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How Racism Affects Your Health as a Black American

Researchers call it "weathering."

by VICE Staff
Dec 7 2018, 3:56pm

Image: Daniel McCullough/unsplash

Writer George Johnson has watched his grandmother fight multiple bouts of cancers, as well as diabetes and other health conditions throughout her life. Health challenges have always played a large role in his family. But in his recent VICE Magazine story, Johnson explains that this is not simply because of bad luck. Rather, it may be a result of what race disparities scholar Arline Geronimus calls "weathering," a term that describes the deterioration of health as a result of the chronic stress caused by being exposed to systemic racism over a lifetime.

Through new research and a more conscious exploration of health disparities, it’s only recently being acknowledged that systemic racism can and does play a significant role in the mental and physical health of black Americans. Studies show that black Americans have worse health outcomes than white Americans across the board. What’s more, researchers found that if you’re rich and black in America, you’re still much more likely to experience adverse health results. On today's episode of The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast, TONIC editor Rajul Punjabi talks with George Johnson about his story.

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