Medical racism in New York City

in Informationwar10 months ago

Bessie_Smith_(1936)_by_Carl_Van_Vechten.jpg
Bessie Smith
Image: Carl Van Vechten, 1936

The lady in the picture above is Bessie Smith. She was a start of the Jazz Age, believed to be the best Blues singer ever. She was the highest paid Black entertainer in the US at the time.

Unbeknownst to her, in the year following the one when she posed for this photograph, her life would be cut short as she would be refused medical treatment following an automobile accident. Yes, this star was effectively allowed to bleed to death because of her race. Her life was cut short at the age of 43 in 1937 because the enlightened medical professionals in Tennessee and Mississippi at the time considered it inappropriate to treat a Black person at the same medical facilities where White people were treated - even a person of Smith's statute.

Fast forward to New York City in 2022, in the middle of a supposedly deadly pandemic of a supposedly deadly virus, SARS-CoV-2. The city aims to test non-White people (racial minorities) first - even though there are certanly majority-White neighborhoods with high levels of infection. It is as if the virus is free to spread so long as it is White people who do the spreading. White people are also prioritized down when it comes to accessing an effective monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID. All of this is done in search of racial equity and outside of proper patient-specific considerations. And it is statistically impossible that this system has not caused unnecessary negative, if not fatal, outcomes for some patients.

It looks like racism it still very much with us - even if it takes a different form and it directed at different groups in the population.

References

Bessie Smith (wiki)
Archived 5 February 2022

NYC IS prioritizing COVID tests for minorities, leaked emails show after white people in the state were told not to attempt to get monoclonal antibody treatment
Melissa Koenig and Alex Hammer, DailyMail.com, 3 January 2022

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