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Black and Blue

Black and Blue: The Origins and Consequences of Medical Racism

Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Black and Blue
    Book Description:

    Black & Blueis the first systematic description of how American doctors think about racial differences and how this kind of thinking affects the treatment of their black patients. The standard studies of medical racism examine past medical abuses of black people and do not address the racially motivated thinking and behaviors of physicians practicing medicine today.Black & Bluepenetrates the physician's private sphere where racial fantasies and misinformation distort diagnoses and treatments. Doctors have always absorbed the racial stereotypes and folkloric beliefs about racial differences that permeate the general population. Within the world of medicine this racial folklore has infiltrated all of the medical sub-disciplines, from cardiology to gynecology to psychiatry. Doctors have thus imposed white or black racial identities upon every organ system of the human body, along with racial interpretations of black children, the black elderly, the black athlete, black musicality, black pain thresholds, and other aspects of black minds and bodies. The American medical establishment does not readily absorb either historical or current information about medical racism. For this reason, racial enlightenment will not reach medical schools until the current race-aversive curricula include new historical and sociological perspectives.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95184-6
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1. The Nature of Medical Racism: The Origins and Consequences of Medical Racism
    (pp. 1-17)

    The idea that discredited (and even disgraceful) ideas about racial differences might play a role in medical diagnosis and treatment is a possibility that some doctors find profoundly disturbing. The racially biased treatment of patients would appear to be a grievous violation of medical ethics and a direct threat to the dignity of the profession. Yet, in the course of the last two decades, the medical literature has published hundreds of peer-reviewed studies that point to racially motivated decisions by physicians either to deny appropriate care to black patients or to inflict on them extreme procedures (such as amputations) that...

  5. 2. Black Patients and White Doctors
    (pp. 18-70)

    The ongoing medical calamity experienced by the African American population since the Emancipation of 1865 has never provoked the public outrage or the political mobilizations associated with other forms of racial injustice and suffering. Jim Crow segregation, the repression of black voting rights, the demoralizing poverty of the inner cities, and police brutality against blacks have all galvanized movements or urban uprisings. A professed concern about the state of the black family produced the Million Man March of 1995 and the enormous publicity that surrounded it. Yet comparable expressions of protest against the traumatic medical history black Americans endure have...

  6. 3. Medical Consequences of Racializing the Human Organism
    (pp. 71-145)

    The racializing of medical thinking is the process that translates the racial folklore circulating in the larger society into a medical doctrine of perceived (and usually imaginary) racial differences. The racializing of the human organism has a logic that conforms to the fundamental principles of Western racial doctrine referred to previously. The first of these principles posits the complexity of the civilized versus the simplicity of the primitive. The second (and related) principle posits thehardinessof the primitive versus thedelicacyof the civilized. Medical distinctions between ″white″ and ″black″ disorders developed over time as scientists and physicians made...

  7. 4. Medical Apartheid, Internal Colonialism, and the Task of American Psychiatry
    (pp. 146-197)

    This section of the book presents two related topics: the African American medical condition as a form of ″internal colonialism″ and how American psychiatry has treated African Americans over the past century. This exploration of American ″internal colonialism″ and its consequences for white psychiatrists and black patients precedes the book′s analysis of race and American psychiatry for three reasons. First, the comprehensive demoralization that inheres in the colonial experience makes colonial status a state of mind and an emotional complex as well as an economic and political condition. The most dramatic description of the emotional predicaments in which colonial subjects...

  8. 5. A Medical School Syllabus on Race
    (pp. 198-234)

    ″It is an open secret that physicians dislike certain patients,″ a team of medical authors wrote inJAMAin 1979.¹ This oblique reference to the emotional vulnerabilities of physicians, and to the medical consequences of misjudgments and misconduct that can result from the dysfunctional personality traits or beliefs of doctors, opened a door through which not many medical authors have chosen to step. What is more, those who have stepped over the threshold into this territory have demonstrated a reluctance to penetrate too far into aterra incognitathat presents a clear threat to the self-image of the medical profession....

  9. Notes
    (pp. 235-278)
  10. Index
    (pp. 279-293)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 294-294)