Reproducing racism
July 20, 2020 1:01 PM   Subscribe

As racial disparities in health come into the spotlight amid COVID-19, we explore how the legacy of racism affects maternal health in the United States.

First, we hear the story of Amber Rose Isaac, a woman who died in childbirth in New York, and how her death has become a rallying cry for black maternal health activists.

Reporter Priska Neely explores the complicated legacy of J. Marion Sims, the “father of modern gynecology,” who experimented on enslaved women in the 1840s.

Reporter Julia Simon takes a look at a commonly used calculator that may be leading black and Latina women to C-sections they don’t need.

We end with a conversation between two activist physicians from different generations. We hear their reflections on balancing outrage with optimism and fighting for justice for all parents and babies.

//Scroll down for transcript
posted by infini (6 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Fame and wealth aren't even enough to make doctors listen to Black women about their own bodies. Serena Williams, with a documented history of blood clot issues, who regularly takes blood thinners to prevent them, had to convince her doctors to treat her properly after her initial requests were dismissed as confusion from pain medications. Complications kept her bed-ridden for six weeks after child birth.

And that's Serena Williams, the wealthiest, most famous female athlete on the planet, whose documented medical history and personal knowledge of her condition weren't enough for doctors to take seriously without her leaving her bed to convince them to get her the treatment she needed.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:56 PM on July 20, 2020 [14 favorites]

Thanks for posting.

There was a feature in the NYTimes about this a couple of years ago. Here it is.

One minute I'm having a rage-meltdown, the other I'm just really wondering how any human being can treat pregnant women differently, based on their race. Why??? It's such a basic human thing, to give birth, and to aid those who give birth. How can that be corrupted?
posted by mumimor at 9:41 PM on July 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have had the fortune of working at every area of the health care setting including L&D. Prenatal and women’s health issues are hit with the intersectionality of medical paternalism, racism, and sexism. I have seen variants of the Serena Williams case play out even with white male patients because clinicians when faced with a patient saying something unexpected and doesn’t make sense to them think there is something wrong with patient’s understanding rather than with their understanding. Then fail to realize this because they think there good intentions are enough to prevent this error.
posted by roguewraith at 12:51 AM on July 21, 2020 [4 favorites]

Yes -- once you think you are a good and kind person with great expertise, it becomes embarrassingly difficult to believe you have made a mistake.

If the person offering evidence of your mistake is already in a class whose intelligence and judgement is widely doubted, consequences can be disastrous.
posted by allthinky at 6:03 AM on July 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Especially geopolitically.
posted by infini at 10:55 AM on July 21, 2020

There also the Natal podcast which is all about black women's reproductive health
posted by kokaku at 1:43 PM on July 21, 2020

« Older Six Cats Under   |   Clams! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments