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Child & Teen Health

How racism harms children

January 8, 2020

About the Author

photo of Claire McCarthy, MD

Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Claire McCarthy, MD, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition to being a senior faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. McCarthy … See Full Bio
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September 22, 2019

Socioeconomic discrimination is a far bigger problem and has been for many millennia. Slavery was economic, not racist. The African slaves brought to America were sold by black Africans to Dutch slave traders, not hunted down Like Kunta Kinte. I’ve been to West Africa and held a glass whisky flask that was traded for a slave. Nearly all ethnic groups were enslaved at some point in recorded history, Jews, Irish, Anglo-Saxons, etc. We were one of the first countries to abolish slavery.

There’s no bigger racist to a poor black person than a rich black person. Black men being shot by cops are not being pulled out of Bentleys in Cambridge, they’re being shot on the streets of poor neighborhoods. The war on poverty has been an abject failure and the full price has yet to be paid.

The real threat to children’s health is HFCS, sugar, and processed foods…

September 14, 2019

When I started fostering children, I had every race. So, at our house everyone is a different shade of brown. From beige to dark brown. No black, no white. It works well. Once when I went to daycare to pick them up another child said “that’s not your mom she’s white”. I put my arm against a piece of white paper, nope not that color. My son put his against a black piece of paper, nope not that color. Since then I adopted them. This new school year my youngest had to tell about himself at school. One of the questions was “what’s your ethnicity”? He asked what’s that? The teacher told him “your black”. He’s actually multi-racial. That should not be a question they ask. He sees himself as a person, not a race. Since we just started a new school, I was looking over the paperwork from the school, they have him as “two or more races” and his bio brother as “asian”. They both have the same Mom w/different Dads, no asian. They are both light brown. I’m angry they felt they had to labeled them. Maybe if we didn’t need labels there wouldn’t be so much racism. Why do they have to choose a race in school? Are they truly treated the same if they are put in different catagories? Yes, they both know their bio Mom is white and (according to their older sister) their bio Dad’s are black.
People would always come up to my oldest daughter and start speaking Spanish, both her parents are white. She told me she took Spanish so she could have more friends. All of her friends are from different races.
I’ve had friends who just got their ancestory done and found out their ancestors were not what they thought. We are all a melting pot.
Maybe if we start with our children we can put a dent in racism.

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