(a response to Jack E. Whitefs March 8, 1999 Time Magazine column gPrejudice?  Perish the Thoughth)

 

March 3, 1999

 

Dear Editor,

 

I agree with Mr. Whitefs assessment in his March 8 column gPrejudice? Perish the Thoughth that the New England Journal of Medicinefs February 28 special article gThe Effects of Race and Sex on Physiciansf Recommendations on Cardiac Catherizationh was gthe most unsettlingh report g[i]n a week full of alarming stories about racial prejudice.h  After controlling for age, probability of coronary disease, stress tests results, type of chest pain, and even the type and level of insurance coverage, the study leaves little room for doubt that subconscious bias affected the physiciansf recommendations.

 

Trinidadian writer Earl Lovelace once said, "Our experience has had as its central theme not slavery and colonialism, as is often thought, but the struggle against enslavement and colonialism." I would submit that the Black American experience is similarly rooted not in slavery and racism, but the struggle against enslavement and racism.

 

As Mr. White quite correctly points out, grais[ing] a fuss about continuing racismh is not merely a case of gexaggerating or imagining thingsh but rather an attempt to treat and possibly cure ga symptom of chronic injustice.h  What I find most disturbing of all are the insidious ways in which such racism is either ignored or legitimized.  In the very week following these revelations, Pat Buchanan launched his presidential campaign attacking affirmative action, bilingual education, and immigration policy couching these same racial biases in the accepted rhetoric of Republican conservatism while the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN label his message as gpopulist.h  Instead of calling for ga national campaign of assimilation,h political leaders should be calling for a national campaign of introspection and acceptance.  Otherwise, we will continue to bury our heads in the sand and the struggle will be lost.

 

Milton Alan Turner