Linda Villarosa directs the journalism program at the City College of New York and is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. Her article "Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis" was one of Longform's Top Ten of 2018. She is at work on a new book, Under the Skin: Race, Inequality and the Health of a Nation, due out in 2020.
“I think at the beginning I was afraid to say it right out, so I think I was saying ‘racial bias’ or something like that. Then I stopped. ... I think how I learned about it both in earlier reporting and in grad school and in my own research was that race is a risk factor for a bunch of different health problems, whether it’s heart disease, infant and maternal mortality, or HIV. It’s just said that race is a risk factor. It’s disproportionate. What it really is is that race is a risk factor, but it’s also a risk marker. Instead of looking at what individuals are doing wrong, it’s what society is doing wrong in creating problems for individual people which lead to health crisis. It’s sort of like bias, related to racism, is creating problems in people’s actual bodies. That’s what I came to understand. It really shifts the blame off the individual.”
- Villarosa on Longform
- [0:40] "Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis" (New York Times Magazine • Apr 2018)
- [5:00] "America’s Hidden H.I.V. Epidemic" (New York Times Magazine • Jun 2017)
- [13:20] "A CONVERSATION WITH: Phill Wilson; Speaking Out to Make AIDS an Issue of Color" (New York Times Magazine • Dec 2000)