Pregnant black woman
Photo: Darya Komarova via Getty Images

Black women die during childbirth “because we are not important enough," healthcare advocate says

Global news anchor Mara S. Campo led the episode titled “Black Women’s Maternal Medical Neglect and Examining Anti-Black Rhetoric.”

  /  02.13.2023
What Is Being Done To Ensure Pregnant Black Women Give Birth Safely And In The Right Hands?
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What Is Being Done To Ensure Pregnant Black Women Give Birth Safely And In The Right Hands?

00:09:17

“REVOLT Black News Weekly” aired on Friday (Feb. 10) to discuss racial disparities in health, and why people are not canceled after making anti-Black statements. Global news anchor Mara S. Campo led the episode titled “Black Women’s Maternal Medical Neglect and Examining Anti-Black Rhetoric.”

She was joined by health equity advocate Wanda Irving, certified nurse midwife Angelina Ruffin-Alexander, journalist Jasmyne A. Cannick, and human rights activist Kevin Powell. REVOLT entertainment correspondent Kennedy Rue McCullough also brought viewers up to speed by hosting a segment called “Keeping up with the Karens” where she interviewed National Geographic host Christian Cooper about life after his viral encounter with Amy Cooper aka Central Park Karen in 2020.

Campo opened the show by discussing the case of April Valentine, a 31-year-old woman who died during childbirth in a hospital in Inglewood, California on Jan. 10. Valentine’s family is demanding an investigation into her death citing the Centinela Hospital staff was negligent and breached their duty of care.

The deceased’s cousin Mykesha Mack told REVOLT, “We’ve heard countless stories about Centinela’s neglectful practices…we want an independent investigation done on this hospital.” She added, “We want Dr. Gwen Allen’s license. You make an oath to take care of the patients in your care.”

Campo led a round table discussion with Irving and Ruffin-Alexander to address racial discrimination in health care. Irving lost her 35-year-old daughter while she was recovering from childbirth. Her daughter knew something was wrong, but was not taken seriously by medical staff.

She believes Black women are often ignored “because of racism and it is built into the foundation of healthcare in America.” The advocate added, “They don’t listen, they don’t hear, they don’t believe, and they don’t act because we are not important enough for them to act.”

Ruffin-Alexander chimed in and stated that Black women are requesting midwives or doulas to assist in their pregnancies because they need someone to speak up on their behalf. “There’s a lack of trust. We no longer can trust the doctor to believe us. We no longer can trust the nurses to hear us,” she asserted.

Next, Campo tackled anti-Blackness and the lack of criticism individuals face when they make controversial remarks that hurt Black Americans.

In 2022, Kanye West was canceled after making anti-Semitic comments that upset the Jewish community. However, Campo stated that in recent years the Chicago artist has made anti-Black statements like “slavery was a choice” or recently wearing a white lives matter shirt, yet he did not receive much criticism from the Black community.

She spoke with Cannick who claims there is a lack of accountability because the Black community is divided. “There’s no wiggle room when it comes to anti-Semitic rhetoric…you will not find half of the Jewish population saying it is okay to call us that name,” she argued.

Cannick continued, “But, we as Black people, we can’t even figure out what to call ourselves. Some of us want to be Black. Some of us want to be African-American. Some of us just want to be the N-word. We can’t even decide on how to refer to ourselves much less hold each other accountable.”

In another instance, a photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones emerged last year showing the then-14-year-old in a compromising position. The 1957 picture shows Jones with a group of teenage boys who tried to prevent six Black students from entering an Arkansas high school. The groups’ actions followed the 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregated schools unconstitutional.

Powell says Black people tend to be very forgiving and that “Jerry Jones…is also the same person who said to his players, if you do what other players are doing around the Colin Kaepernick protests, you’re going to be in trouble.”

Later in the show, McCullough hosted her “Entertainment Remix” segment where she spoke with Cooper about how the racist Central Park incident changed his life.

“It gave me an opportunity to talk about a lot of things that I think needed to be talked about. The bias, the undercurrent bias that runs through everything here,” he disclosed.

After the ordeal, Cooper landed a show on National Geographic titled “Extraordinary Birder,” which is slated to air this spring. He hopes the show “will open a lot of young kids’ eyes, Black kids’ eyes to say this is something I can do too.”

Be sure to catch new installments of “REVOLT Black News Weekly” every Friday at 5 p.m. ET via REVOLT’s app.

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