A chronicle of racism: the effects of the white medical community on black health

No Thumbnail Available
Charatz-Litt, Cynthia
Charatz-Litt, Cynthia (1992) A chronicle of racism: the effects of the white medical community on black health. Journal of the National Medical Association, 84 (8). pp. 717-725.
At no time in history has the health of black Americans equaled that of white Americans. This distinction is particularly evident in the South, where blacks have been subjected to governmental policies promoting discrimination and segregation. The explanations offered for this difference in health status are numerous. The argument presented in this article is that the health status of blacks in the United States has been greatly affected by the attitudes and perceptions of white physicians. From the days of slavery to 1992, the policies and practices of the white medical community have had an enormous impact on the health of blacks. Black physicians have played a large role in changing the delivery of health-care services to the black population. Their fight was a microcosm of the Civil Rights activities taking place in the world around them. This article describes the history of medical care as it relates to black patients and physicians. The progress that has been made over the past century is analyzed, and the need for continued education and persistence is emphasized. Legalized segregation may have been outlawed in the 1960s, but the nation's vital statistics indicate that equality has yet to be achieved.