Racism A Public Health Threat? Yes, Here’s Why.

Nabeel Mukati, Contributor

HIV-AIDS, foodborne outbreaks, opioids, and racism. What do all of these have in common? They have all been declared public health threats by Central Disease Control. Yes, racism has been deemed a public health threat. On April 12th, the CDC made it official that racism is a “serious” public health threat. 


“A growing body of research shows that centuries of racism in this country has had a profound and negative impact on communities of color”, Cdc.gov says, “data show that racial and ethnic minority groups, throughout the United States, experience higher rates of illness and deaths.”


Racism has been an ongoing theme in many problems. Racism Changes the way people think and live. Which can also lead to death.


Throughout our current pandemic; the CDC was exceptional, giving guidelines that restaurants and many people followed. Even to this day, we’ve been thorough in following the guidelines that CDC gave us during the coronavirus. But, the claim about racism being a public health threat by the CDC is completely ignored.

Some opposing views believe that Climate change, obesity, and oil spills, or other public health threats are a bigger ultimatum than racism. But, I disagree. Racism is a much bigger deal than the way we’re dealing with it.

People also believe that we should wait until other things in the world fix like climate change or unemployment. But, I disagree racism shouldn’t have to wait for other problems to be resolved.

I am a sixteen-year-old, brown-skinned Muslim teenager, and I have experienced racism since I can remember.

I’ve heard the word terrorist since I can remember. My first time was when I was in fourth grade.  Just talking to my friends. Then, some student in my classroom walks up and calls me a terrorist.

Although, this is supposed to be a bad story, maybe causing some trauma, I actually had fun all my friends stuck up for me. It really felt good not going to lie, when they started yelling at him.

Another occasion was in middle school. I was sitting down and just playing around enjoying the class. A kid behind me calls me a “bomber.” Me being defensive, I walked up to him and ask him do you know what that means. Well, he didn’t know about anything related to the event, and all he knew was the slur.

Recently, I haven’t dealt with anything like this. But, it’s worse to be called a slur when you’re younger than when you’re older.

The result of being called those words just opened my mind when I was younger about how people felt. It didn’t cause trauma but it definitely made me more aware of what was going on.

According to the CDC’s website, poverty and health care access, are intertwined and have an influence on people’s health and quality of life. It goes on to say that discrimination exists in the systems, and it particularly makes it difficult for people of color to have access to health care. 

Racism affects physical elements like health care. The ones facing poverty receive it late anyway. But, the minority groups have to wait longer which may affect death rates.

CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said “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.”

Essentially racism isn’t just an emotion it can affect where someone wants to live or how they live. This affects daily lives and thoughts.

“Black Americans die from COVID 37 percent more than Whites, Asians were 53% more likely to die, and Hispanics were 16 percent more likely to die.” From the Washington Post.

This means that minority groups have a much more likely chance to die from COVID than Whites. Yes, it is due to mental stability making the effects of racism more apparent than ever.

To end it off, I think the CDC making an announcement about racism is very beneficial for making change. the CDC is a very respected organization. I’m glad it was deemed a public health threat and I completely agree with the statement.