Source: Peter Barry Chowka

Race has always been used by the left and the Democrats to divide us. As we’ve seen all too clearly in recent weeks, this strategy has now achieved critical mass – and it’s moved into health care, the largest sector of the economy and one with critical influence on people’s lives — and even survival.

I’ve been reporting on American medical care since the 1970s. It’s an area rife with politics but I never thought that I’d live to see anything like this.

In early April, I became aware of a shocking new example of overt racism that proposes to remake health care on the basis of Critical Race Theory. On April 10, 2021, the prestigious medical journal The Lancet – one of the most prominent scientific journals in the world – published an article titled “Racism is the public health crisis.” You read it right: The most important public health crisis.

This is just the latest article on this absurd claim published recently by this and other leading medical journals (including the equally prestigious New England Journal of Medicine), both here and abroad. (The Lancet is published in the UK.)

The Lancet article praises Black Lives Matter, and before the trial of Derek Chauvin had even started the article maintained that the Minneapolis police “killed” George Floyd. The article was written by Kehinde Andrews, Professor of Black Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK who has no background or expertise in medicine. Andres’ latest book is The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World. His Lancet article concludes:

Racism is a defining feature of western countries, creating a society where Black life is devalued. The hierarchy of white [sic] supremacy creates an uneven distribution of resources and means that the majority of those who are not white are subject to various health inequalities. Public health interventions must account for the structural racism that produces racialised health outcomes. It is only by understanding empire and its afterlives that we can begin to address the racial inequities and inequalities that plague the world. To make Black lives matter, we need to understand that racism is the public health crisis.

Two weeks earlier an influential intellectual publication, The Boston Review, published a lengthy article by two medical doctors – both of them also Harvard Medical School professors – titled “An Antiracist Agenda for Medicine.” The subhead is “Colorblind solutions have failed to achieve racial equity in health care. We need both federal reparations and real institutional accountability.” The authors write:

Our effort to understand and correct racial health disparities has led us to rethink the nature of the fight for racial justice in medicine.

Their prescription?

Offering preferential care based on race or ethnicity.

They contend further that they hope their proposals will get the “backing provided by recent White House executive orders” – one of which they link to (President Biden’s January 20th directive “Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government”).

Theory into practice

Less than two weeks ago, it was reported that this policy of giving preferential medical treatment to individuals with the preferred racial or ethnic background – Blacks and “Latinx” patients – over Whites is going into practice, at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. That institution, affiliated with the Harvard University Medical School, is considered one of the best teaching hospitals in the country. It’s part of Mass General Brigham, a network that operates a dozen hospitals in Massachusetts. Its “sweeping system-wide approach outlining broad social justice and equity goals and strategies” was announced last November right after the election. The plan is part of Mass General Brigham’s multi-million dollar United Against Racism campaign.

In an article and a radio segment last fall titled “How Mass General Brigham Plans To Dismantle Racism In And Outside Hospital Walls,” one of the Boston NPR stations reported approvingly:

The project, called “United Against Racism,” includes changes in leadership, culture and patient care. It also expands efforts to address hunger, housing and job opportunities outside hospital walls.

“We want this to be a major change in the culture of our organization,” says Dr. Tom Sequist, MGB’s chief equity officer, “that we think about equity and anti-racism and treat them as the urgent public health crisis that they are.”

MGB leaders say this is a multi-million-dollar project, mapped over five years to start. They aren’t saying exactly how much they’ll spend.

The plan is a response to anger, frustration and calls for change within the hospitals that were heard following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others this year. Employees shared reactions and ideas in small discussion groups, hospital town halls, petitions, employee surveys and protests. [emphasis added.]

These developments are among the results of the American medical community’s significant turn to the left. For example, after decades of opposition to “socialized medicine,” the American Medical Association has more recently softened its stand, supporting Obamacare and publishing articles in its influential medical journal supporting single-payer. In a Medscape poll two years ago, 49% of American M.D.s supported single-payer. The Service Employees International Union that represents over one million frontline health care workers has long supported universal health care.

Two weeks ago, in a small handful of articles in the alternative media including AT, it began to be reported that Brigham and Women’s Hospital was taking steps to prioritize Black and Latinx patients for care – based on their skin color.

On April 8, 2021, the Federalist described how this project might impact the clinical practice of medicine:

The doctors are spearheading this and other “equitable solutions” as part of a pilot initiative at Brigham and Women’s Hospital this spring. [The Boston Review article’s authors] say that leftist economist William Darity Jr. provided a “reparations framework” that must be applied to the health profession to ensure “black and Latinx patients” are prioritized.

One of the programs proposed. . .  is something called “Redress.” The program is intended to discriminate against whites who require medical attention so other individuals can automatically be given treatment.

A report on this noxious development made it to Tucker Carlson Tonight on the Fox News channel on April 13 when DePaul University professor Jason Hill, Ph.D. – who is Black – appeared on the program. Hill called what is taking place in Boston “political eugenics in the medical field.” He said that it’s using “a reparations framework” to “advance Critical Race Theory.” “It’s racist,” he added. “It’s using health care to advance the socialist system.” Hill also noted:

I think for the first time, we are seeing hospitals that are being used by doctors as indoctrination centers and advancing their own politicized views that are using Critical Race Theory, which is a nefarious and quite racist kind of doctrine.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital has subsequently published a new page at its Web site denying that it is instituting racial preferences when it treats patients. The document makes no mention of Carlson’s program but suggests that the hospital’s attempt to take a step back from the perception that it is employing racial preferences is a result of “recent stories published online.”

Another example of how this racist policy is coming to a hospital or health care provider near you was reported by KTTH 770 in Seattle:

The Washington State Department of Health lets providers deny vaccines to white people in a race-exclusionary system they claim creates equity and removes barriers. . .

The African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH) is a vaccine provider in Washington state. Eligible recipients can sign up for vaccines using their online scheduler. But if you’re white, you’re not able to access any open vaccine appointments.

By default, white people are put on a standby list — one of two lists segregated by race — for vaccine access. They will only provide their online appointments to people of color. . .

If you’re a person of color, you can move forward and schedule a vaccine appointment if there is an opening. But if you’re white, you are automatically placed on a standby list. This bars you from continuing the process. AARTH says they will contact the white person if there is an opening. . .

This policy effectively bars white people from accessing taxpayer funded vaccines set up through the state. . .

Under the current process, an older white person with obesity and cancer is at a higher risk than a young and healthy Black person. Yet the white Washingtonian would be denied access based exclusively on his skin color at AARTH. Why? Because, according to [Franji] Mayes [Washington Department of Health spokesperson], “dealing with racism is a stressor that is bad for health and life expectancy.”

Not enough focus on racism in medicine?

It turns out that for some time now the American medical Establishment has been laying the groundwork to focus increasingly on the alleged prominent role of racism in medical outcomes. An article in Time (April 21, 2021), for example, maintains that “a problem” is that “The World’s Leading Medical Journals Don’t Write About Racism.”

The four authors – two of whom are M.D.s and two Ph.D.s – represent the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association, and the Harvard School of Public Health. Their titles and specialties include “the relationship between structural racism, inequity, and health,” “Professor of Social Epidemiology,” “Director, Health Equity Research and Data Use, at the Center for Health Equity,” and “chief health equity officer.”

The authors write:

Over the past year, rising deaths from COVID-19, police brutality, anti-Asian hate crimes, and the inequitable damage of climate breakdown, have made the manifold harms of racism easier for everyone to see. Harms that were once shielded from public consumption by segregation or shrouded from public scrutiny by stories depicting the U.S. as a nation of fairness and freedoms, are now the center of an ongoing national confrontation with racism and its impacts on health, safety, and justice.

They then link to their new article (April 20, 2021) in a major peer-reviewed journal, Health Affairs: “Medicine’s Privileged Gatekeepers: Producing Harmful Ignorance About Racism And Health.” In that article, the authors express concern that in their review of 200,000 articles published during the past three decades in the world’s four top medical journals, only 1% of them (or about 2,000) mentioned “racism.” “Just think about that,” they write. The source of the problem they insist is that “nearly all of the editors and chiefs [of the four journals] have been white men.”

They do see hope, however, now that Joe Biden is the president.

On March 1, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced new initiatives to address the impacts of “structural racism on biomedical research.” On April 8, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared racism “a serious public health threat.”

And as I wrote at AT last November 9 when Biden’s Covid-19 Task Force was announced, one of the panel’s co-chairs fits this new bill perfectly:

The second panel co-chair is Marcella Nunez-Smith, M.D., who grew up in the Virgin Islands and is now a physician at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she holds a variety of titles.  Dr. Nunez-Smith specializes in race and health care and studies medicine through the prism of race, social justice, and identity politics.

Her expertise in viruses, pandemics, or virology? Zero. My next article at AT (November 25, 2020) was titled “Prominent physician advises Biden to prioritize people of color for COVID-19 vaccine.” Do we see a fast-emerging pattern here?

Back to the Sixties

The aim of the original Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s was equality of opportunity. Over time, the legacy of that bipartisan effort, inspired by Christians like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., has morphed into a twisted new movement that is not about equality of opportunity at all – but instead guaranteed equal outcomes, or equity, involving preferential treatment for people of color. This inversion began in the latter half of the 1960s when politicians, in order to placate radicals and street mobs rioting in America’s cities, came up with affirmative action, racial quotas, set asides, and huge federal agencies to enforce draconian “civil rights” regulations.

Last year, Simon and Schuster published Christopher Caldwell’s The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties. The book was cited at length by Michael Filozof in an April 19 article at AT. Caldwell’s thesis is that the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s, especially the 1964 Civil Rights Act, nullified our Constitution by replacing it with a new constitution that originated in, and reflects the values of, the “Civil Rights Era” of the 1960s. Filozof quotes Caldwell:

The changes of the 1960s, with civil rights at their core, were not just a major new element in the Constitution.  They were a rival constitution, with which the original one was frequently incompatible.

The wokeness characterized by this “rival” constitution has now made it to American health care. Previous examples of this kind of reverse discrimination against whites – including affirmative action, preferential hiring, racial quotas, and the proliferation of government regulations and bureaucracies to ensure “equity” in disparate areas of life are abundant. They are increasing in number now that the Democrats have attained total control of the federal and many state governments – not to mention other centers of American life including academia, K-12 public and private schools, popular culture, sports, and the largest corporations.

Several recent examples:

ITEM: In Oregon: Last December, The $62 million Oregon Cares state Fund steered coronavirus relief money directly to Black Oregonians and Black-owned businesses – and not businesses owned by Whites. As The Oregonian noted, “the application [for funds] explicitly stated that the money was meant only for Black Oregonians.”

ITEM: The recently passed Covid-19 Stimulus included something called The Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, introduced by Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA). The act provides $4 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to forgive direct or guaranteed loans given to farmers of color. Another $1 billion is going to the USDA for farmer grants, college scholarships and other efforts for minority growers. 

ITEM: President Biden’s 200 page Covid-19 plan (published on Jan. 21, 2021) is filled with references to race, inequality, equity, and the need to consider “redress” in virtually every federal department and program from now on. An Executive Order by Biden established a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force at the Department of Health and Human Services.

And so it goes.

At the outset of my journalistic career, I heard Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a speech on November 30, 1964, repeat his famous lines that he looked forward to a day when a person would be judged by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin. The left, now including leaders of the medical Establishment, has increasingly turned that axiom on its head. Notwithstanding the racialist nonsense arising from the D.C. Swamp and Medicine, Inc., Rev. King’s words represent a concept that every American should be able to agree with and, without qualification, hold to be true.

Editor’s note: Peter Barry Chowka discusses the subject of this article with Jamie Glazov on the latest edition of The Glazov Gang, available here.