An enduring remnant of colonialism is the notion that global development challenges are confined to the poorer countries in the Global South. The profound human development challenges in countries with higher levels of material wealth are on full display as the United States struggles with its painful history and current reality of racial injustice against people of color. The disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on poor communities and people of color exposes the reality that global development challenges are indeed universal.
In this episode, I speak with the three co-founders of the Duke Decolonizing Global Health working group at Duke University – Laura Mkumba, Yadurshini Raveendran and Andrea Koris. Although this conversation was recorded prior to the brutal murder of George Floyd and the current protests for racial equity and justice in the United States, the observations and ideas these three perceptive graduate students shared are hauntingly relevant to the demands for justice in the United States today. We discuss how to lean out and give voice to grassroots leaders, understand our own positions of privilege and recognize the importance of cultural context to public health work. The concept of decolonizing global health pushes us to question how to dismantle those aspects of existing systems that still reflect the legacy and biases of colonization.
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