African American Suspicion of the Healthcare System Is Justified: What Do We Do About It?
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 1994 Summer; 3(3): 347-357.
...African American suspicion of the medical profession has a long history. From slavery times to the present, U.S. descendants of Africa have harbored a justified mistrust of medicine and medical research. It cannot be simply written off as paranoia or hypersensitivity, with incredulous remarks such as "How can they believe something like that?" In this paper, I examine sources of mistrust, using historical and contemporary examples. I discuss three factors that contribute to the distrust: 1) real abuses in experimentation, sickle cell screening, and involuntary sterilization, 2) beliefs that the government is responsible for the AIDS epidemic, and 3) real fears and anxieties concerning future medical abuses. These real, imagined, and potential abuses explain and ground African-American mistrust of the medical profession. I will show how the mistrust, though justified, harms African Americans and obscures the real problem -- that of alarmingly poor health, unequal access to healthcare, poverty, violence, and lack of job and education opportunities.
African Americans; Aged; Aids; Attitudes; Behavioral Genetics; Behavioral Research; Deception; Discrimination; Education; Family Planning; Federal Government; Genetics; Genocide; Government; Genetic Screening; Health; Health Care; Health Care Delivery; Health Personnel; Historical Aspects; Human Experimentation; Indigents; Involuntary Sterilization; Justice; Males; Mass Screening; Medicine; Minority Groups; Misconduct; Morbidity; Mortality; Medical Research; Public Policy; Poverty; Research; Resource Allocation; Selection for Treatment; Sickle Cell Anemia; Slavery; Social Control; Social Discrimination; Social Impact; Social worth; Sterilization; Syphilis; Transplantation; Trust; Violence; Withholding Treatment;
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