Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Studies Look for Reasons Behind Racial Disparities in Health Care

Studies Look for Reasons Behind Racial Disparities in Health Care - Washington Post

On the surface, the disparities in health care and wellness between Black and Whites certainly should capture our attention. This disparity dovetails with the sensitivities that have grown up around the myriad of other disparities we experience with regard to race. However, with a little more thought, it would seem that a better question might be how and why we have come to expect that we should see parity within our diverse society, in wellness results and otherwise, and how this errant assumption leads us astray.

Attempting to understand the aggregated or particular plights of people from disparate geographies requires that we become disciplined students of the vast history of events that got us to where we are today. By analogy, if 7,000 years of humanity around the globe is what delivered us, then examining the last 400 years of Black residence in America is like examining the last 7 minutes of a two-hour movie. How much are we ever going to understand with such a limited slice?

Additionally, this errant assumption of parity immediately throws us into the good versus bad, who-is-to-blame syndrome, from which extraction is damn near impossible. Succinctly, in regard to Blacks, the disparities we witness today, while influenced by near-term events, are consistent with pre-colonial disparities of the natives of West Africa. The idea that this history is either unknown, ignored, or misrepresented in our failed attempts to bring about present-day politically correct parity is a critical piece to our review that is absent.

James C. Collier


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