The tragic events unfolding in Ferguson, Mo., following the police shooting death of a young African-American man have ignited a national conversation around deeply rooted racial tensions in America. On Monday at Michael Brown’s funeral, where thousands of family, friends, civil rights leaders and residents gathered, came calls for justice and dignity for all families. But while Brown’s death is an anguishing reminder of racial profiling and police distrust—particularly among men of color—it is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg demonstrating how many factors shape institutional racism and structural discrimination against communities of color.
Missouri’s legacy of institutional racism extends far beyond law enforcement: Housing discrimination, economic disparities and reproductive oppression have long suppressed communities of color. Put together, these factors undermine reproductive autonomy for women of color, particularly the right to have children and to parent those children with the proper supports.This article was originally published in The Root.