Striking racial differences in health and their persistence over time are not acts of God. Neither can they be understood as simply reflecting racial differences in individual behavior or biology. Instead, considerable evidence suggests that they reflect, in large part, the successful implementation of specific policies. Racism has been responsible for the development of an organized system of polices and practices designed to create racial inequalities. … Racial differences in health importantly reflect the impact of the social environment and the accumulation of adversity across multiple domains. Efforts to improve the health of racial minority group members and reduce racial disparities in health may have to be equally comprehensive in the implementation of strategies that address the fundamental underlying causes of these disparities.
—David R. Williams, Race, SES, and Health: The Added Effects of Racism and Discrimination