Just Health: Treating Structural Racism To Heal America

New York Univ. Feb. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781479802661. $27.95. SOC SCI
Through the lens of the life of her late father Vincent Edward Bowen Jr. (1930–79), leading public health and civil rights advocate Matthew (dean, George Washington Univ. Law Sch.; Just Medicine) testifies to what she identifies as the racist, state-sponsored political violence of structural inequality and injustice in the United States. The book’s empirical evidence proves that systemic racism is embedded in the nation’s enduring societal institutions and relegates non-white Americans to ill-health and truncated life expectancies. She traces such results to unequal access to quality health care (including prenatal and neonatal services), decent housing, effective education, and more. Matthew demonstrates that it’s not only health risks and outcomes that are at stake in the unfair distribution of resources, as is grossly illustrated in structural income inequality that stratifies the United States into predetermined hierarchies. She warns that the top-heavy, white supremacist inequality that is foundational to deadly differences among the U.S. population is strangling the American dream and with it the nation itself. Marshall’s exposé of health disparities will compel experts and general readers who are concerned about public health and the state of the nation generally to rally in a civil rights–era collaborative model of intervention at all levels to hold government accountable to dismantle discrimination.
VERDICT A must-needed examination.
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