An article by Katharine Whittemore entitled “The Reason is Racism” was recently featured on Amherst College’s news page. The piece delves into the current maternal and infant health crisis in the U.S. and provides insights from the Amherst College course Race, Culture, and Reproductive taught by Professor Haile Cole.
“Cole, a mother of two, has focused her research on her native Texas, which has the highest maternal mortality rate among black women in the U.S. and the developed world. At the College, she now teaches “Culture, Race and Reproductive Health.” The curriculum includes material on Native American and Hmong women, as well as African-American women. The students learn via spirited class discussions, reading widely, watching films, writing essays and blog posts, and collaborating to create topical zines.
If the Times story made black women’s health disparities a “hot topic,” this is a “hot course.” About 85 students from the Five Colleges tried to enroll, and Cole had to cap it at 35.
In November, I headed to Webster Hall to sit in on a class. That day, the students watched part of a TV series called Unnatural Causes. The episode, When the Bough Breaks, purposefully chronicled the experiences of several black professional women, highly educated and financially secure. Counterintuitively, researchers found, the higher a black woman climbs in the workplace, the more she is surrounded by white co-workers and clients, and thus encounters more stereotype threat, and the more her racism-influenced stress rises…”
Learn more about the topic and read the full article here.