Black mothers in the United States have significantly higher mortality rates than all other American racial or ethnic groups, even when factors such as education, income, and overall health are controlled for. We considered whether life experiences of systemic racism contribute to poor maternal health for black women. Through literary analysis and an interview with a medical anthropologist, we found indications that higher incidences of maternal mortality are not due to genetic factors shared among African-American women. Rather, along with other cultural factors, continuous exposure to racism strains the body in ways that negatively impact maternal health. Our research highlights the often misunderstood health outcomes of black mothers in the United States that results from a system of inequality.
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Karlicek, Jillian; Barry, Connor; and Johnson, Mackenzie, "Systematic Racism in the U.S.: Disproportionate African American Maternal Mortality Rates" (2020). Research Days Posters Spring 2020. 39.