In October, MAC faculty Katherine Theall and Maeve Wallace and doctoral candidate Jessica Judson attended the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science annual meeting in Washington, DC. Along with colleagues Rachel Hardeman from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Justin Feldman, New York University School of Medicine, they presented their research on a panel entitled Landing upon the Body: Racism as Violence in the US. The objective of the panel was to emphasize structural racism as both a cause of violence and a form of violence in and of itself.
Two presentations focused on law-enforcement related deaths. Justin Feldman presented his findings of a US-wide, multilevel study to examine the association between rates of police killings and neighborhood measures of racial/ethnic and economic segregation. Jessica Judson presented on theories underlying excessive police violence and explored associations between county-level structural measures of threat and the size of the black-white disparity in lethal police violence.
Two additional presentations focused on pregnant and postpartum women’s health. Maeve Wallace shared some preliminary findings from ongoing work to identify relationships between contextual determinants of violent death during pregnancy and postpartum including structural racism, racial and economic segregation, and income inequality. Finally Rachel Hardeman presented powerful excerpts from her qualitative work with women who were pregnant and living in a North Minneapolis community that experienced a high-profile incident of police brutality to tell the story of structural racism as violence on Black motherhood.
Katherine Theall moderated the panel, opening with a quote from Ta-Nehisi Coats’ Between the World and Me: “Our phrasing – race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy – serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. The sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land, with great violence, upon the body.”