Health Disparity and the County Budget Crisis; Also, Testing for Anti-Black Bias


African Americans in Multnomah County are twice as likely to die from diabetes or stroke than white county residents. Hispanic mothers are two times less likely to have early prenatal care white mothers. Native Americans in the county die from HIV at three times the rate of whites.

Multnomah County, through programs like the Health Equity Intitiative, has made signficant progress in addressing health disparities. But as these figures from the County's March 2008 Report Card on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities show, much work remains to be done. How will the county do this as it struggles with a deepening budget crisis and the economic meltdown worsens the social and environmental factors that influence health equity in our region?

This week Jo Ann and Dave talk with Tricia Tillman, manager of the Multnomah County Health Department's Health Equity Intitiative about achievements and challenges yet to be met in eliminating health disparity.

Also this Thursday: Testing for Anti-Black Bias

A CNN poll last January found that 72 percent of whites thought that African Americans overestimated how much discrimination they encounter. The same poll found that 82 percent of blacks thought whites underestimated discrimination against blacks. Project Implicit, a virtual laboratory maintained by Harvard Univesity, the University of Washington and the University of Virginia, believes this disconnect may be partly due to whites holding an unconscious hidden bias. The project has conducted hundreds of thousands of online tests designed to detect such hidden biases. They found that three-quarters of whites have an implicit pro-white/anti-black bias. What does this mean for tackling racism in America? Take the test yourself - it only takes about 10 minutes - and join us in the conversation this Thursday.

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The conversation doesn't end when the program does. You can join in additional discussion of the week's issue on our blog at (click on the "blog" tab). You'll find additional information, important links, comments from other listeners and commentary from Jo Ann and Dave. Have a question for our guests, but can't call in during the program? Post your questions on line so we can make them a part of the Voices discussion.


If a white person were to

If a white person were to wear a " white power" t-shirt, they would be labeled as a racist. If a black person wears a "black power" t-shirt, they would be praised for standing up for themselves. So it's no wonder that blacks are going to constantly say they are discriminated against- they are automatically given that option, and white people given less tolernce. That polarizes people right there. When I'm in a bar with mostly white people and a black person comes in, there are always guilt ridden white folks who go out of their way to show how accepting they are. When white people go into a mostly black bar, the attitude is just the opposite, extremely the opposite. I know. As long as there are people like Al Sharpton, who make a living off of racism, there will continue to be a schism between races. As long as you can blame someone else for all of your problems and get suppoted for it, that behavior will continue. Most of the white people I know aren't prejudiced because they don't even think about it. They have more important things to think about. Just like most people I know don't smoke cigarettes- they know it's stupid so why participate in it. But they don't dwell on it. People see any event from their own point of view, so you can see whatever you want to in any situation. As the great Bob Marley said " Emancipate yourself from mental slavery". When people stop crying "racism" over every problem, take responsibility for their own actions, and get to the real cause, then people of all colors can work together to solve our collective problems.

the systematic issue...

i agree with you that "People see any event from their own point of view, so you can see whatever you want to in any situation." however what was not mentioned in your post, which i feel is the issue at hand of dave and jo anne's program, are the systematic factors inherent to the issues of racism in medical negligence. if we look at what happened with 'the tuskeegee experiment' to margaret sanger's eugenics project, right on down to the FDA's refusal to acknowledge that certain medicines work better for the black and brown communities; if we continue to use this 'one size fits all/let's get over ourselves and stop blaming' reaction, we could never look at the actual issues at hand. i personally don't agree with everything al sharpton does; but he certainly doesn't make a living off of racism. if you are going to go there, why not go with your national banks? why not go with the major television and radio networks? why not go with the food and medical industries? these industries have a history of, and continue to make money off of racist tactics by selling us gentrification/redlining, advertisements that still make attempts to prove that the more european features you have, the better you are... (and why sharpton is always propped up by white folks as an example of the black community is quite telling that there may be a refusal to look beyond the monolithic theory. who knows?). there are many modes of activism to us; from fred hampton jr., to jabari x, to barbara lee to sarah jones. when you talk about the 'guilt ridden white folks', this is a problem as well. if one is proud of who they are as a white person (and this goes into ethnicity) then there is no need for guilt. the whole 'white power' thing is on the same spectrum as 'white guilt' to me... they are both racist. they both represent a fear of feeling invisible and not included. in my experience of living in a predominately white town, i have been grabbed, pulled at, petted as if i were in a zoo, and made to be an expert in all things black. in the white people i know's experience of dealing with black people, for the most part there have been no problems. it's all how you approach a situation. if your mind is set on fear when you enter an all-black room, you are going to physically appear to have fear, and people are going to react. this may be the situation for the white people you know. once again, if there was no need for a white person to go out of their way to be extra nice to someone who isn't white, then perhaps a more welcoming experience would occur. and to say that most white people are not prejudiced because they don't even think about it- this does not mean they are not prejudiced. (a. they don't HAVE to think about anything. they are white, and in the socialization of things, white is 'normal' white people do not have to go around thinking they are white. people who are not white are apt to think about that more. and so, when a non-white person happens to speak of their experiences dealing with racism the response is, 'oh, you are so sensitive'. etc. this has been in my, and many others i know, experience, anyway. the fact is, al sharpton and the like are a tiny speck in the scheme of things. once we are able to truly talk about racism honestly and openly without guilt, then will we finally do something about it. once we begin to look at things in terms of ethnicity and roots (be it, russian, polish, camaroonian or korean), then we can be proud of who we are and where we come from. the key in that is to TREAT EACH OTHER LIKE THE HUMANS WE ARE- with respect and dignity. peace, jamilah


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