Racism And Ethnic Discrimination : A Public Health Measures That Can Mitigate Health Inequities Essay

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Introduction
Health inequities are defined as “differences which are unnecessary and avoidable, but in addition are considered unfair and unjust” (Whitehead 1992, p.431). Numerous studies provide evidence of deep seated and continued health inequities between Maori and non-Maori in Aoteroa/ New Zealand (McCreanor 2008). The role of social, political, environmental and economic factors have in determining health outcomes for individuals and social groups is increasingly being recognised globally. These factors include determinants such as housing, education, employment status, income, deprivation and racism (Robson & Harris 2007). There is increasing body of evidence that show that racism and ethnic discrimination negatively impact the health and well-being of individuals and ethnic groups (Gee 2002). Based on these findings, many researchers have proposed that programmes targeted at reducing racism are a public health measures that could mitigate health inequities (McKenzie 2003).
Mass media is extremely powerful institution that massively influences all areas of social interactions (Rosenberg 2002, cited in McCreanor 2008). It shapes the ideological patterns and what is regarded as norm, ‘commonsense’ by its audience (McCreanor 1993). In Aoteroa New Zealand, racism in the media and the negative representations of Maori raises great concern, as it affects Maori/Pakeha relations, Maori self perception, and ultimately undermines Maori health and wellbeing (Barnes et al 2012).

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