Minority Health Archive

Slavery, segregation and racism: trusting the health care system ain't always easy! An African American perspective on bioethics.

Randall, Vernellia R (1996) Slavery, segregation and racism: trusting the health care system ain't always easy! An African American perspective on bioethics. Saint Louis University public law review, 15 (2). pp. 191-235. ISSN 0898-8404

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Abstract

Many people are surprised at the level of distrust of the health care system held by African Americans. However, fear and distrust of the health care system is a natural and logical response to the history of experimentation and abuse. The fear and distrust shape our lives and, consequently, our perspectives. 2 That perspective keeps African Americans from getting health care treatment, from participating in medical research, from signing living wills, and from donating organs. That perspective affects the health care that African Americans receive. This fear and distrust is rarely acknowledged in traditional bioethical discourse. Some bioethicists question the existence of a "uniquely" African American bioethical perspective. 3 They maintain that since the values and beliefs held by African Americans are also held by other oppressed groups, such as Native Americans, there is no African American perspective. However, these traditional bioethicists miss (or ignore) an important point: perspective is merely a subjective evaluation of the relative significance of something -- a point-of-view. 4 Thus, to acknowledge an African American perspective, it is not necessary that African American values and belief systems be entirely different from others. It is faulty to assume that any group shares exactly the same value system with other groups. For example, Americans do not have one ethical perspective. Rather, race, class, and gender modify the commonality of the American experience. Different groups have had different experiences that, at a minimum, modify the dominant American perspective, if not replace it with an ...


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Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is available at the publisher’s Web site. Access to the full text is subject to the publisher’s access restrictions.
Subjects: Health > Health Equity > Bioethics
Research
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Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2011 15:23
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2011 15:23
Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/id/eprint/2910

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