While homicide is the leading cause of premature death among blacks, it is the 12th leading cause among whites. Yet, there is very little research devoted to black homicides, causing many to conclude that black lives matter but not as much as white lives.
Consider the factsA recent study evaluated the leading causes of death in 2015 by race in the United States. Researchers found that blacks accounted for 20 percent of the nearly 21.4 million potential years of life lost in 2015 even though they make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population. Further, they found that birth defects and suicides occur among blacks more than ten years earlier than whites. Yet funding for research on premature deaths focuses on whites, not blacks.
For example, in 2015 researchers found that heart disease is the leading cause of potential years of life lost among whites. This research was supported by 341 grants and almost 600 publications. On the other hand, homicide, which the leading cause of premature death among blacks, received support by only a few grants and publications.
Blacks affected more economically, too
Study author Molly Rosenberg points out another inequality regarding premature deaths among blacks compared to whites. Very often, the “loss of human potential can push families into poverty and societies toward heightened inequality,” she stated. Black families are more inclined to feel the affects of the loss of a family member to a greater degree, pushing them further into poverty.
Since homicide is the leading cause of death among blacks, it deserves more funding for public health research. Otherwise, we are perpetuating “a system that disadvantages the health of black Americans.” Black lives matter! Period.
For more information on black health disparities, visit www.medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_169115.html