States is a country with a strong tradition of institutionalized racism which permeates all aspects of modern America society (see hooks’ Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism, 1981). Importantly as well, the United Kingdom has a colonial legacy in which racist ideas about civilization governed its colonial conquests.
What are the effects of racism and sexism on the lives of people today? In society today there is a definite health disparity in the country as non-whites report a lower level of overall health and access to healthcare. The Journal of Preventive Medicine undertook a substantial quantitative analysis of the infant mortality rates between black and white infants and found that a disparity in this important social indicator does in fact exist. Accordingly, this respected journal found that the black-white infant mortality ratio has persisted for decades and has even increased in recent times. In 1960, the black-white infant mortality ratio stood a 2.0, but twenty years later this figure had risen to 2.4. Why such a disparity? What are the causes of such dramatic differences in the likelihood that a newborn black child would not live to see his or her first birthday in comparison to a white child? This study determined that while a variety of factors can account for this disparity, low birth weight remains the most prominent cause of a higher infant mortality rate amongst black babies. In fact, black babies in America have a 300% greater likelihood of being born with a low birthrate relative to their white counterparts. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found a variety of socio-economic causes for the phenomenon of low birth weight, including poverty, poor nutrition, a lack of knowledge about pregnancy and the challenges associated with it, and access to proper medical facilities. . The disparity in black-white successful birth ratios in America thus can be attributed to social forces and socio-economic differences amongst black and white Americans (Carmichal and Iyasu, 1998. Kogan, 1997)