Sociology: Sexism In The Workplace Sexism in the workplace 1 SOC 201 Professor Grabczynski Thursday 11th November 2021 Racism, Mistrust and Dissatisfac

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Sexism in the workplace


SOC 201

Professor Grabczynski

Thursday 11th November 2021

Racism, Mistrust and Dissatisfaction

Amongst African Americans

in United States Health Care



Within the United States exists two different countries: white America and Black

America. Today the fight for accessible healthcare in the United States is still something that

plagues the nation as this issue disproportionately affects people of color and other marginalized

groups. To justify the horrendous conditions of slavery, slave owners and white supremacists

created the essentialist lies about African Americans bodies to justify the cruelest violence. The

negligence and undermining of the health issues of oppressed people is something that lays at the

core of the country’s history and sets the stage for a medical industry that leaves many forgotten

about. Race discrimination continues to be exceptionally high in the medical field leaving many

individuals to take on unimaginable challenges. Medicine and medical knowledge remain a field

that is not neutral; from the laws and processes governed by those in power determining what is

and isn’t justifiable to the terrible atrocities that often lay at the beginning of many medical

professions, it is crucial to recognize the systematic oppression that exists within the medical

industry. Negative and incorrect stereotypes arise from misinformation and the normalization of

racist and biological determinisms. The medical field to many is a system of historical mistrust,

abuse, and neglect. The foundation of the medical system in the United States is based on

inequality and injustices. Recognizing how the United States healthcare system came about is


imperative to understanding who is not receiving adequate health care and how we can reconcile

this problem.

Literature Review

To understand the history of the United States is to come to grips with the atrocities and

reality of genocide. Setting the foundation, the country was built off the exploitation and

systematic oppression of enslaved people. The justification of the horrendous treatment of

enslaved people created the essentialist lie that black people did not feel pain to the same degree

that white people did. The culture of neglect can be witnessed early in the country’s history as

those enslaved were forced to handle a variety of diseases and concerning mortality rates. This

culture of abuse and neglect has lasted for over 400 years and has produced the understandable

truth that this has rooted itself within the fabric of what the United States is. The lies that were

generated during this time have lived on in the form of racist stereotypes that have devastated the

quality and trust of medical treatment for African Americans as scientific theory released as

recent as 2016 still reflect the lies stemmed from slavery.

As time has moved forward massive advancements have been made in the medical

industry however how these developments have been made is rarely questioned. Many medical

advancements and fields have come at the hands of unethical medical experiments on enslaved


people. The continuous mistreatment and experimentation can be seen throughout the decades

continuously generating heavy mistrust. One of the biggest examples of a medical breakthrough

coming from the exploitation of an African American woman is taking of cells from Henrietta

Lacks. “Research using Lacks’ cells was essential to developing the polio vaccine, in-vitro

fertilization, cloning and gene mapping. They aided scientists to better understand the workings

of cancer and countless viruses and were used to develop drugs for herpes, leukemia, influenza,

hemophilia and Parkinson’s disease” (Shelton). Shelton goes widely unrecognized and was

placed in an unmarked grave after the taking of her cells reflecting the dehumanizing nature of

the society and the industry. We see this happen throughout time from the Tuskegee Syphilis

Experiments conducted by the United States Public Health Service on black men, to the illegal

hysterectomies performed in ICE detention centers currently, the medical industry has rightfully

garnered a large amount of mistrust and doubt.

After the uprisings that took place in 2020, many medical institutions took on the task of

looking at bias within their doctors and staff. Although this is true, medical racism was being

implemented everywhere throughout the country as COVID-19 disproportionately affected poor

communities of color. Additionally, those who did receive medical help often found themselves

not taken seriously, which in many cases resulted in fatality. Many individuals feel that they go

into the hospital and are not taken seriously. The history of abuse and implicit bias has taken

form today in disproportionate mortality rates among African Americans contributing to the

recent guilty verdict of genocide against African Americans. “Scientists found that Black

patients in their study were 40 percent less likely to get pain medication than their white peers”

(Foden-Vencil). The culture of medicine in the United States has created an environment of


mistrust and neglect. “A 2006 study found that 44 percent of African-Americans reported low

trust in health care providers compared to one-third of white patients. Those individuals with

fewer positive interactions with physicians, and who primarily used emergency rooms and

hospitals for their care, were more likely to report mistrust” (Trogen). Healthcare has excluded a

vast majority of people, specifically African Americans.

“Nine times out of 10, I was completely brushed off,” Ramey said. “If there was ever a

book on medical racism, it should probably just be called, ‘They Don’t Believe Us’.’” (Ramey,

Schencker). The reaction from the people to the culture of racism in the country and specifically

in the medical industry has been one of frustration and desperation. After the death of a woman

of color in New York, an occupation take-over of Lincoln Hospital by The Young Lords, a group

primarily consisting of Puerto Rican and Afro-Latinx activists was held. The people of the

community became more aware of the racial implications affecting care at the hospital where

disproportionate amounts of African Americans and Puerto Ricans had died. The group charged

the hospital with genocide. “In their estimation, the ‘murder’ of Ms. Rodriguez was due to

systemic negligence and required fundamental changes and reprisals” (Fernandez). These

frustrations can be seen today as COVID-19 moves rampant through neighborhoods with high

populations of African American individuals. “In Chicago, Illinois, Black people account for

more than half of those who have tested positive for coronavirus and 72% of virus-related

fatalities, even though they make up a little less than a third of the population” (ADL). The

culture of medicine has created a culture where many individuals feel unacknowledged and


unheard. It is a system that has negligence at its roots and to fix this, these problems must be

truly acknowledged.


My hypothesis is that people of color, specifically African American patients, do not feel

heard and or taken care of at doctors’ offices and hospitals compared to their white peers.

Research Design

I will evaluate and measure my hypothesis by collecting research through a surveying

method, examining different people of color’s opinions and how they feel about the health care

system in the United States. The survey will be handed out to students to obtain accurate and

helpful research on their experiences. For controlled experimental purposes, the survey will be

passed out to 4 universities in different socio-economic neighborhoods of the same city. There

will be 25 surveys passed out at each university campus resulting in 100 participants

participation. A likely high response time to hand out the surveys would be 12pm – 2pm on a

weekday when students are most likely mobile and deciding lunch plans. The survey will begin

with a question regarding the student’s self-identifying racial category. There will be multiple

choice questions concerning if the student has: received adequate care in the past, had a


physician accurately understood their concerns the last time they received treatment and if they

received a satisfactory diagnosis or resolution. It is important to also include questions about

whether the student’s dignity was respected during doctor or hospital visits. The survey will

conclude with a summary rate of satisfaction 1 – 10 with space for the student to express any

other thoughts, feelings, or concerns.


All the data and information collected from the surveys will be put together to evaluate. I

will compare the opinions and experiences of the students by transferring the data into graphs.

This will help me easily analyze and compare the results. An example of a chart I will create will

summarize the satisfaction rates of each self-identifying racial category from each university. It

is important to take into consideration the socio-economic backgrounds of the neighborhoods

where the universities are located, as this will likely impact the results. I expect the research to

show that people of color, particularly African Americans, report low satisfaction rates with their

healthcare experiences in the United States. The financial ability of the individual to afford a


sudden medical concern should be taken into consideration as another factor that could influence

the results of the study.


I believe this study could be easily replicated in the future by many people. It could be

replicated in other countries to compare if people of color in other geographical locations feel

and experience inadequate treatment from their countries health care systems. It would be

interesting to see the different research collected and how different factors like culture and

geographical location could influence one’s experience in healthcare.


The results in the study should accurately reflect the mistreatment and mistrust of the

healthcare system by people of color. African Americans in the United States have

predominantly suffered horrendous and extreme conditions at the hands of the government. The

culture of the country has created systems that reflect the old systems that were once accepted as

everyday aspects of life. The health care system in this country has systematically created and

contributed towards an oppressive society. The contribution by medical institutions towards

disproportionate mortality rates, unjustified deaths, and mistreatment has been and continues to


be a legacy of genocide that still affects the African diaspora today. With this information we can

better analyze how these problems have taken on new identities and what we can do to stop them

from progressing into the future.


ADL. “How Systemic Racism Impacts Coronavirus Racial Disparities.” Anti-Defamation



Caplan, A. L., & Trogen, B. (2017, Apr 21). The lasting harm of medical mistrust. Chicago

Tribune Retrieved from



Fernandez, Johanna L. d. C. Radicals in the Late 1960s: A History of the Young Lords Party in

New York City, 1969–1974, Columbia University, Ann Arbor, 2004. ProQuest,


Milano, Brett. “Ramifications of Slavery Persist in Health Care Inequality.” Harvard Gazette,

Harvard Gazette, 29 Oct. 2019,


Schencker, Lisa. “’Nine Times out of 10, I Was Completely Brushed off’: Black Chicagoans

Confront Bias in Health Care, Hope for Change.”, 13 Aug. 2020,


Shelton, D. L. (2010, Feb 07). Immortal, yet invisible: Why we are all indebted to a little-known

black woman who died in the 1950s. Chicago Tribune Retrieved from


Shukla, Shipra. “Scholar Speaks about History of Medical Experimentation on African

Americans.” Scholar Speaks About History of Medical Experimentation on African Americans |


UC San Francisco,


Story, Foden-Vencil, K., & News. (2019, Jan 30). Racial bias among EMTs?: Study questions

treatment of minorities. Chicago Tribune Retrieved from


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