Racism, xenophobia, and discrimination cause avoidable disease and premature death, according to a new study published on Friday.
Discrimination serves to confine minorities in "places that create or perpetuate unhealthy environments, simultaneously increasing their ill-health and need to access health care, while undermining their ability to obtain it," was one of the findings in a series of studies in the medical journal The Lancet, examining how "racial health inequities" are caused by "historic systems and structures of power and oppression, and discriminatory ideologies."
Although "experiences of racism are context specific, there are commonalities in how racism operates to affect health and wellbeing, including the role of coloniality, separation and division across shifting lines of identity and privilege, the institutionalisation of racism, the visible and tacit ways discrimination operates, and the violence of discrimination across all levels," the studies argued.
One section found that, for example, Islamophobia in North America and Europe "undermines health equity and affects diverse groups of people in many parts of the world," found the study, problems including preterm birth and low birthweight, internalized stigma and low self-esteem, reduced access to culturally appropriate health services, interpersonal violence and hate crimes, forced sterilization, torture, and ethno-religious cleansing.
The studies suggested that deeper understanding of injustices are needed in order to reduce inequality in health care.
They concluded that "far broader, deeper, transformative action is needed compared with current measures to tackle adverse effects of racism on health."