Video Blog: rACE-ism

This is my first attempt at a semi-instructional conversation starter about racism and how it impacts health. I can’t reiterate it enough:

1. I am not an expert on racism. I am just a guy who believes in health for all and a professional who is willing to dive into the data with an open mind.

2. I do not have “all the answers”….I don’t even have all the questions……I do have the ability to start a conversation with people who can help.

3. There is no goal or agenda here…..I have no affiliation….this is me speaking as me (and ME). I welcome ANY voice to weigh in… long as that voice is respectful and approaching the conversation with an open mind. In plain English…..I am a curious human… who likes to come to informed conclusions……I look to others to help me understand so I can FREELY arrive at my OWN conclusions……so, I don’t need to be convinced……and I assume the same is true for you.

Trouble viewing? Access the VIDEO HERE


In an effort to be thorough, it is important to note that in the video I did not mention that the group with the highest total number of ACEs: the most socioeconomically disadvantaged white children. Although this should never be discounted (IMO reducing the number of children experiencing ACEs is a “target zero”, as in none, in any race kind of thing), there are some important qualifiers to understand at the population level.

First – the number of non-Hispanic White Americans that struggle with poverty is 18 million, which, although unacceptably large in my opinion, translates to about 9% of the (198 million non-Hispanic White) total number of citizens. This rate is higher for every other major race/ethnic group; slightly higher for Asian/Pacific Island/Hawaiian at 10% (of 20M) and Native American/Alaskan at 11.6% (of 4.3M) and more than double for children of color with Black at 19.6% (of 44M) and Hispanic/LatinX at 18.5% (of 60M).

Next – If we “level” the numbers, by considering proportionality (the percentage struggling in proportion to the the total percentage of the population) the disparity remains. Whereas Black Americans are only 13.4% of the population, they represent 21% of the population struggling with poverty. Hispanic/LatinX Americans represent 18% of the overall population, but nearly 28% of the population struggling with poverty. The Native American/Alaskan population and the Asian/Pacific Island/Native Hawaiian population, if all things were equal, are about where the numbers might suggest. The Native American/Alaskan population represents 1.3% of the citizens and 1.24% of the citizens struggling with poverty and the Asian/Pacific Island/Native Hawaiian population which represents 6% of the population accounts for 5% of the citizens struggling with poverty. One group appears to proportionally doing substantially better in this regard, non-Hispanic White citizens, who account for 60% of the US population but less than 45% of the population struggling with poverty.


  • Stephanie Wakeman

    Thank you for addressing this very important topic in such an informed and eloquent way. This race and socioeconomic inequality is very complex therefore requiring concerted effort by many groups to find answers. I believe there needs to be a collaboration between private corporations and government to address the issues at their roots. The problems is intertwined with social and institutional policies and is complicated by a capitalist society hellbent on dividend returns combined with privatized, fractured healthcare and outdated and underfunded preK-12 educational system. It is also complicated by gender inequality and the push to tie women’s health care with certain value systems held by a specific sect of the population. We are looking at needed changes from prenatal care thru adulthood involving political systems, education, redistribution of wealth and changing the food system/distribution in this country. Where do you start? Certainly, this should not stop us from trying, but we need outreach to people with money and influence.

    Lastly, I would like to thank you for acknowledging the disparity noted in poor white families experiencing highest number of ACE. Personally, I feel this topic is avoided because it is not significant proportionally. However, it is of utmost importance to let that voice be heard especially to the people in those communities. They don’t understand this topic at all, they are underserved, and they do vote. I am familiar with people who live in these communities, and we must let them know they are not being ignored and acknowledge their problems and sufferings as well.

  • Perry

    Very compelling. As a white socio-economically disadvantaged kid who grew up in Mississippi with an ACE score of 5, of all the things I had to overcome, the one thing I never had to do was add the color of my skin as an additional barrier. The data on American born black children is compelling. Maybe this is where we start. I don’t know Mike, but it’s compelling.