The Hypocrisy of the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Movement in Medicine and Its Exclusion of Black People

Medical workers in Portland, OR march in BLM protests on June 13, 2020 (Source: Shutterstock)

“Looking at castes is like holding the country’s x-ray up to the light.” Recently, the medical profession’s x-ray was examined.

The fingerprint of the caste syste can be seen on many aspects of American life (Source: Shutterstock).

Despite being a vulnerable population that is disproportionately affected by the pandemic, Black people from Los Angeles to Boston are experiencing vaccine inequity.

Full vaccination data by race as of April 26,2021 (Source: CDC.gov). Even with vaccination, Black people bear the brunt of America’s hypocrisy.

“No physician is racist, so how can there be structural racism in healthcare?”

A recent tweet from @JAMA_current with a link to a podcast discussing the existence of structural racism

The struggle for a more just and equitable system will not be easy but nothing worth having ever is. However, the lives of Black people depend on it, literally.

In conclusion, the pledges by the medical community to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment in the era of the post-BLM protests is a work in progress. As detailed above, we have seen what happens with the mere suggestion of disruption of the caste system, how Black people are experiencing vaccine apartheid with the vaccination rollout, and how leaders, influencers, and academics are dubious about the very existence of institutional racism. How are we to move forward when people are not willing to temporarily suspend the caste system–even for a potentially lifesaving therapy like a vaccine? How will we move forward when we can’t reconcile with our past and acknowledge the problem even exists? The struggle for a more just and equitable system will not be easy but nothing worth having ever is. However, the lives of Black people depend on it, literally.

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Dorian L. Beasley, MD FACC

Dorian L. Beasley, MD FACC

A Clinical & Interventional Cardiologist. Writing has become therapeutic. Trying to make things a little bit better in clinical medicine one piece at a time.