Structural Racism and Stress in Black Women: An Intersectional Approach

Authors: Karen Johnson-Webb*, Bowling Green State University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: health disparities, racism, intersectionality, stress
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Napoleon D2, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Several Ohio counties have some of the highest rates of infant mortality in the nation. The gap between black and white infant mortality in Lucas County, OH (Toledo) is large and persistent. Stress that is created by racism as experienced by blacks in the US may be at the root of health disparities of all kinds. In this study a group of black women were interviewed in-depth about their life experiences as they related to racism and stress. The research was aimed at expanding the understanding of the stressors and stress responses that impact black women in their daily lives. An intersectional view was taken here because it is necessary to investigate the overlapping and conflicting dynamics of race, gender, class, sexuality, place/location, politics, economy, education, criminal justice system, etc., that impact black women's lives and by extension, their health and that of their children. The unique interplay of the cumulative impacts of structural racism (stress) is uncovered through these women's life stories.

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