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Systemic racism is stealing years off of the lifespan of African Americans.
Systemic racism is stealing years off of the lifespan of African Americans

The Lifespan Gap: How Racism Affects African American Longevity

Unveiling the harsh reality of how systemic racism chips away at the lifespan of African Americans and what can be done to bridge the gap.

By Darius Spearman (africanelements)

About the author: Darius Spearman is a professor of Black Studies at San Diego City College. He is the author of several books, including Between The Color Lines: A History of African Americans on the California Frontier Through 1890.


The clock’s ticking, and for African Americans, it’s ticking faster. Why? Systemic racism. A term we’ve heard echoing through the Civil Rights Movement. But how does it translate into years lost? Let’s dig in. (Spokesman-Recorder)

Data doesn’t lie. The CDC shows a glaring gap in life expectancy between Whites and Blacks. And it’s not just a number; it’s years of life, experiences, and opportunities lost. The roots? They go deep, back to Historical Figures in Black History. (Spokesman-Recorder)

Minnesota, is the land of 10,000 lakes and a gaping life expectancy disparity. Kari Benson, a bigwig at the Minnesota Department of Health, spills the tea. The numbers are grim, not just stats; they’re stories cut short. (Spokesman-Recorder)

Suicides are up. Drug overdoses, too. Call them “deaths of despair,” and they’re snatching years from Black lives. It’s a grim scene that often plays out in the shadows of Police Brutality.

Stress. Discrimination. Inequality. They’re not just words; they’re mental health wrecking balls. For Black Americans, the mental health system is more like a maze than a safety net.

Opioids aren’t just a headline; they’re a headstone for many in the Black community. Alley Carey, a frontline warrior against substance abuse, lays it bare. The opioid crisis is a silent killer lurking in the corners. (Spokesman-Recorder)

Heart disease. Cancer. Diabetes. These aren’t just diseases; they’re life thieves. And they’re robbing the Black community blind, fueled by social determinants of health.

Systemic racism is the puppet master, pulling the strings on health disparities. It’s the invisible hand pushing Black Americans down the lifespan ladder. Experts weigh in, and the consensus is clear: dismantle the system, or the gap widens.

The lifespan gap isn’t just a gap; it’s a chasm. And it’s time to build bridges, not walls. The clock’s ticking, but together, we can wind it back.

There you have it. A deep dive into a life-and-death issue that’s more than just numbers—it’s a call to action.