Date on LBA Capstone
Dr. Barbara Cobb, Mentor, LBA Coordinator
Dr. Joshua Adair. Mentor, English and Philosophy
Dr. Carrie Jerrell, Mentor, English and Philosophy
English and Philosophy
English and Philosophy
In the Black community, there is an unspoken understanding about going to the doctor with a runny nose, and leaving in a body bag. A recent article published by The Oprah Magazine demonstrates that racism is rampant in the United States healthcare system, and it is taking the lives of Black women at an alarmingly disproportionate rate (Stallings, 2018). When seeking medical treatment, many Black women are at the mercy of doctors who hold an implicit bias against Black women. Simply put, implicit bias describes when people behave and treat others based on negative preconceptions they have about other people, even though they may not be trying to do so intentionally. Because of this implicit bias, Black women have every reason to be scared of medical professionals; their distrust is justifiable. A growing body of research and testimony gives evidence of Black women’s mistreatment due to their race, and the disparity in quality of care between Black and non-Black women widens, especially for pregnant Black women.
In this research report, I investigate the current injustices against Black women in the healthcare system and address the health disparities that are unique to Black women. I have also incorporated personal anecdotes from family members and friends with firsthand experience of poor treatment by medical professionals. I include these anecdotes because they speak to the realities of medical racism, and its effects, including on people that I am very close to. Some of these women like my mother, Keisha Carter, and my grandmother, Vicki Carter, had no desire to remain anonymous. Others, who I refer to as Toni, Ann, and Jackie, wanted to remain anonymous to protect their privacy. In addition, I discuss some comments from medical professionals who have personally seen their co-workers acting discriminatorily towards Black female patients. I also propose steps that need to be taken to lessen the healthcare disparities that Black women face when seeking medical attention.
Carter, Chelsea, "In with a runny nose, Out in a body bag: Why is it so difficult for Black women to leave the hospital alive?" (2021). Liberal Arts Capstones. 9.