February 25, 2021
by Angela Mickens, RN, BSN, Black Women 4 Healthy Living Board Member

GUEST BLOG: Health Disparities & African American Children

Discrimination of any kind has a negative impact on everyone; however, it has the most profound impact on the health and development of children. African American children especially experience a number of Early Childhood Development gaps. As children grow it is essential to have conversations about their culture and encourage positive affirmation. Start today by saying the affirmations below with your kids!

  • I love myself!
  • I love every single thing!
  • From the color of my skin to my soul’s energy!
  • I love myself! 

Black children experiencing discrimination is harmful to their mental state. When they see so much disapproval about people that look like them; in turn they develop disapproval about themselves.      

  • Age 3: children recognize skin color and by age 4 they are aware of racial stereotypes through TV and Media.
  • Age 7: children know that the skin color they have is not going to change.
  • Age 9: children are aware of their own cultural differences and how it is valued in society.
  • Age 12: children explore cultural identity by favoring people who look like them and sorting themselves out.  

Black children experience symptoms of cultural and racial identity rejection that include but not limited to self-hate, self-harm, and anxiety. These reactions can contribute to childhood obesity, suicide, neglect, heart disease, malnutrition, and mental illness. 

Having these conversations at home and educating those around us is a first step in fostering the health and development of Black children. 

“There is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

-Amanda Gorman, American Poet


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