Marisa Parham

66 :: Racism, stress, illness

Posted by on Sep 24 2007, in archive-me

Today the L.A. Times ran this story on correlations between racism, stress, and illness. It dovetails with some of the conversation we had around Epstein’s “Ghetto Miasma” piece, but is a little bit less narrative in its use of medical data. I strongly recommend reading this one when you get a chance.

What I found most interesting, however, are the comments people have left on the article. I spend a lot of time reading newspapers, etc., and am generally quite good at taking comments with a grain o’ salt. But these are pretty interesting in the way many refuse to believe anything in the article might be true (which is problematic if only because, in other parts of our national discourse, personal testimony rules).

And I’m not saying that the article is indeed airtight, or that there is no room for disagreement– but again, there is something particular about the way people are approaching this one that is quite interesting and problematic. Rather than go for its evidence, or its line of inquiry, many of the commenters go for its premise, which requires believing that racism is real.

You should check it out. Here are some key words: evidence, rhetoric, premises, negation, and audience.