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Closing The Gap Between Race, Class and Wellness

Until recently, broader societal issues like racial discrimination have gone largely ignored within the wellness space. Even on this platform, I have not once discussed the interplay between race and wellness. The reason behind this being that I simply never thought to bring it up. Somewhere in the blend of dialogue about morning routines and green smoothie recipes, the topic of race was left behind. This is unfortunate, because race in our society plays a substantial role in one's ability to be mentally, physically and emotionally well and healthy. Factors such as the neighborhood that one lives in, generational wealth, and the diversity of people in wellness spaces can work to limit the accessibility of wellness to people of color.

That being said, it's important to state that I myself am a biracial woman of color, about equal parts African American and Western European. This has presented certain challenges for me in terms of wellness, for instance, I am usually one of the only, if not the only, brown person in the room at a yoga class or in a Whole Foods. Additionally, a lot of the loudest voices in the wellness world are coming from people who look nothing like me. This makes it harder to see where I might fit into this space. On the other hand, being half white has come with some privileges that I must acknowledge. I was raised solely by my mom's (white) side of the family. This translated to specific wellness-related benefits that I would not have reaped if I grew up with my dad, such as having access to grocery stores with healthy, affordable food options and a safe neighborhood to go for runs in.

We must also keep in mind that challenges of accessibility are not solely issues of racial discrimination but also that of class--both of which intersect heavily in the U.S due to an outdated system designed to concentrate power into the hands of Euro-Americans at the expense of non-white Americans who were tasked with building the backbone of the American economy. The challenges presented to an upper middle class person of color, for instance, will not be as severe as the adversity that a working class person of color will face. Ironically, because of this system and the impact that it has had on minority-dominant communities, it is more difficult for a person of color to move beyond a working class position in the first place.

I felt compelled to write about this because I believe wholeheartedly that wellness should not be a privilege reserved for an advantaged portion of the population, but rather something that everyone has access to. It has been nearly one year since I have last posted on here and considering the current state of the world, I would be doing a great injustice to what I believe in by ignoring the interplay between race, class and wellness. Transcending the barriers of race in the wellness industry means taking some of the prestige out of "wellness" and making it accessible to all members of society. In action this means expanding the presence of wellness-related businesses into inner cities, finding ways to enhance the affordability of wellness-related things like healthy food and gym memberships, and promoting diverse voices in the wellness space.

On here I will be committed to providing readers with the basics of wellness that are accessible to everyone. This means exercises that can be done with body weight alone or minimal equipment, routines that require little more than an investment of time, grocery hauls that are doable for someone shopping with an EBT card and mindset hacks that can expand your quality of life for free. I have experienced firsthand the way in which tapping into wellness can transform your world and I want this for everyone. I will do my part to take wellness off of a pedestal and make it something that feels doable for anyone who comes across this corner of the internet.

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