Jasienska Slavery

1638 Words 7 Pages
A critical Review of Jasienska. G, 2009, Low Birth Rate of Contemporary African Americans: An Intergenerational Effect of Slavery? American Journal of Human Biology. This article’s aim is to analyses slavery as being a lasting intergenerational effect on the low birth weights of modern African Americans. The article succeeds in its analysis through its identification of racial disparity in birth weight being social and environmental causes not genetic. Also a success is its use of other contextually relevant example of Dutch famine women of WWII with lots of supporting evidence. The article’s weakness’s are

The core purpose of this article is to analyze the role slavery of African Americans has had in the lower birth weights of present-day
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The uncertainty is whether this value varies seasonally with increase and decrease in available food. How this value is quantified causes some variability as each plantation would have different values and food available depending on its crop successfulness. What s not described is the effect on women during this time, in low yielding periods women would receive even smaller nutritional portions (Morgan, K, 2006) how would this impact the fetus during development and the health of the women during this …show more content…
This is a strength of the article as in the evidence of the Dutch women was the effect of the famine affecting in the third trimester the birth weights of immediate offspring but was also demonstrable in later offspring generations. Lower birth weights were evident in the granddaughter’s generation of the women experiencing the famine effects firsthand (Lumey, L and Stein, A 2000). Although the effect was reduced in the subsequent generations the negative effect on birth weight was still observable. This difference was observed is in epigenetic DNA alterations present 60 years later (Wells, J, 2010). This was due to improving conditions of the mothers in each generation most likely alongside expedited catch up growth during infancy. It provided evidence for the lower birth weights being an environmental because of indicative evidence in additional studies showing multigenerational tendencies (Kuzawa, C and Sweet, E, 2009). This was compared to the similarity in the situation of the slave women who experienced high energetic demands and increased workloads in the last periods of pregnancy who also had low birth weights of offspring. This link provided good supporting evidence to the main hypothesis of slavery being a causal intergenerational

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