“Examining the Paradoxes of the Infant Mortality Rate in Black-Americans and Mexican-Americans”
The Mexican infant mortality rate and the Black infant mortality rate raise some interesting paradoxes. First, it is noted that within these two different ethnic groups there is a clear difference between their infant mortality rates. Black infant mortality rates become higher when the income of the family is lower. In Mexican families their infant mortality rate seems to be independent of economical status. This becomes more interesting when these two racial groups seem to be affected equally by the factors that determine infant mortality rates, which are mainly income and education, yet it is apparent there is a huge difference between their outcomes. There is yet to be a clear answer to this difference, but it does raise some interesting questions.
Black-Americans and Mexican-Americans are both part of minority groups that have suffered racism and discrimination. Over decades these two groups have struggled to earn an income comparable to whites and as of today these two groups still lag behind economically when compared to their white counterparts. Authors James S. Heintz and Nancy Folbre comment on this trend: “But people of color narrowed the pay gap with whites between 1970 and 1978. After 1979, that gap increased.” (A=74) It is common knowledge that infant mortality rates would have a relationship with the quality of health care and that the quality of health care would be related somehow to money or one’s income level.
In regards to the shared discrimination and racism that these two groups face, what are the differences within these discriminations? For example, are there any clear
differences in the type and amount of discrimination each group experiences? The type of discrimination could differ from subtle remarks to blatant forms of prejudices. The amount of discrimination could vary from non-existent to constant. The relationship between the type and amount of discrimination could affect the stress levels of these two groups differently. These questions, if research more deeply may bring to light some of the unknown factors in the infant mortality equation and how these differences affect heath care and income level. Certainly these factors and others should be considered when examining infant mortality rates.
And what about other factors that may be the cause of this difference in infant mortality rates between these two races. In regards to health; what about diet, environmental toxins, and substance abuse; and their affects on the infant mortality rate. Another area to explore could be the amount of education related to health and infant care between Black-Americans and Mexican-Americans.
Many of these areas are unexplored because Black-Americans and Mexican-Americans are poorly understood in our society. These two races are often thrown together under the term “minorities”. Research seems to be lacking in distinguishing the differences of these two individual groups. Minority is a broad term and fits many different racial and ethnics groups, it seems unfair to continually lump differing groups under one term and then compare them to whites. While Black-Americans and Mexican-Americans share similarities as minorities, what about their differences from each other? This type of examination takes thoughtful observation and understanding because for too
long the differences from these two groups were compared to whites and if we want to examine the differences between them, then we need to compare them to each other.