“Racism is a system — consisting of structures, policies, practices, and norms — that assigns value and determines opportunity based on the way people look or the color of their skin,” the CDC posted on its website Thursday. “This results in conditions that unfairly advantage some and disadvantage others throughout society.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, announced the declaration in a statement Thursday.
“Racism is not just the discrimination against one group based on the color of their skin or their race or ethnicity, but the structural barriers that impact racial and ethnic groups differently to influence where a person lives, where they work, where their children play, and where they worship and gather in community,” she said in a statement.
She also blamed racism for COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color.Su
“The pandemic illuminated inequities that have existed for generations and revealed for all of America a known, but often unaddressed, epidemic impacting public health: racism,” she said. “Racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans. As a result, it affects the health of our entire nation”
She said the CDC would combat this by studying the impact of “social determinants on health outcomes,” by investing in minority communities and by launching a new website.
In addition to the coronavirus, the CDC said minority communities face higher rates of other health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma and heart disease than White Americans.
“Over generations, these structural inequities have resulted in stark racial and ethnic health disparities that are severe, far-reaching and unacceptable,” Walensky said.