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Medical Apartheid

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Racism entails the belief that some races are superior to others in society. From as early as the colonial era, racism in the United States of America has been a crucial issue. Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Mexican etc were all considered as the minority groups. Racism has many forms. However, no one is born a racist. This develops from the environment from which children grow into. Washington exposed the mistreatments and injustice African Americans were exposed to in an attempt to make advancement s in the world of medicine. Through her meticulous research, she unraveled the unethical practices early doctors practiced in order to find answers to ailments that were problematic to the white race.

Washington, in her book, talks about the advancements, experienced in medicine. The setting of the book is during the slave era when doctors had permission to experiment on slaves. Washington depicts doctors as unfriendly and evil where they used other humans to perform experiments without considering the implication of their actions. During that era, whites were considered superior to blacks; the experiments conducted only improved their lives, as opposed to the black person’s life. The black Americans have suffered for a long time as a result of poor health issues that up to date have never been solved. As Washington states in her book, the past discrimination against the African Americans has been the key cause of unequal levels of health services and treatment experienced today.

Racism in America has been a crucial issue ever since the slave and the colonial era. Legally endorsed racial discrimination imposed a grave burden on African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Asian Americans. The main racially structured institutions at the time included Indian wars, slavery, segregation, Native American reservations, internment camps and residential schools (for Native Americans. In America, official racial bias was largely prohibited in the mid-20th century; moreover, it came to be viewed as socially intolerable.  However, racial politics remained a vital phenomenon in American territory. Historical racism up to date has continued to be perceived in socio-economic inequality. Nevertheless, racial stratification continued to take place in all avenues, in society including government, housing, employment, housing, lending, and education and health sectors. As is the case in most countries, many people in the United States of America continue to harbor some discrimination against individuals from other races. Discrimination infiltrates almost all aspects of life in America, and it further extends to all communities of color.

Washington in her book focuses in the theme of poverty and racial discrimination. Here, the slaves were poor African Americans who had no voice in the society. She talks about the sharecroppers who at one time suffered from Syphilis but did not get any treatment because they were black. She also talks about how black people were perceived as useless, and the whites purchased them from market places for the sole purpose of experimentation. These doctors exposed the blacks to radiation, fire and all sorts of deadly substances for the sake of progressing medicine. The most chilling study conducted was that of Dr. J. Marion Sims. The Alabama surgeon was the first to repair gynecological fistulae. This was an extremely painful condition that affected women and made them lose bladder control. To achieve this, he constantly experimented on slave women without using anesthesia during the surgeries. The African Americans were always associated with poverty. This is because they were brought into America as slaves to work in plantations. This mentality held on in the minds of men, and up to date, racism is still prevalent in America.

Another theme brought out in the book is malpractice where doctors use their mandate to exploit their patients. The slaves were experimented on, and some of them eventually died. This brought about distrust between the white doctors and the black patients. This has continued over the years up to date.

Another theme in the book is pain and suffering. This was especially common and severe for women who still had to care for their families alongside the harsh living conditions they were exposed to as slaves. Suffering is also evident where slaves and other minor groups of people were exposed to harmful substances for research purposes. Women in the general area weaker species to men a they are best suited for subtle work, however, as slaves, the women were forced to work just as hard as men.

Racism and discrimination are also a key theme in the book. The African Americans were discriminated because of their color.  Although other minority groups were discriminated, the blacks had the worst experience because they were not only poor but also considered valueless in the eyes of the white man. Leaders, like Nelson Mandela and Barrack Obama, have fought hard to ensure this notion is utterly forgotten.

As a health worker, Washington gained access to medical journals that told of the suffering the African Americans underwent in the hands of the doctors. She condemns the doctors who were stood aside and let poor blacks suffer the Tuskegee study for failing to control the spread of syphilis, yet they had the means to contain it. According to the medical literature, the experiments were conducted in the e past and despite the numerous change the society has experienced, blacks still do not trust doctors hence they get poor quality health services than the whites.

The objective of writing the book was, to improve the health standards of the black people. However, critics believe the book will achieve just the opposite and widen the health divide that has been in existence over the years. Social workers have been of much help in the society because they identify problem areas in the society and they assist in correcting the problem. Washington discovered that there existed some issues that resulted in poor health for black people. To solve this, she researched the root of the problem and through this book; she attempts to seal this rift between blacks and whites in health care. Social workers have also helped marginalized people to access services that would otherwise be inaccessible.  In addition, help the marginalized people to feel safe in a society that ignores them as well as their needs. They ensure the marginalized people have safe homes, adequate basic needs and the best medical services available. In other words, social workers represent the voice of the marginalized people in society.

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