"Stroke's No Joke": Race and the Cultural Coding of Stroke Risk

Beza Merid


Stroke is a leading cause of death in the US that disproportionately affects African Americans. In a 2009 PSA campaign, the American Stroke Association’s Stroke’s No Joke campaign collaborated with African American stand-up comedians to promote symptom recognition and discourage delays in care seeking among African Americans. Rather than frankly articulating their disproportionate incidence of and death from stroke, however, this campaign hailed African Americans and their stroke risk using an overly broad construction of blackness. This article joins the others in this special feature in examining how blackness becomes an object of knowledge production in medicine by considering how stroke risk becomes racially and culturally coded.


African American disease disparities; stroke; race; cultural competence; structural competence; knowledge production

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v2i2.103


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