The healthcare systems that we’re currently operating in were created to treat, employ, protect, serve, and promote white men.
There are many forms of oppression that run rampant in society. But the focus of this guide centers on anti-Black racism. America’s current and past history of racism evolved from the roots of slavery.
Anti-Black racism is deeply cemented in the U.S.’ foundational social systems that still operate today. It’s through this lens, we see anti-Black racism as the root of all forms of oppression. If we dismantle it, like dominoes, all the other forms of oppression will fall as well.
We believe that healthcare and public health need to better collaborate, communicate and work together to embrace anti-racism. To help foster an understanding of the challenges faced, we produced a single- guide to create a cross-pollination of information for readers. Many of the issues are similar but there are differences. Our desire is that this guide will be a starting point for healthcare and public health organizations and leaders, and a roadmap to intentionally embed antiracism as a part of your everyday actions.
Talking and passionately tweeting or posting about #BlackLivesMatter, racial equity, and health equity during viral social media moments is no longer enough--and honestly, it never was. Equity must be consistently and intuitively woven into the public health discussion at all times. To affect change, the essence of equity has to be an embedded anchor of the foundational and operational frameworks of your organization. We’ve included resources to get you started.
Language is a living and ever-evolving mechanism of communication. Language is one way in which we understand each other and also how some of us explicitly express ourselves.
Language matters and the meanings for some words change as culture progresses. Being sensitive to and aware of our nation’s cultural shifts is also how we can acknowledge where people are in their lived experiences now.
Understanding correctly using, and staying attuned to language shifts in healthcare and public health is a key component of cultural humility. We acknowledge that the vocabulary we use throughout this guide, reflects where we are today. We aimed to use equity-rooted phrasing and people-centered word choices.
White supremacy’s stronghold on healthcare and public health often leads us to think there’s no way to recreate or remix these systems we work within. But that’s not true. What would happen if we completely reimagined healthcare and public health? We could start by embracing a liberation framework and context for health.