Racism: Incarceration of a Household Member and Hispanic Health Disparities

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Many Americans pretend that the days of racism are far behind; however it is clear that institutional racism still exists in this country. One way of viewing this institutional racism is looking at our nation’s prison system and how the incarceration rates are skewed towards African American men. The reasons for the incarceration rate disparity are argued and different between races, but history points out and starts to show the reason of why the disparity began. Families and children of the incarcerated are adversely affected due to the discrimination as well as the discrimination against African American students and their likelihood of going to prison compared to the white student. African American women are also affected by the discrimination in the incarceration rate. Many white Americans don’t see how racism affects incarceration rates, and that African Americans are more likely to face discrimination from the police as well as being falsely arrested. Many would argue that the reason why the incarceration rate for African Americans is sustainably higher compared to white American is because of economic situations, and because of past arrest patterns. While it is true that the economic opportunity someone has will affect their decisions, this argument doesn’t fully explain the real reason of why the rates are higher. To fully understand the reason why one must look back on America’s history and how African Americans were treated. The past arrest patterns do not explain why the gap continues to increase, however it is clear that the past arrest patterns is more an indicator of institutional racism that exists in this country. One study found that African Americans believe the reason for the high incarceration rates is becau... ... middle of paper ... ..., Dumont DM, Nunn A. 2013. Incarceration of a Household Member and Hispanic Health Disparities: Childhood Exposure and Adult Chronic Disease Risk Behaviors. CDC Prev Chronic Dis, 10:120281. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd10.120281 UNNEVER, JAMES D. 2008. "TWO WORLDS FAR APART: BLACK-WHITE DIFFERENCES IN BELIEFS ABOUT WHY AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPRISONED." Criminology 46, no. 2: 511-538. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9125.2008.00117.x Willingham, Breea C. 2011. "Black Women's Prison Narratives and the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in US Prisons." Critical Survey 23, no. 3: 55-66. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost. doi:10.3167/cs.2011.230305 Zeese, Kevin B. 2000. White Kids are much more likely to be using (and selling) drugs! Common Sense for Drug Policy. Class handout/ article given out in class.

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