The story of our nation is one of justice and freedom, but the unspoken truth is too many people are shut out of equal opportunities because of the color of their skin. Civil Rights laws and advocacy movements have brought racial inequities to light, but have not solved urgent problems caused by structural racism. This inequity has led to wide-scale poorer health outcomes and shorter life spans.
Structural racism refers to the persistence of inequity in communities of color while others benefit from a disproportionately larger share of the nation's resources. There is indisputable evidence that the impacts of this inequity are generational. Structural racism has led to a lack of basic healthcare, education, housing, and other needs for too many in our nation.
Authentic conversations about racial inequities are essential, difficult, and urgent. There are many forces that prevent people from talking about racism. Without honest reflections on race and the history of this nation, conversation and narratives often generate unproductive fear, shame, guilt, avoidance, and denial. We need to move past that to a place of healing and action. A book by RWJF's chief science officer, Dr. Alonzo Plough, shows us how.