Blackness and decay

Black health matters, intersectionality and gaps in oral health, and tobacco-related disparities research


  • Tashelle B. Wright University of California, Merced


Black health, oral health, tobacco use, intersectionality, Black Health Matters, research article


Black Health Matters is an emerging movement that emphasizes inequalities in health outcomes faced by Black individuals and communities by addressing the layers of discrimination and how this impacts health. This movement is a Black health social justice movement connecting with law, policy, research, and practice. Black populations are often at the forefront of health disparity conversations, as they often suffer the most outstanding health inequities, despite educational attainment and socioeconomic status (SES). The purpose of this study is to explore the Black Health Matters movement theoretically through the lens of intersectionality and oral health and tobacco use because health inequities in Black health are multidimensional and go beyond just race. Health disparity studies usually focus on race or ethnicity, SES, age, and gender differences. Yet, most do not analyze where these categories intersect and how this might affect health outcomes and intervention effectiveness. Black populations are often forgotten (oral health) or specially targeted (tobacco), perpetuating health inequities. It is necessary to acknowledge the existence of intersecting identities and social categories as a step towards understanding and addressing health inequities in a broader context instead of the traditional method of placing individuals and populations in a best-fit box.

Author Biography

Tashelle B. Wright, University of California, Merced

Tashelle B. Wright is a Dalla Lana School of Public Health Black postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on tobacco use, oral health, and COVID-19 related inequities and injustices among under-resourced and underserved populations (ie.e., older adults, Black, Hmong, and Latinx). Tashelle holds a PhD in public health from the University of California, Merced.



How to Cite

Wright, T. B. (2022). Blackness and decay: Black health matters, intersectionality and gaps in oral health, and tobacco-related disparities research. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 12(1), 89–102. Retrieved from