equally from timely breast cancer treatment. However, the death rates of women over 50 are still very disproportionately black. The article notes “that 10% to 20% of all diagnosed breast cancers, occur more often in black women than white women. ” The reason is that Black women will get diagnosed more in the later stages of the cancer, as opposed to white women. This relates to class because we have discussed how race plays a part into treatment. It is far to speculate based on the the content of our class that perhaps certain predominately black neighborhoods have less treatment and prevention facilities and/or precautions to offer black women.

With this being said the article does show that the incidence rates are converging. Since 1975 white women have always beat black women in breast cancer diagnosis per year, but as of recently that statistic has shown that it is changing. Now about about 122 Black women for every 100,000 are diagnosed compared to white women and there being 124 diagnosis for every 100,000. This has everything to do with the our class discussions and content because it begs the question: is this a good statistic or a bad one?

On the one hand this could suggest a progress. Perhaps more black women are getting tested and are receiving more treatment. Perhaps black neighborhoods and facilities in those neighborhoods/ communities are improving to a similar caliber as those offered in Predominately White areas. The article also suggests that the black women themselves are finally “heeding to the call for screening tests”, and perhaps self awareness is a factor in this.

However on the flip side this could be a problematic and if anything startling statistic. It could be very much the system at play. Perhaps treatment options and resource distribution hasn’t changed at all for black women, but instead the system working against black people. Maybe pollution and environmental factors have increasingly worsened nationwide for black communities and that is what is causing the increase in rates. In understanding medical apartheid and the discussions surrounding the book in class, the article becomes more nuanced.

Study: Racial Bias May Start as Early as Preschool


This article discusses the effects of implicit racial biases on black and minority pre-schoolers. The study the article discusses tries to prove that implicit biases effects minorities at even a pre-school level. The study used more than 130 current and student preschool teachers and administrators. The participants were told that the purpose of the experiment was to see how teaches detect challenging behavior. When the test subjects were asked then to observe a class-room of children actors portraying students, the results confirmed the danger in implicit biases. Through eye-tracking technology the researchers were able to find that the teachers kept their eyes on black boys significantly more than any other category of students.

Similarly, in a separate exercise teachers and educators were given a vignette of a 4-year old with behavioral problems. Some of the students were given stereotypical white names, while others were given stereotypically black names. Teachers and educators were also given similar biological information of all the subjects. When they were later asked to rank the students’ behavior they found a strong accordance with race.

In concluding their research, they found that most black and minority students were held to lower standards as opposed to their white counterparts. Teachers and staffers were also noted to have lower standards for behavior for black and minority students.

The findings were requested to be released by the US department of Health and Human services. The way this article relates to our course is that it deals with the manipulation of the health of African Americans and other minorities on account of their race. However in this study, the type of health that is shown to be negatively impacted/ effected is mental health. As the article proves, minority students are disproportionately effected by low expectations that manifest into a self-fulfilling proficy that is able to sustain itself through teachers placing low expectations on black students, and in turn causing them to internalize them and have a low sense of self. The danger of this mental health issue is that children can very easily live up to expectations set up for them.