Written by Elina Linner
Taxpayer-funded billboards in San Diego County blame discrimination and racism to occur long before their child is born. A former San Diego city council member and chairman of Reform California stated, “the big lie is that somehow America is filled with racism – when in fact, America has made so much progress on that issue.”
This ad campaign argues that Black women face discrimination and racism during their pregnancy and how it might discourage patients from seeking proper care. One of the billboards states that “Our black babies are nearly 60% more likely to be premature due to discrimination”. Another one claims that “Racism hurts your baby long before they’re born”.
Caitlyn Jenner is one of many who is furious about these lies. “For a public health agency to do this is quite offensive since not only does it establish division in the community, but also discourage African-Americans from trusting their doctors.” How will this encourage people to use the health care system?
The National Center for Health Statistics proves how this narrative is not supported by the data. Black babies are more likely to be born prematurely between 2017 and 2019- at a rate of 14% nationally and 12.2% in California. However, it lists no cause for that disparity. DeMaio claims “It is a false narrative and it is a false narrative that is being disseminated with our tax dollars.”
The program’s website argues that the disparity is based on only race. However, the main cause is poverty, education, and low income. The American Academy of Family Physicians mentions, “Poverty and low-income status are associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes, including shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality, and higher death rates for 14 leading causes of death.”
DeMaio is calling for the billboards to be taken down and states “We can damn well stop them from using our tax dollars to perpetuate the big lie.” Instead of using tax money for billboards, they should put it back into the pocket of Californians.