The answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America.
Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel. In one year, that racial gap adds up to more than 4,000 lost black babies. Education and income offer little protection. In fact, a black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.
(click link above to read this powerful piece on NYTimes.com)
On its face, Joseph’s prenatal and postpartum clinic might not seem unusual. But when you look into her statistics, you find something quite rare: Almost all of her patients give birth to healthy, full-term babies. Again, maybe not surprising until you learn that the majority of them are low-income African-Americans, Haitians and Latinas.
African-American women in the United States are four times more likely than their white counterparts to die during pregnancy or childbirth. Their infants are also twice as likely to die in their first year as white infants, and two to three times more likely to be born premature or underweight — a sign of insufficient development that can lead to a lifetime of health difficulties. Native Americans also suffer from higher rates of these problems than whites, as do some groups of Latinas.
(click link to read on nytimes.com)