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Racial Disparities in Health Status and Access to Healthcare: The Continuation of Inequality in the United States Due to Structural Racism

Ruqaiijah Yearby

American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2018, vol. 77, issue 3-4, 1113-1152

Abstract: During the Jim Crow era of 1877 to 1954, the federal government sponsored and supported the racially separate and unequal distribution of resources, including, but not limited to, education, housing, employment, and healthcare. On May 14, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that separate and unequal education violated the Constitution because separate is inherently unequal. Many believed that this ruling, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would put an end to the unequal treatment of African Americans in the United States. However, inequalities still exist today because the ruling and the laws did not change the structures of the United States. Specifically, structural racism prevents African Americans from obtaining equal access to resources such as wealth, employment, income, and healthcare, resulting in racial disparities in health. Because racial disparities between African Americans and Caucasians are the most studied in the United States, this article will focus exclusively on how structural racism continues and causes racial inequalities between African Americans and Caucasians in wealth, employment, income, and healthcare, which lead to racial disparities in access to healthcare and health status.

Date: 2018
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