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Reproductive InjusticeRacism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth$
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Dana-Ain Davis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479812271

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479812271.001.0001

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Into the NICU

Into the NICU

(p.59) 2 Into the NICU
Reproductive Injustice

Dána-Ain Davis

NYU Press

This chapter offers ethnographic insight into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), a space that is largely inaccessible to the general population. The chapter describes the physical space of the NICU. Parents reveal how they felt about having their newborn infants admitted to the NICU and the varying degrees of racism that saturated the experiences of some, but not all, parents. Most parents interpret their experience through the lens of medical racism. At the very least they understand that if it were not for a particular mediating factor, such as having a connection to the medical field, they likely would have been subjected to racist medical encounters. This chapter also examines how mostly white neonatologists respond to questions related to race and adverse birth outcomes and finds that, for most, class replaces race as the explanatory factor for understanding premature births.

Keywords:   neonatal intensive care unit, NICU, class, neonatologists, medical encounters

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