Black Infant Mortality

More to Think About: Black Infant Mortality

Read the entire article here.   By Linda Villarosa

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from “The Hidden Toll,” the cover story in the NY Times Sunday magazine.
Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel. In one year, that racial gap adds up to more than 4,000 lost black babies. Education and income offer little protection. In fact, a black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.
This tragedy of black infant mortality is intimately intertwined with another tragedy: a crisis of death and near death in black mothers themselves. The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world where the rate of maternal mortality — the death of a woman related to pregnancy or childbirth up to a year after the end of pregnancy — is now worse than it was 25 years ago. Each year, an estimated 700 to 900 maternal deaths occur in the United States.
In addition, the C.D.C. reports more than 50,000 potentially preventable near-deaths, like Landrum’s, per year — a number that rose nearly 200 percent from 1993 to 2014, the last year for which statistics are available. Black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts, according to the C.D.C. — a disproportionate rate that is higher than that of Mexico, where nearly half the population lives in poverty — and as with infants, the high numbers for black women drive the national numbers.

The crisis of maternal death and near-death also persists for black women across class lines. This year, the tennis star Serena Williams shared in Vogue the story of the birth of her first child and in further detail in a Facebook post. The day after delivering her daughter, Alexis Olympia, via C-section in September, Williams experienced a pulmonary embolism, the sudden blockage of an artery in the lung by a blood clot.

3 Women Scientists Whose Discoveries Were Credited to Men

3 Women Scientists Whose Discoveries Were Credited to Men

Here’s a look at three women scientists who were trailblazers during a time when men dominated the field of science.
 Rosalind Franklin Photo Courtesy Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage Images via Wikipedia.org  Rosalind Franklin   Probably the most well-known of these women is Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920 –1958). Franklin was an English chemist whose work led to the discovery of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). But her role in this revolutionary finding would go largely unrecognized until after her death. In fact, even though Franklin herself obtained the very first image of DNA fibers using X-ray crystallography and she had several working papers describing the structural qualities of DNA in progress, her yet-to-be-published discovery was shared with others (unbeknownst to her). And in 1953, American biologist James D. Watson(born April 6, 1928) and English physicist Francis Crick (1916 – 2004) took credit for the discovery of the three-dimensional double helix structure of DNA in their published article “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid” in the 171st volume of Nature. Although they included a footnote acknowledging that they were “stimulated by a general knowledge” of Franklin’s unpublished contributions, it was Watson and Crick who went on to receive a Nobel Prize in 1962.
 Chien-Shiung Wu Photo Courtesy Smithsonian Institution via Wikimedia Commons Chien-Shiung Wu     A similar set of events occurred when Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997), a Chinese-American female experimental physicist, upended a law of physics but her findings were credited to two male theoretical physicists, Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang, who initially approached Wu to help disprove the law of parity (the quantum mechanics law that held that two physical systems, such as atoms, are mirror images that behave in identical ways). Wu’s experiments using cobalt-60, a radioactive form of the cobalt metal, overturned this law which led to a Nobel Prize for Yang and Lee in 1957, although Wu was excluded.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell Photo By Roger W Haworth (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons Jocelyn Bell Burnell  (born July 15, 1943), an Irish astrophysicist, discovered the first radio pulsars as a 24-year-old postgraduate student in Cambridge on November 28, 1967. While analyzing data printed out on three miles of paper from a radio telescope she helped assemble, Bell noticed a signal that was pulsing with great regularity and strength.Despite having been the first to ever observe a pulsar, Bell Burnell was largely excluded from the initial accompanying accolades associated with this discovery. In fact, her supervisor, Antony Hewish would go on to earn a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974 (along Martin Ryle) while Bell Burnell was excluded.

Another “she persisted” moment?

Another “she persisted” moment?

GOP panel chairman scolds Kamala Harris about ‘courtesy’ after she grills deputy AG on Russia probe

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was scolded by a Republican committee chairman Wednesday as she grilled law enforcement and intelligence officials on the Russia probe.

The California Democrat sought assurances from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein that he would allow special counsel Robert Mueller to fully and independently investigate possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

“You indicated in your statement that you chose a person who exercises a ‘degree’ of independence — not full independence — from the normal chain of command,” Harris said.

Then Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) broke in and asked the committee chairman to direct Harris to let Rosenstein speak.

“Are you willing or are you not willing to give him the authority to be fully independent of your ability, statutorily and legally, to fire him?” Harris said. “Yes or no, sir?”

Rosenstein said regulations gave Mueller full independence, and Harris again asked if he could give his assurance in writing, as his predecessors had — and the committee chairman interrupted her.

“Would the senator suspend?” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The chair is going to exercise its right to allow the witnesses to answer the question, and the committee is on notice to provide the witnesses the courtesy, which has not been extended all of the way across, the courtesy for questions to get answered.”

Harris pointed out that Rosenstein had joked about his ability to filibuster, and the deputy attorney general interjected to say he had not been joking.

Rosenstein then gave a lengthy answer, as Harris’s time for questions ran out, without offering explicit testimony that he would offer written assurance of Mueller’s independence.

“So is that a no?” Harris said, as the chairman called on the next senator for questioning.

Photo: Sen. Kamala Harris (MSNBC)

Sexism in Olympic Coverage

TV Networks Under Fire for Sexism in Olympic Coverage

Last week, Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú shattered world records with her gold-medal-winning performance in the women’s 400-meter individual medley at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. But an NBC reporter quickly deflated her victory by giving her husband and coach, Shane Tusup, credit for the win saying he’s “the guy responsible” for her victory and it’s “impossible” to speak on Hosszú’s success without crediting him. This type of sexist treatment aimed at female athletes is far too common and stems from the idea that female athletes should be treated as anomalies. Read more here and watch video in sidebar.

Not in the UCC of Course…

Many of the largest religious denominations in America, including Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and the Southern Baptist Convention, don’t allow women to be ordained into the priesthood or hold the top leadership positions within the church.  And even within the religious organizations that do allow women to lead, it’s rare for women to serve at the very top. (The UCC had our first woman president in 2000 what?) Sojourners, a faith-based social justice organization, released a video on Tuesday that took a satirical look at this nearly 2,000-year-old trend. See video HERE.

The Oppressed Majority: A Poignant French Short Film about a World in Which Men Are Subject to Sexism

The Oppressed Majority: A Poignant French Short Film about a World in Which Men Are Subject to Sexism

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A tragicomic day in the life of a man who struggles for equality in a mirror-image society dominated by women.

“Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers,” NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam wrote in his extraordinary exploration of society’s hidden biases, “[and] those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine.”

Watch this amazing video below. Warning: for mature audiences only. French with English subtitles.