Social Determinants Of Health Disparities

1354 Words6 Pages
Social determinants of health inequity reflect deeper social divisions, which generate multiple risks that are reproduced over time. Hierarchies of power must be critiqued through the lenses of class and race to make tangible the seemingly abstract connections between social and economic determinants and distribution of health inequity. Racism finds refuge in various forms of material exploitation; narrow interventions that fail to address the root causes that undermine the health and well-being of members of the community will ultimately fail.1 The treatment of Mexican immigrants with tuberculosis (TB) by health officials in Los Angeles from 1914 to 1940 is a telling story that made salient the insidious impact of poverty and race on health, and it provides an important lesson for public health officials.
The discourse of Manifest Destiny, which justified U.S. expansionism during the Mexican-American war, portrayed white Americans as superior to Mexicans and rendered Mexicans largely invisible in American public health policy for most of the 1800s. The dominant belief was that due to their inferior constitutions, the Mexican presence in America would eventually die out. Furthermore, the barrioization process kept Mexicans spatially and symbolically segregated from the greater population in California.2 It was only in the early 1900s, as it became clear that the Mexican population had, in fact, not died out, but had instead increased due to the growing number of
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