(a response to Jack E. Whitefs March 8, 1999 Time Magazine column gPrejudice? Perish the Thoughth)
March 3, 1999
I agree with Mr. Whitefs assessment in his March 8 column gPrejudice? Perish the Thoughth that the New England Journal of Medicinefs February 28 special article gThe Effects of Race and Sex on Physiciansf Recommendations on Cardiac Catherizationh was gthe most unsettlingh 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 physiciansf 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 racismh is not merely a case of gexaggerating or imagining thingsh 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