In the US, Black birthing people die 3-4x more than white birthing people.  It’s a widely discussed statistic, yet there have yet to be widespread measures to change the root of these disparities.

There is a growing body of research that shows how racism causes stress to the body and impacts Black health and birth outcomes. There is nothing biologically different about Black bodies that make them more susceptible to a higher mortality rate. There are higher rates of preeclampsia, for example, but that is not due to a biological predisposition – it is due to what is called weathering, which is lifetime accumulation of stress caused by systemic racism, implicit bias, explicit bias, and inequities. Black communities face intergenerational consequences of racism. These harms live in the body and have been passed on through generations and have a drastic impact on health and wellbeing.

When we talk about birth and the perinatal mortality crisis in this country, it is impossible to separate the role that privilege plays. Privilege is described as “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.”

As a birthworker, operating with privilege may look like knowingly or unknowingly choosing to only represent certain aspects of reproductive experiences. The impact of this is decreased access to Black and Brown people, the LGBTQ community and people experiencing abortions, etc.

If you are a reader who identifies as white, I will leave you with these reflection questions:

“Reflect on a time you witnessed or were a part of a situation where race or privilege was at play. Did you notice race or privilege was at play? Did you speak up or were you silent? If you were silent, why? What did you feel? How could you have made the situation better? Also, are you comfortable talking about race? Why or why not?”

To continue exploring this topic, preorder my self-paced course on Racism and Privilege today. Use code randp22 at check out for a 10% discount.
IG: @sabiawade website: contact: [email protected]

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