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The Literal Definition of Structural Racism

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ST LOUIS, MO – JUNE 05: Several hundred doctors, nurses and medical professionals come together to protest against police brutality and the death of George Floyd at Barnes-Jewish Hospital on June 5, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. Protests continue to be held in cities throughout the country over the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25th. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

Every part of American society is poisoned by racism, from the doctor’s office to the scientific laboratory to the PTA to the Klan cross burning. And this is how we know that:

Life expectancy in the United States fell by a full year during the first half of 2020, a staggering decline that reflects the toll of the covid-19 pandemic as well as a rise in deaths from drug overdoses, heart attacks and diseases that accompanied the outbreak, according to government data released Thursday.

The last time life expectancy at birth dropped more dramatically was during World War II. Americans can now expect to live as long as they did in 2006, according to the provisional data released by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Black and Latino Americans were hit harder than Whites, reflecting the racial disparities of the pandemic, according to the new analysis. Black Americans lost 2.7 years of life expectancy, and Latinos lost 1.9. White life expectancy fell 0.8 years.

Among the things that contributed to this are white parents moving to the suburbs for “the schools,” Boston parents of the 70s resisting busing, the erasure of Black pain by doctors, the Tuskegee Experiments, the placement of toxicity in Black and Latino and Native communities, forcing Black workers to do the most dangerous jobs in America for 300 years, the ways that facial recognition technology throws Black people in prison for crimes they didn’t commit, lynching, and hundreds of other issues.

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