The impact of Racism on health

During this Reconciliation week, we cannot overlook the constant racism that is faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

I have seen on twitter, comments from those who say that no apology is needed. A commentator talking about an Aboriginal Senator and walk about. This constant bombardment of hate and ignorance has an effect on us.

We have had the psychological impact research and reported on many times over the years . If you want a quick summary of this Check out NACCHO

Why should we be treated like second class citizens? Why should our humanity be overlooked in the name of supremacy?

Imagine you deal with racism everyday. that it isn’t a luxury that enters your mind when you do diversity training or cultural awareness training. What are the impacts on your mind and your soul, when you face every day the anger, annoyance and misunderstanding and hatred of those who hold the power? Then put yourself in the shoes of a terminally sick patient.

How would you cope if you were facing cancer or any other major illness and you didn’t just have to worry about your health and your family, you had to worry about if you would get the right treatment because of your skin colour. You have to face the opposition of those who will tell you your beliefs are wrong and not aligned with the majority.

You cannot just put all your energies into getting well. You worry about if you are going to be treated like other patients. If you are going to have to face the hurdles of racism. The littlest thing can have a huge impact. Little things like urine testing and having a nurse in the toilet with you to make sure you don’t put blood in the sample, so that you can get stronger drugs. Yes the implication there is that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use the hospital system to get drugs.  Many Of Australia’s Original people face time in a hospital emergency without pain relief, again with the mistaken belief that we are all out to get drugs.

So many of my people have had bad experiences in hospitals, because of racism. It is not just the individual being racist, it is the institution being racist. The dare I say it racial profiling of people, has meant people are denied medications, denied hospital beds, because you see, we are all drunks and only need to sleep it of. But for many that is the long eternal sleep that happens.

I guess I want the medical institutions and the individuals to think about other people and their humanity. Think about the reality of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons life. Maybe put themselves in the others shoes and then see how they would like to be treated.



About proudblacksista

An Aboriginal woman. mother of 4 diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour 7 years ago.I want to share my story to help others. I am working to help other Aboriginal people face the battles of Cancer. Email me with your stories or concerns at View all posts by proudblacksista

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