Letter: Health disparities reflect embedded racism
Minnesota is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest states in the nation. Yet, the state holds one of the most significant health gaps in the United States.
In 2021 2.4% of non-Hispanic white Minnesotans were uninsured, a drop from the previous rate of 4.7%. Nevertheless, the same year, the state saw an increase from 7.6% to 10.2% in uninsured Blacks, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).
This health disparity starts very early in the lives of Minnesotans. The 2021 data shows that Black infants are more than two times as likely to die as white infants, and indigenous American infants are almost two times more likely to die than white infants. Black and American indigenous women also had the highest rates of pregnancy-related mortality.
The health inequality in Minnesota is deeply interconnected with the systemic racism within our society. It is only when we reflect on how racism is embedded in all the services provided in our state that we will be able to address the health gap in Minnesota officially.
The inaccessibility and inequality of health care in Minnesota have a color, and we need to stop pretending that we are colorblind.
Aline Souza Kawai, Rochester