When Racism Anchors Your Health
Racism Anchors Your Health
I remember standing next to my mother and my aunt in a drab hospital waiting room in Summit, New Jersey, when the nurse delivered a diagnosis.
They’d found a mass in my grandmother’s brain. It was cancerous and aggressive—a glioblastoma, they called it—so they’d have to operate.
It was the same type of cancer that John McCain had. My grandmother, however, is not a white man, so her journey would inevitably be a little different.
My grandmother, Louise Kennedy Evans Elder, grew up in the 40s and 50s during Jim Crow in the heat of Spartanburg, South Carolina. She remembers playing with chickens in her backyard as a child.
“It was what we used to do for fun,” she tells me. “We were poor, but my parents never let us know we were poor. My mother would make our clothes and my father made sure we never wanted for anything. I wish they pushed education, but my folks weren’t educated people, so they did the best they could with what they had.”