Racial Health Care Inequalities
By Checkna Diawara, Nithya Gurumurthy, Sarah Prosser, and Odi Uhegwu
In this playlist, five individuals across North Carolina share their experiences with racial health disparities, as well as how those inequalities affected their lives and the lives of others. Bill Kearney, a reverend from Warren County, discusses racial segregation in the area, and how the such forms of discrimination contributes to the disparties experienced by the region’s African American communities. Crystal DeShazor is an African American woman from Danville, Virginia. With occupational experience as a community health worker, DeShazor discusses how lack of knowledge becomes a barrier to gaining adequate health. DeShazor goes on to share how she believes informing people of better health practices and lifestyle changes is much more effective at improving community health, as opposed to belittling those who make uninformed, unhealthy lifestyle choices. Jeanie Franklin, a retired superintendent living in Warren County, reflects on her experiences with racial segregation and the implications it posed to receiving adequate healthcare. Lata Chaterjee, an Asian American professor from Pittsboro North Carolina, speaks about her unpleasant encounter with a health clinic while she was sick. Physicians assumed Chaterjee had fallen ill due to a tropical illness, causing her to undergo multiple tests only to discover she had mononucleosis (mono). Chaterjee shares the frustrations of her experience and attributes the doctor’s false judgements to racial prejudice as a result of her immigrant status. Thomas Watson, an African American employee at UNC Hospitals, describes his experiences with race relations in his work environment. Through his encounters with prejudice coworkers in a racially segregated workplace, Watson sheds light on racial segregation from a healthcare worker’s perspective. Through the stories of Watson, Chaterjee, Franklin, DeShazor, and Kearney, the realities of racial segregation, prejudice, and bias are shared from a variety of perspectives. By sharing their narratives, these people help listeners gain a deeper understanding of the different factors contributing to racial health disparities, and how it affects both patients and practitioners in healthcare.