When the Bough Breaks: How racism becomes embedded in the body

Please use this area to provide feedback and questions related to the film watched in class 3/10.  The film featured psychosocial explanations for racial health disparities— specifically, low-birth weight and infant mortality among Black, U.S. born women.

54 thoughts on “When the Bough Breaks: How racism becomes embedded in the body

  1. Lizet

    I belief there’s much more than just stress as being the cause of low birth infants in the African American community. It may be varies factors such as environment, socioeconomic, genetics. I do belief stress can trigger many diseases, and perhaps African American have grown with the idea of being unacceptable by the white community. Perhaps having more obstacles in life compared to white may have been a burden for decades among African Americans.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Certainly there are other factors. I am curious about your reference to genetics. Are you suggesting that there is a shared genetic component among Black women, or that every individual brings with them a genetic/ancestral history? Remember that the difference between us is FAR smaller than the differences AMONG us. The differences between racial groups is far lesser than the differences within racial groups, suggesting that what we have in common (genetically) is as difficult to find as a needle in the haystack.

      Reply
    2. michelle connelly

      Thats not the case. The study took EVERYTHING into consideration and they were able to eliminate ALL OTHER FACTORS. It didnt matter how well educated, socioeconomic factors, family history, prenatal care, or any other factor. It is the direct result of the stress of raciam experienced by blacks, that is so severe, it alters the DNA and is absolutely the cause of America’s high infant mortality rate. The medical industry has been trying to determine the cause for many years and finally concluded that racism is the verdict. This is a huge embarrassment for America.

      Reply
  2. kareshma

    It is shocking to see how many infants are born pre-mature in United States despite mothers eating healthy and keeping themselves in good shape during pregnancy. However this does prove the point that being “healthy” doesn’t only mean eating the right food, but also takes into account stress, financial problems, happiness and many more factors. This puts a scare out to future mothers and families knowing that these factors affect if your child will live past their first birthday or not, especially for African American mothers, as statistically shown are more frequent to deliver pre-mature babies. Watching this video was very shocking to me yet wasn’t much of a surprise because for a very long period of time, statistics have always shown more health risks for minorities than as for white males and females. All of this does and always will relate to the whole concept and idea of race. Why are most minority groups poor, because of their race. Why are most minority groups more at risk for bad health, because of their racial identity. Why do they not receive the same treatment when visiting health care physicians and doctors, because of their ethnic and racial status. I can go on and on and all my answers will always somehow lead back to the whole concept of race.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Good feedback. I would like to add to point that it is not the idea of race itself causing these group differences, but instead how we use race and what we believe it to be. When using race to explain differences in health statuses we often ignore the very substance of a person and their social environment. I also appreciate your comment that health is more than just good behavior 🙂 Well done.

      Reply
  3. Kar Lee

    The film was unbelievable to look at the number of infants who die mostly first year of birth in United States than other countries because of the different kind of diseases and everyday having stress can causes in person’s life. African American have the higher risk of disease than White American is because of the smoking, alcohol but they did exercise and eat healthy food. Later, African American people can start a good life and healthy life by showing that they are taking good care of the baby in the future.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Thanks for your response. Could you perhaps be more specific about where in the film/class you were led to believe that African Americans engage in more risk behaviors than other groups? The film identified a source of the problem being with stereotypes, racism, etc and despite practicing health behaviors and receiving advanced educational degrees, the problems persist. This is contradictory to your statement, and I am eager to hear more about your thought process leading up to your comment. This is a good starting point for much discussion…

      Reply
  4. Emmauel Acheampong

    Although, the consequential effects of labor and delivery like low birth weights and deformities of African American infants may be racially correlated, there is also a greater need to cross over the horizon to seek for non traditional causes. The determinants of pregnancy abnormalities may include geographical shift, the non availability of herbal treatment and lags in sexual intercourse during the labor period. A critical and analytical look at the listed factors would go a long way in finding medical and therapeutic solutions to these real dilemmas facing the African American motherhood.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      These are EXCELLENT ideas, and deserve future exploration. A number of hypotheses can be drawn from the matters you raise. Sounds like a future Master’s thesis or Dissertation topic to me… 🙂

      Reply
  5. Chamirah Farley, RN

    The film viewed in class definitely peaked my curiosity as well as my attention. I will acknowledge that racism/health disparities and low birth weight/premature infants exist. The correlation between African American women and low birth weight/premature births has always but something extremely interesting to me given that I was born very premature and my chance of survival was slim. But I have never truly tried to critically assess the situation. I have never tied the concept of racism as a stressor to low birth weight and prematurity. So I as I watched the film intently I truly thought of the physiological response that stress can cause to the body. I was sitting there like “wow this really all makes sense” and definitely nodded my head, this argument appeared to have some level of validity to me. Although its very important for women to obtain preconception counseling and prenatal care throughout the childrearing period I personally don’t think this concept of totally eradicating racism as a stressor is something that is realistic or feasible. Given that racism is given the distinction of a stressor its only possible to reduce the stress that one experiences. Its not possible for women to undo the “plight of being a black women ” , where racism has become institutionalized. I felt like a topic that I could go on and on about and it truly left me with a hunger for more.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Well thought out response, and I appreciate your willingness to share. When we talk more about stress next week, I hope you enjoy and contribute to discussion on “what do we do” about problems of racism and discrimination. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the film. Professor MacDougall’s presentation resonated with me and lead me to want to share the brief film in class, so I am pleased that it was well received.

      Reply
  6. Henry M.

    The video gave me a stronger belief that the infant mortality rate is caused by stress because before the infant’s birth, there is obliviously a strong connection between the mother and an unborn infant. For example, if the mother eats food that is bad for her, it would also be bad for the unborn infant. I believe the stress that causes the infant mortality rate is caused by the social and economical statuses. There are still people that cannot afford health care, and because of unaffordable health care, the infant mortality rate goes up.

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  7. IrinaF

    I enjoyed this film because it showed that pre-term birth is the second leading cause for infants. The video talked greatly about if you have high socioeconomically status then you live longer , and have fewer health problems. Even if you are a black educated female the risk of high infant mortality will still occur. The video emphasized that stress triggers pre-mature labor and that there will still be unequal treatment of African Americans in society .

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Correct. This unequal treatment is most pronounced in Black women, but it really speaks to inequality as a stressor being problematic for any/all women who chose to bear children. I am pleased that you made this connection.

      Reply
  8. batman

    The film was interesting to watch. What stood out to me was how epidemiology had a big roll in bringing to light the fact that a African American woman are at a higher risk of having a premature birth than other woman. This after I was being led (to no avail) to believe that epidemiology categorizing race was a useless pursuit and had no value what so ever. If race was not in the statistics of premature births in the united states than this epidemic in the black community would have never come to light and would have been buried in a general look of the woman premature birth statistic.
    One thing I had a problem with in the film was the use of racism as the cause of this phenomenon. The film kept hammering in the fact that this was all do to racism. The true cause was stress woman. If anything it could be said that African American woman experience more stress in throughout their lives than other woman in the U.S.. If race is the issue than it should be stated that it had s not racism the cause of the stress but the PERCEIVED racism the person is experiencing. The statistics that the film brought up I also question. I do believe his country is plagued with prejudices but in the experiment conducted to look at if black males get hired at a job was misleading. Questions I have is what was the race of he interviewer or the decision maker? If the majority were indeed white or black or Spanish then what does that say about our perception of racism? Can it only be racism if your white or any color or race?

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      The categorization of race is most certainly a useful tool, but the extension of our thoughts must not stop there. If a group is facing a particular problem, we must begin to understand what is shared by those in the group. Historically, the view that biology or heredity is shared by racial groups has been the driving force behind epidemiological research. When combined with social factors and behaviors, these group difference become understood to a point of possible intervention. The role of epidemiologists is not a useless one, and it is unfortunate you feel (at least from what I’ve read here) that the information to the contrary has been forced upon you. Without categorical differences, such a class wouldn’t exist. However without identifying more salient predictors of health (such as stress which can result from discrimination) racial disparities will be perpetuated. Could you clarify your questions? What stats? What researcher? What country? Etc. Racism can be personal and institution, with those benefiting from not ever having to identify with racism. Any member of a racial group can be racist and can benefit from historically racist thought. I look forward to reading more of your responses.

      Reply
  9. Ashley Golden

    This film made me realize something. If historic research on racism has inaccurate information then you can only imagine what else these “Historians” have wrong. My point, any thing can be the cause of high blood pressure, diabetes, infant mortality, etc. I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that even now in this day and age we still look for answers based on each other’s skin complexion. So many lives are affected by history and what is written in text books. All types of people put trust in history text books because they believe it to be true. So what does this say about our society? How long are we going to over look such a massive mistake? Coming to conclusion, the lawyer who was having complications with her pregnancy was a good example, although she was very educated and successful she was discouraged because it came to her attention her race could be a reason of why she was having complications. To witness her daughter growing up a healthy young lady was such a sight to see. It’s amazing to see myths being debunked. Truly amazing, it gives me hope for the future.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      There is an interesting article by a husband and wife team (Smedley and Smedley) that argue that while race as biology is fiction, racism as a social problem is very real. I will have to share on the OpenLab articles tab. Given your response, I believe that you will enjoy today’s final film: The House We Live In.

      Reply
  10. daniel quiles

    the amount of ignorance in the videos are so absurd , the focal point of all research in the video was held together by racism. ive said many times I think that all information , led by racism automatically makes the information inconclusive. it such of waste of time using all these resources for bad information. they have to take real factors into account , such as stress and how finically stable you are. having premature babies is not gene that is handed down , that could be down to the amount for recourses you had at your exposal to keep your pregnancy a healthy one. I bet if they had group of African American women that grew up with a “wealthy white up bringing” results would change due to recourse.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      I hope that you are referring to the ignorance of others in our society that the film is showing— not that this film was pointless! I believe you are stating the first matter of opinion. Our interactions with others, especially when based on race, have long term effects. If ever looking for a reason to be kind to one another, our health (and the health of future generations) is a great place to start!

      Reply
  11. Mdelie16

    Watching this documentary was very emotional for me because to see innocent newborn babies suffer the consequences of racism in America is an unspeakable shame. The fact that racism is so integrated into society that  colored woman suffer a lifetime of chronic stress is astonishing! That was the last thing I thought was the reason for premature labor and an increased infant mortality rate.

    I learned a lot from this documentary. I learned that colored women are in a  constant state of stress and highly educated colored women even more so. Despite being educated and socioeconomically successful, black women still have a higher rate of infant mortality than white woman with high school diplomas. Personally, I have experienced slight racism and because I’m located in NYC where everyone is a little more lenient in  accepting differences among people, I have yet to be subjected to harsh treatment.

     Where would we begin to find a solution to such a big problem? To make this world a better place,  I can only hope that people take individual responsibilty to be aware and conscious of the way they treat others. To not place everyone in a stereotypical category but to seek knowledge first before passing judgements and automatically making assumptions  based on a person’s appearance.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Thank you for your response. When we talk more about stress next week, we can begin to strategize what can be done. How we perceive stress can be modified and can be a useful tool. Trying to change the minds of others would be great, but doesn’t necessarily lend itself so easily. I am eager to hear what you think can be done. You may want to approach this topic in your paper. The relationship between stress and disease is certainly an interesting one.

      Reply
  12. Mdelie16

    Watching this documentary was very emotional for me because to see innocent newborn babies suffer the consequences of racism in America is an unspeakable shame. The fact that racism is so integrated into society that  colored woman suffer a lifetime of chronic stress is astonishing! That was the last thing I thought was the reason for premature labor and an increased infant mortality rate.

    I learned a lot from this documentary. I learned that colored women are in a  constant state of stress and highly educated colored women even more so. Despite being educated and socioeconomically successful, black women still have a higher rate of infant mortality than white woman with high school diplomas. Personally, I have experienced slight racism and because I’m located in NYC where everyone is a little more lenient in  accepting differences among people, I have yet to be subjected to harsh treatment.

     Where would we begin to find a solution to such a big problem? To make this world a better place,  I can only hope that people take individual responsibilty to be aware and conscious of the way they treat others. To not place everyone in a stereotypical category but to seek knowledge first before passing judgements and automatically making assumptions  based on a person’s appearance.

    Reply
  13. Keven Deng

    After watching the short documentary film on low-birth weight and infant mortality among Black, U.S. born women it was surprising to find out that even though if Black US born women were from a background of higher income and higher education they still had higher chances of low birth weight infants when compared to whites. The fact that chronic stress was a factor in one of the possible causes for contributing to low birth weight was well understood but the one surprising thing is that when the film mentions chronic stress they encompass the woman’s entire life from where she’s in her mother womb to point of pregnancy as a possible cause for the low birth weight. I would have never thought that life course chronic stress was a thing possible from such early period in a individuals life before they are even born that can affect the individuals future child.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      I’ve always found that point to be interesting as well– it’s not just about what happens in those 9 months when the baby is developing, but its EVERYTHING that has happened to the mother both behaviorally and experientially. Good response.

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  14. Sadiquah

    This documentary really opened my eyes to the huge problem of infant mortality, and such a strong relationship with a particular race. There are many African American women that I know, especially in my family alone that have had premature infants, fortunately they are all living healthy lives today. This documentary really stressed the fact that the cause for such an issue as infant mortality is related to stress. Stress causes many different issues and with incorrect management can lead to death. I am interested to see and to understand further research on this topic. I really did enjoy the film and felt that it was very informative. If I ever had to create a research project this might be a topic of interest.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      Great Sadiquah! Keep this as a major theme when you begin to write your critical race paper. You can certainly “dig deeper” and share your thought process over the semester and even into the future in your paper, and I would LOVE to hear more 🙂

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  15. Isaac D. O

    The documentary “When the bough breaks” was very appealing to me because it raised so many serious and critical health concerns of African Americans. From the previous documentaries on health and race I learnt that the ideal of associating some illnesses with some race is just an illusion and has no biological proves and that most illneses are caused by environmental factors, choices and preferences and level of education. but unfortunately, this documentary reaffirms the ideal that racism is a disease for blacks. If not then How come a black woman with college degree is still more likely to give birth prematurely than white woman who haven’t even finished high school ?. Why do infant mortality rate among African Americans remain more than twice as high as among white American?
    The above health problems are possible among black women as a result of the fact that chronic stress of racism has been embedded in the bodies of black women by their fellow human beings .
    To make the world a better place and very conducive for all mankind, respect human dignity and stop racism.

    Reply
    1. AAlmond Post author

      You got it! Your quote:

      To make the world a better place and very conducive for all mankind, respect human dignity and stop racism.

      Spot on. You have mentioned your spirituality in our conversations on OpenLab before. There are certainly principles of Christianity that come into play when we discuss how stress interacts with health.

      Reply
  16. Victoria Qiao

    The film showed me that the idea “all men are created equal”, that racism should not exist anymore but unfortunately still does. I agree with what we discuss in class, sometimes the higher the class you become where you are the only black women of a law firm for example can make the peers to look at you differently. It is sad because this person may have received the same education and work hard the same way, but based on their race, they are treated a little differently. Furthermore, in this film showed that every year a huge number of premature babies are born and most who don’t live past their first birthday. I feel like it is not just about being healthy then you are guaranteed a healthy baby. The film showed that people with very high stress hormone are more likely to give birth earlier, which causes premature birth. The environment and how you are living life ,not only just eating healthy is a big factor to having a healthy child.

    Reply
  17. Altenor

    After watching this film, there’s one particular part of it that really draws my attention, that is when I heard black African-American women regardless of the level of their education, many of them have more premature or low-birth weight babies than white American women high school, really! Is that a gene related factor as they said before in the past?

    Well, as for me, there’s nothing more, nothing less than racism; This concept of race is still on their mind so many, affecting them, becoming a kind of chronic stress which they feel deeply into their blood-stream, they just can’t go over it and can’t stop thinking of the pain and suffering from the past. Besides that, those who are not well educated are victimized by their socio-economic status due to social policies. As a result, they have more premature or low-birth weight babies than babies born from other countries. At this point, Dr. James Collins, a black African-American, neonatologist said, ” That happens because of disparity in America.” In my opinion, I believe what he said it is an undeniable fact.

    Reply
  18. iespinoza

    The alarming statistics exposed in the video raised awareness about the extent in which the damaging effects of racism have been affecting the health of African Americans. At first, I assumed that the socioeconomic disparities between the compared groups (white, Black) were the obvious factors causing the data results. However, the example of a black woman who despite of standing at a high socioeconomic ladder still became part of the statistics revealed that one of the leading causes was in fact the planted effects of racism in the mothers which unfortunately have not been overcome but rather passed down for generations resulting in African American babies being placed in an unfair disadvantaged position at the start of their life. The information really corrected my early perceptions and made me see the powerful consequences that discrimination has been carrying out for ages. The series of videos presented in class have greatly influenced my thoughts regarding the links of health and racism. If more people were educated or informed about these facts society could have a chance to not eradicate completely racism but at least diminish the adverse results that the notion of “race” produces.

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  19. Einstein$13

    well I believe that racism is a high level of class. The fact that we have class difference in a group of people bring life to racism when interpret by an outsider meaning a difference group of people. I believe the root of the problem is in the mind. The mind is the symptom of this disease that so call racism. If we can change the mind set of people than maybe we can eradicate the disease of racism.
    the disease of racism created a psychological problem with according to the video creates health issue especially in African American women which I think baby death syndrome came from.

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  20. ricardo nedd

    The documentary was extremely informative and gave me a clearer picture of many things that I see in my everyday life. It was knew to me that education level was one of the factors In predicting a better pregnancy and a healthier baby. Its unfortunate that despite the fact these black women have fought for their education and become socioeconomically successful, and still have a higher rate of infant mortality than white woman with high school diplomas. The view that black women are in a constant state of stress whether consciously or not that affects their lives and offspring is so sad and unfortunate.

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  21. dorcas

    The film is very educative and interesting to me. As a nurse I have always wandered why so much disparity between white and black in terms of infant mortality and low birth rate. I have often thought it as inequality issue alone,but this film has opened my mind to another area that I have never imagine. The effect of stress hormone on an unborn child, the kind of stress that can affect you before you were born. It is very interesting to see the different outcomes in the statistics of infant mortality and low birth rate between the women that are fresh from Africa with less or no stress and the African American women that have so much stress. In this case inequality is not the only problem but the stress of being black. Thinking about the disadvantage of being black when you looking for job, when you’re shopping, or when you are looking to buy or rent a property. Even though you don’t sit down to think about it daily, at a point it gets to you. The example of Kim Anderson drive the point home. Even though Kim did everything right, she still suffered the consequence of having stress passed on to her at birth and she being a black woman carrying lots of stress in her system which resulted in her having a premature baby. Therefore, African American women should be educated in this regards and if there is any way to help them, the resources should be made available to them.

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  22. donna myriel

    After watching this video, it made me think a lot about the study where the rate of low-birth weight and infant mortality was similar among Caucasian white females and African females from African compared to African American females in the U.S. I believe it has a lot to do with the environment we grow up in. The U.S has a lot of diversity when it comes to race and especially the history of slavery of African Americans In the U.S. we are more defined by our skin color than our race. So having to live in a world where you always feel intimidated by others who only see your skin color is really stressful and understandable why African American females in the U.S are more likely to have problems with giving birth. In other countries, especially where i grew up, i never had to think of the word race or at least i don’t think i ever heard of it until i came to the U.S. because where i grew up it didn’t matter if you were white or black or mixed in color, it was mainly your socioeconomic status in society that was probably looked upon. I think the fear was instilled upon African Americans born in the U.S and that burdened has been carried with them for years even until this present day.

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  23. Li

    I believe that maternal stress plays a important role in birth outcomes. Acute stress cause fight or flight response which will enhance our immune system, but chronic stress suppresses immunity and lead to other physical health problems. I’ve learned from my other class that social evaluative threats such as threats to self-esteem or social status are powerful stressors. Like some other minority groups, African americans has been treated unequally. It put tremendous disadvantages on them. Nowadays, the higher social ladder you are, the easier you feel a sense of pride and self-confidence, and people tend to compare with each other. Great inequality contributes increased status completion which causes more anxiety.

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  24. Nawang N. Sherpa

    The movie gives a clear picture on how racism that is eminent plays a vital role in various problems for a new born such as low-birth weight and high infant mortality. It implies that there is a psychological effect that comes into play in life of a pregnant mother which may exist in the form of racism and that has a hazardous effect. It mentions that though a black woman is well educated and has a high socio-economic status, the problem of low-birth weight and infant mortality is higher in them when compared to white women who haven’t even completed a high school. Thus, we can understand that apart from having to go through a lot of personal and social hurdles during lifetime, racism add up as yet another existing problem African women have to deal in their entire life which causes anxiety and stress which will ultimately have effect on premature labor.

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  25. Slangford

    I have a bit of mixed feelings about this documentary. I can kind of see where racism plays a role in problems with low birth weight and infant mortality. I feel the stress of the mother is a bit more important than the pressures of racism. Being from a different country I was not raised to see race. To me everyone was just another person. Of course peoples skin pigment had many different variations, but that was normal. Here in the US I would have never made the connection of birth weight and infant mortality weight to race. I would have just thought it to be due to environmental and behavioral effects on the mother.

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  26. Jenn

    This film has not only left me with more questions but also in disbelief. My entire life I have thought that newborn mortality or low birth weight was due in most cases due to the mother’s poor decisions. Although, I did know that some were not cause by the own mother’s wrong doing, in my head I would still blame the mother for either bad nourishment, bad habits, or just simply being in a bad environment. When we looked at the shocking results that African American mother’s have the highest rate of them all again I was still thinking it was due to their environment, habits or just overall financial status until the film got into the details. Learning that healthy African American mother’s with education, of well financial status, and that they were also taking the necessary precautions to bring a healthy baby into this world still didn’t help them accomplish that was a bit disturbing and puzzling. It has led me to believe that clearly one of the MAJOR contributing factors must have been racism that created this health care disparity. It is still not 100% proven but with more quantitative research we can make this astounding discovery that unfortunately racial bias still exists in a world like today.

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  27. Isilita Arman

    The film viewed in class was very informative as well as interesting. The U.S. is a diverse country compared to others around the world but sadly, race is a revolving factor here. Racial inequalities affect millions in different aspects of everyday life. This is evident in the lives of African American women when giving birth. The children of African American women have more complications at birth such as low-birth weight and being born premature when compared to Caucasian women from the U.S. and African females from Africa. The film shows that although an African American woman may be educated and hold a high socioeconomic status, the issues of low-birth weight and infant mortality rate is still higher than a Caucasian woman who has not obtained a High School diploma. We may conclude that racial inequalities contribute to higher stress levels which may cause these problems for African American women when giving birth

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  28. Alla P

    I was surprised to learn that daily stressors can have such a drastic effect on pregnancy. The film effectively shows this correlation illustrated via African American women who must deal with society’s judgement and prejudice regularly. My one complaint is that the film shows just this – a correlation – and implies causation where none is proven to exist. I understand that race is a sensitive topic and the facts do indeed line up, but this is just bad science. The film presumes to be educational and informative and thus far, it has provided an incomplete picture of the issue at hand. I believe that many viewers will take the wrong message away from viewing it. That being said, it’s a shame that African American women struggle with premature births with such prevalence.

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  29. rssp044

    As far as the low birth rates and the health of new born children is concerned, the determining factors are the genes, life, health and habits of the mother. If the mother has knowledge about how good habits can affect your baby they would do something about it (example- if they know how smoking can affect pregnancy they would surely give it up) but it’s all about awareness and finding the right stuff that works for you. The film showed how educated women also can have babies with poor health. Again along with education there are a lot of things that affect pregnancy – genes, life, health, habits etc. and if you want to know more details log out of this blog and go to a Pediatrician.

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  30. nsubair

    The film we watched was a very interesting film, and makes you wonder what really causes low-birth weight and infant mortality among Black U.S. born women. as we have seen I the film it not all African American women because they showed how Africans had full term successful pregnancies. so my question is what is causing pre term pregnancies in African American women in U.S? stress? or stress prior to pregnancies? fibroids in African American women since African American women is likely to have fibroids? as finance is concerned is money or insurance a factor and plays a part of ones health?

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  31. Sayma

    Before watching the film I thought racism only affects people people in a psychological way. However now I’ve discovered that it can also have an impact in a biological way. It can alter someone’s mitochondrial shape, as well as cause pre-mature birth in the within the African American females. It’s a a shame that till this day the African-American community is suffering because of the mistreatment they once went through. What’s even worse is that, racism is a theory that will forever remain in this world so categorize groups of people. Race isn’t something that you can visualize, it’s an idea that was built by mankind with money and power. It was built to divide the humankind.

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  32. alicia

    When i saw this video was very shocking to me, to see black woman still have a higher rate of infants are born premature than white woman in U.S. I think personally black woman are in constant stress, in the fact that racism is part in the society.Another factors that is important for woman to obtain counseling and prenatal care, could be because the mother is not eating healthy food, the enviroment, habits, financial status, everything has to do with mother health.

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  33. Jibriel

    The film was very interesting because even if mothers made good money and lived in good homes and neighborhoods. The infant mortality rate was still high in educated African American population compared with others. Blacks that had good finical status and lived a healthy life styles could not escape. I always thought that if a pregnant woman was not able to eat properly or had a husband that smokes could be a culprit of a higher chance of infant mortality. The stress that the previous generation had to indoor seems to have carried over to the new generation. For instance, the mouse experiment in which mama rat was shocked every time and then a smell was presented to her. So eventually overtime when she smelled that smell she was fearful and had a stress response. Eventually mama rat learned to associate the smell with trauma, which changed her brain and nervous system. Later when the mama rat had babies, the babies had the same brain structure. The baby mice where raised away from the mother in a different environment. In fact, even in the different environment when presented with the same small, which traumatized their mother, they showed a similar stress response. In the same way the African American mothers that are pregnant living in upper class neighborhoods still show signs of the torment that their ancestors had to bare.

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  34. Raz

    It is so sad and unfortunate to see how many infants are born pre-mature in the US despite mothers maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping themselves in good shape during pregnancy. The unequal treatment experienced is most pronounced in Black women, but it really speaks to inequality as a stressor being the most problematic. When using race to explain differences in health statuses we often ignore the very being of a person and their social environment. The determinants of pregnancy abnormalities may include their geographical shift, and the inaccessibility of health treatment. A critical and deeper look at these factors would go a long way in finding any medical and therapeutic solutions to these real dilemmas facing the African American motherhood. Because obviously there is a very strong connection between the mother and her unborn child. I believe the stress that causes the infant mortality rate is caused by the social and economical stressors. Microagression can play a large role in this. People should take individual responsibility to be aware and conscious of the way they treat others. People should not place everyone in a stereotypical category, trying not to pass judgements and automatically make assumptions based on a person’s appearance.

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  35. thierno

    This documentary truly shows how cancerous racism and discrimination are . No one could have really imagined the stress caused by these actions can be so damaging for those not-yet-born innocent souls. This must be a wake-up call for all us to protect the future generation of the consequences of our terrible actions, by standing up now and battle against injustice and discrimination.

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  36. Donna Liu

    It is very unfortunate to learn that inequality still lives on today and that certain people in a population group do not gain while others do, especially in health. However, it’s not only about the lack of balance between people anymore, but the stress that comes with it. This documentary explains very well how chronic stress takes a toll on the body during pregnancy among African American women, causing premature babies. It is crazy what researchers have found out, when hormones reach a certain level they may possibly trigger labor. I am definitely now aware of the fact that the environment can still cause a great deal of stress no matter where you are on the socioeconomic ladder.

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  37. A. Cynthia Parvinn

    This video was an eye-opener and provided an amazing explanation to understanding and demystifying health disparities. When research on health disparities is published, it is misleading to the general public as it is presented in way to correlate illnesses directly to racial groups. However, this is not true, as health issues are a complex and multi-faceted. Factors such as SES status, income, community, environment, education, lifestyle choices/habits, and social/emotional well-being all play an integral part in any type of disease/illness.

    What I loved about this video was the African American woman it chronicled. She was a well-educated woman with high SES, what seemed to be a great upbringing, lived in a community that did not appear to have environmental hazards, and seemed to have a healthy social life. Yet she was one of the many African American women that went into preterm labor and had a premature baby – even though she had a seemingly healthy pregnancy. What the video explored was the effects of racism on the human body and what prolonged high levels of cortisol can do to the human body. What was most interesting was to hear that the average African American individual thinks about racism on a daily baisis where the average white person rarely thinks of racism. It is quite interesting what impact racism has on the overall health of certain racial groups.

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