Saturday, November 7, 2009

Books You Should Read: Medical Apartheid By Harriet Washington


 This is NOT easy reading. This is NOT light reading.
This is NOT a fiction book to read while you are chilling in the tub.

This is someone's thesis.

Medical Apartheid is a historical journey on the treatment of Black Americans from Slavery (Colonalism) to Modern time. It explores how people of color were often times used, abused, and treated as side shows all in the name of medical science. This book is exceptional.

It took me almost a year to read this book. It's 404 pages (512 including the sources that Washington listed), but is very complex. I read chapter by chapter and took breaks in between. The book inspired me to want to learn more about certain situations that had previously happened to slaves. Washington touches on various topics from sick slaves being sold to hospitals for research to black freedman being used to rob black graves for cadavers for white medical students to the Tuskegee experiment and on. I became very intrigued with the chapters on slave women and fistulas. I will save my readers on the graphic details of what a "fistula" is but to hear the pain endured by women was enough to make me put the book down for weeks. The book also sheds light on experiments being conducted on prisoners in jail, and how many men are forced to be a part of many clinical trials. These trials do not end well. Like I said, this is not easy reading.

One of the most interesting non-publicized "research" experiments touched on in this book is Planned Parenthood. Yes, everyone's favorite cheap spot for birth control and quick abortions began as a low cost clinic for black women. The aim was to allow cheap birth control and abortions for black women to essentially eliminate the black race by preventing births. (I am simplifying the chapters but this is it basically). Washington even breaks down the plan to use black leaders that our community would trust to lure black women to their facilities.

Now Planned Parenthood has gift cards! Nothing says I love you like a gift card to an abortion clinic. 

 But I digress.  This book is a must read for anyone interested in the medical field. I think it sheds light on the reason why there is such a big disparity in health care between caucasians and african americans.

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