Tuesday, June 06, 2023

How We Can Indentify Systemic Racism

There is no known reliable test for diagnosing Alzheimer Disease, nor is there a known cause. It is correlated with certain genes, so it could be genetic in many cases. Probably a subtled combination of genes and environment, like most things.

NPR Radio News reports:

MARTIN: Black Americans report similar experiences when they become caregivers to aging parents with Alzheimer's. African Americans are 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer's than white Americans, according to federal data. But all along the way, family members say they struggle to get adequate information, treatment and support from medical providers.

STAFFORD: What we found was that a lot of Black caregivers, they encounter the same things. You have providers who aren't listening to them. Even getting a simple diagnosis is hard. So not only are Black people more likely to have Alzheimer's, they are also less likely to be receiving equitable care that they need to take care of this disease.

MARTIN: How do we know that this is a systemic issue? Because as you certainly know that we live in a time when there are a lot of people who are just really reluctant to - and even hostile - about the idea that there is something called systemic racism. So what convinces you that this is something about the systems that people live in and under?

STAFFORD: The fact that there are decades worth of research, statistics, all of these things that have laid out clearly the role that structural racism plays in inequities. We also made an intentional effort to highlight the voices of doctors, historians, folks that have really been rooted in this work, to really lay clear why these disparities exist today. And one thing that they all were very keen on pointing out was this cannot be explained by genetics alone. There is nothing genetically wrong with Black people. But what we are seeing are the effects of socioeconomic conditions, social determinants and all of these things that manifest because of this legacy of structural racism.

Just to be clear, there are tests for dementia, but it can have many causes. Alzheimers can be a cause, but only an autopsy can determine for sure.

There you have the explanation of how we know it is systemic racism. We do not know much about Alzheimers, but somehow we know that Blacks get it more, that it cannot be genetics, and hence it must be systemic racism. There is a whole body of work from doctors, historians, and other folk leading to this conclusion.

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