chapter  8
Perspectives on Death in the African-American Community
Pages 18

News Report: The United States National Center for Health Statistics reported that the life-expectancy gap between blacks and whites is growing. According to the researchers, a black infant born in 1988 could expect to live 69.2 years while his/her white counterpart has an expected life span of75.6 years. This greater death rate in the black population is described as "unconscionable" as most of these deaths are unnecessary; they could be affected by changes in the health care policy of the country. The greatest increases in death were from AIDS and drug and alcohol abuse. A second study released to the press reported that while blacks make up approximately 13 percent of the population, they account for nearly 80 percent of premature deaths due to curable diseases. The reason given for this disparity was the lack of access to the health care system. A co-author of this study was quoted as saying that some of these premature deaths were a "function of hopelessness, a disenfranchisement from the community."