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As an early intervention, pediatricians must talk to their patients about racism

Pediatricians believe in prevention and early intervention, and should talk about racism just as they talk about vaccination, exercise, and healthy eating.
Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to attend an all-white public elementary school in the South, said, “Racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it.” Pediatricians can help accomplish that.

As an African-American physician who has experienced the effects of racism, I should be comfortable talking about it. I’m not — but I need to be.

That feeling was reinforced by a horrifying news story from the New Hampshire community where I work as a pediatrician. The mother of an 8-year-old biracial boy said he had nearly been lynched by some white teenagers. The image his mother posted on social media before driving him to the hospital where I work showed rope burns on his neck consistent with being hung.

I can’t help

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