Why We Can’t Wait

Just finished reading the book whose title appears above, written in 1964 by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I found so much inspiration in his words and, not surprisingly, much of it is relevant to public health via social justice.  For example:

The Negro also had to recognize that one hundred years after emancipation he lived on a lonely island of economic insecurity in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.  Negroes are still at the bottom of the economic ladder.  They live within two concentric circles of segregation.  One imprisons them on the basis of color, while the other confines them within a separate culture of poverty.  The average Negro is born into want and deprivation.  His struggle to escape his circumstances is hindered by color discrimination.  He is deprived of normal education and normal social and economic opportunities.  When he seeks opportunity, he is told, in effect, to lift himself by his own bootstraps, advice which does not take into account the fact that he is barefoot.

That sounds like social determinants of health to me, and unfortunately, it also reminds me more of how far we’ve yet to go than how far we’ve come.

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3 Responses to Why We Can’t Wait

  1. Azra says:

    I’ll have to add this to my own personal reading list. It’s an important reminder to be aware of cultural and historical contexts as public health practitioners.

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