Omission of Indian rates in pregnancy report is racism

October 23, 2013

To the Editor,

The Robesonian’s headline that read “County’s teen pregnancy rate dips” got my attention to see what success had been reached. The article was well written and informative.

Mr. Bill Smith, director of Health for Robeson County, did a great job explaining why some of the numbers may be a little misleading. But one thing became extremely clear as I read the statistics for specific target populations in that the black-white-Hispanic color coding that is prevalent throughout the nation is alive and well in North Carolina and here in Robeson County. This article demonstrates the level of racism that continues to affect the Native American community.

There were no numbers for Native Americans, who make up, according to the 2010 Census, 39 percent of the county’s total population, 54,198 people. But specific numbers can be given for the Hispanic population, which is recorded at 8.2 percent, 11,110. That is simply confounding.

If one of the other minority groups covered were not counted and given due disclosure, people would be up in arms. There would be talk of discrimination, Jim Crow law would be invoked and immigration reform would be screamed from the roof tops.

For the North Carolina Department of Health to release a report that goes to great length to show the pregnancy rates for white, blacks and Hispanics but not for Native Americans is an insult and this is a blatant form of racism that frankly we as taxpaying citizens should not take.

The Rev. Dwayne Lowry