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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Structural Racism and Supporting Black Lives — The Role of Health Professionals

Rachel R. Hardeman, Eduardo M. Medina, and Katy B. Kozhimannil
The New England Journal of Medicine
Originally posted October 12, 2016

Here is an excerpt:

Structural racism, the systems-level factors related to, yet distinct from, interpersonal racism, leads to increased rates of premature death and reduced levels of overall health and well-being. Like other epidemics, structural racism is causing widespread suffering, not only for black people and other communities of color but for our society as a whole. It is a threat to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of every person in a society that allocates privilege on the basis of race.  We believe that as clinicians and researchers, we wield power, privilege, and responsibility for dismantling structural racism — and we have a few recommendations for clinicians and researchers who wish to do so.

First, learn about, understand, and accept the United States’ racist roots. Structural racism is born of a doctrine of white supremacy that was developed to justify mass oppression involving economic and political exploitation.3 In the United States, such oppression was carried out through centuries of slavery premised on the social construct of race.

Our historical notions about race have shaped our scientific research and clinical practice. For example, experimentation on black communities and the segregation of care on the basis of race are deeply embedded in the U.S. health care system.

The article is here.