Living While Black/O, the Tribune
[Is this breast black or white?]
For a while, there's been the term DWB--Driving While Black--African-American drivers report being pulled over for this offense. Now we're finding out (again) that it's dangerous to be LWB, especially in Chicago. Today's Tribune reports on a study that showed that the African-American death rate from breast cancer in 2005 was 99 percent higher in Chicago than for white women, a fivefold increase since 1990.
This is not new. Chicago Magazine reported on this a couple of years ago, or a version of this--a previous study by the same researchers at the Sinai Urban Health Institute. The same bad news: Chicago is worse than other cities. The gap between black and white health here is widening. The Trib is careful to quote an African-American doctor who partly blames the victim--the problem is partly lifestyle, she says; partly it's poverty; and partly lack of knowledge about health.
Hmm, says Cancer Bitch to herself, why is it that this is the only person in the story who's identified by race? Could it be that everyone else quoted is "normal," i.e., white, and so doesn't have to be identified?
The health study was published online yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health, the Tribune avers. It identifies Steve Whitman (no race), director of the Sinai Urban Health Institute as the author of the study. The conclusion drawn from the study, according to the journal abstract: Overall, progress toward meeting the Healthy People 2010 goal of eliminating health disparities in the United States and in Chicago remains bleak. With more than 15 years of time and effort spent at the national and local level to reduce disparities, the impact remains negligible.
You can find the abstract of the piece here. You can get the article for 30 bucks from the AJPH site.
Along these same lines, but even more depressing: A Rush University Medical Center study published in November showed that Chicago's black and white breast cancer mortality rates were the same in 1980. This was also in the Chicago Magazine story. From that piece, by Shane Trisch:
We've arranged things in this country so that the darker your skin, the shorter your life will be--Steve Whitman.