562: The Problem We All Live With
This American Life is a podcast program with the capacity of embedding powerful story into conversation. Whether heart-warming or breaking, TAL has a penchant for asking hard questions and brilliantly evoking narrative that keeps their estimated 2.2 million listeners, listening. The latest episode, titled “562: The Problem We All Live With,” is among its best. We are provided with an uncomfortably astute lens into American School Systems, one that points to systemic racism as the antagonist of this story; however, the bigger picture comes down to an unconscious cultural belief that sufficient access to the social determinants of health belong solely to the privileged white.
Social determinants are the fundamental needs each person requires to live a healthy life: education, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, a school bus to ride in, to name a few. The objective should be to build strong social systems. In my humble opinion, the Normandy kids were doomed from the get-go. Fighting against stigma and status quo under the care of jaded educators and administrators, jettisoned into a school system, the school district was a financial and administrative pariah. No one had time or money to invest into these kids–nor into their communities. This one is painfully real as much as it is thought-provoking.