ABSTRACT

The impetus for this work is based upon the African American* health experience. The Black experience has been affected, if not dominated, by the issue of race in Western culture and English North America (often referred to as the American colonies)—now known as the United States. Therefore, the concepts of “race” and “racism” deserve exploration. Since the late nineteenth century, a bevy of historians and social scientists including, but not limited to, W.E.B.Du Bois, Frank

Tannenbaum, C.Vann Woodward, Herbert Aptheker, Stanley Elkins, Kenneth Stampp, Steven Steinberg, Eugene Genovese, Gunnar Myrdal, E.Franklin Frazier, John Hope Franklin, Vincent Harding, Andrew Hacker, William Julius Wilson, and Manning Marable have analyzed the social, class, and ethnic implications of the race problem in the United States. Though unable to replace race as an independent variable, class and ethnic considerations and debates have immeasurably enriched and strengthened the scholarship and understanding surrounding race both qualitatively and quantitatively. No other group’s experience approaches the negativity of African American’s 246 years of chattel slavery (64.74% of the Black experience), 100 years of legal segregation and apartheid (26.31% of the Black experience), and less than one generation of de jure, though not de facto, freedom (8.95% of the Black experience) (see Table 1.1). Thus, race becomes both a nexus and a tool for investigating and evaluating the profound sociocultural and medical-social problems that have been benchmarks of the U.S. health system.