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I am writing in reference to a letter in the Oct. 1 paper. The letter writer comes dangerously close to explaining why we must study the “racial dogmas of the day.” He writes that we must consider the importance of family structure to our young people’s success. I agree! It takes many factors to maintain a long term healthy, happy marriage. The added stresses of trauma, mental illness, substance use, incarceration, poverty and poor health put enormous strain on marriages and on the children within. These stresses are far more likely to occur to people of non-white race in our country.

In order to seek help with these difficulties one needs to have health care access, money for help, time off for self-care activities and a stable income and living situation. These things are harder to come by for those in minority groups.

In the U.S. 13% of the population is Black, whereas 34% of the male prison population is Black. In fact, all non-whites are incarcerated at higher rates than whites. According to U.S. census data, the poverty rate for Black people is 18.8%, Indigenous peoples is 25% and Hispanics 15.7%. This versus just 7.3% for non-Hispanic whites. According to the NIH Blacks and Hispanics are less likely than whites to have health insurance coverage and black women are more likely than their white counterparts to experience marital instability. Black, Hispanic and Indigenous children have higher incidences of adverse childhood events than white children — factors that influence everything from long term health to our health seeking behaviors.

Unless the writer is suggesting there is something intrinsic in other races that makes them at these disadvantages, then there is something deeper at work here. This is why we must study our society through the lens of racial disparity.

Katy Osterloth


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