An American Health Dilemma - Vol. 1

An American Health Dilemma - Vol. 1

An American Health Dilemma - Vol. 1

An American Health Dilemma - Vol. 1

Synopsis

An American Health Dilemma promises to become an irreplaceable and essential look at African American and medical history and will provide an invaluable baseline for future exploration of race and racism in the American health system.

Excerpt

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman.

THE REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, AT THE SECOND NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE MEDICAL COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, CHICAGO, MARCH 25, 1966

Factors affecting health include socioeconomic status, biology, and environment…. [I]n a racist society such as ours, the effect of race is all-encompassing. Race not only affects socioeconomic status, biology, and physical environment; it also affects the way health care institutions function to provide services. Independent of economics, race affects access to care. Independent of economics, race affects the type and quality of health care treatment received. Consequently, to improve the health of African-Americans, it is not sufficient merely to remove economic barriers to access. To improve the health of African-Americans, health care institutions must be more than affordable. They must be just.

VERNELLIA R.RANDALL, HEALTH MATRIX: JOURNAL OF LAW-MEDICINE, 1993

On the Origins of a Race- and Class-Based System

The impetus for this work is based upon the African American Health experience. The Black experience has been affected, if not dominated, by the issue of race in Western culture and English North America (often referred to as the American colonies)—now known as the United States. Therefore, the concepts of “race” and “racism” deserve exploration. Since the late nineteenth century, a bevy of historians and social scientists including, but not limited to, W.E.B. Du

Traditionally, ethnic Americans have been designated with hyphenated names such as “African-Americans,” “Native-Americans,” “Asian-Americans,” etc. This implies that a person from outside the U.S. would not recognize these other racial and ethnic groups as true Americans without this specific designation. In contrast, “European Americans” (usually called White), are presumed to be U.S. citizens, thus, maintaining a position of power linguistically. The authors will refer to all racial and ethnic groups as equals according to regions from which their original ancestors migrated: Native (no need to migrate) Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, etc. See (Freuend, 1989) and (Randall, 1994) in the endnotes.

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