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Am J Public Health. 2010 Oct;100(10):1831-4. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.186445. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

The myth of meritocracy and African American health.

Author information

1
Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

Recent theoretical and empirical studies of the social determinants of health inequities have shown that economic deprivation, multiple levels of racism, and neighborhood context limit African American health chances and that African Americans' poor health status is predicated on unequal opportunity to achieve the American Dream. President Obama's election has been touted as a demonstration of American meritocracy-the belief that all may obtain the American Dream-and has instilled hope in African Americans. However, we argue that in the context of racism and other barriers to success, meritocratic ideology may act as a negative health determinant for African Americans.

PMID:
20724679
PMCID:
PMC2936997
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2009.186445
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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