To elected officials across the United States,
As a 16-year-old young woman of color, I have seen a lot throughout my life and one of those things happens to be racial injustice. Although it is not always recognized, racial injustice is something that affects hundreds of people in our healthcare system, specifically people of color. For those who may be unaware, racial injustice is the act of being unjust to an individual or group based on their race. This is a common issue for many people in our society. People of color are constantly being targeted for essentially being themselves. Healthcare workers, specifically white healthcare workers, treat people of color as if they are unimportant. Sadly, this type of behavior has yet to be recognized in our society as much as it should be.
As a person of color myself, I have seen the way we are treated by healthcare professionals. We are often told that our issues are just “minor” or that they will “go away soon with some Tylenol,” and this is not the case. Some issues, if not treated right away, can develop into more serious conditions, which can result in more unnecessary deaths. For instance, in an article published by CBS news, they provide a series of cases where black women have not received the medical attention they deserved, instead they were lied to, or received a shrug of the shoulders as if nothing was wrong. In addition, due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak 23% those who have died due to the virus are Black people, but only 13% of Black people make up the U.S population. So, why are so many of them dying? Why haven’t they received the proper medical attention, but a white carrier of COVID-19 has?
This question can be answered in many ways, but to keep it short, the main reason why is that our society has prioritized white people over people of color, and so white people have taken it upon themselves to make sure they get treated better than others. They make it seem as if people of color are not human as well.
In a statement given by American Academy of Family Physicians, they state that hospitals were not designed for racial and ethic minorities. This proves that people of color are not given proper treatment for their medical issues. Furthermore, Monique Tello wrote on Harvard Health Publishing, a blog for Harvard Medical School, that her patients have talked to her about their experiences with racism in healthcare. She goes on to explain why this happens, and from her perspective. there are a few reasons why. One being the inherently racist system they work under, due to the fact that racism has been engraved into our political, and economic structures. Taking that into consideration, it is clear that we need to change things.
The time has come to stop racial injustice in our healthcare system. As our society continues to grow we must stop all acts of racism from continuing to separate the human race. So, today I call upon you to use your power and:
- Educate healthcare professionals about racism while they are in medical school
- Sign any bill fighting against racism and racial injustice
Instead of ignoring the problem, we need to be comfortable talking about these issues and be willing to make a change. If we educate more people on racial injustice, they might be more emphatic and open to stopping racial injustice. Medical schools are not required to teach about racism in health care, yet they constantly teach their students about things that aren’t as important. Why not teach something valuable that will help our society in the long run?
Jeremiah E. Burke High School