Nothing says crazy quite like the idea that someone is better off receiving services from a person who shares the same skin pigmentation.
Obviously, a black accountant is better off having black clients while a white lawyer is better suited to handle cases brought by other whites, this idiotic thinking goes. It is racial preferences run amuck and has taken what is actually a sound idea and extended it to radically ridiculous lengths to serve the interests of racialists, hate mongers, and pea brained politicians who see political advantage in trying to curry favor with “victims of white oppression” or in playing up racial differences.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that the Obama administration would want to see that “underrepresented” minorities in the health care field would become part of what Linda Chavez calls a “racial spoils system” that will give educational preference to minorities in health care fields because everyone knows that people will be healthier and get better treatment if their doctors share their racial and ethnic background.
In 2002, the Institute of Medicine released a study entitled “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care” that sparked a flurry of accusations that minority patients, especially African-Americans, receive bad health care because their doctors were biased.
The study said that “some evidence suggests that bias, prejudice and stereotyping on the part of health-care providers may contribute to differences in care.” But as Dr. Sally Satel, a highly respected physician and author, observed at the time, the “evidence” in the study was thin. ” ‘Some,’ ’suggests’ and ‘may,’ ” she wrote, “are all the kinds of words authors use when the data are flimsy and reputations are at stake.”
There is no question that African-Americans, on average, die younger and have poorer health than whites. What is less clear is why that is the case. Socio-economic class and behavior both play an important role. Homicide is the leading cause of death for young black males between the ages of 15-24, for example. Obesity, drug and alcohol use, and other behavioral factors play an important role in determining overall health. But will insisting on preferences for African-American students applying to medical-school admission improve health care for blacks? Not likely.
There is not one scintilla of evidence that black doctors treating black patients will make black people healthier. But when have facts ever stopped the racialists from seeking preferences based not on ability or aptitude, but rather the color of one’s skin? You either have what it takes to be a doctor or you don’t. The same is true for nurses, and anyone’s hands I am forced to entrust with my mortal coil.
I don’t care if my doctor is black, brown, green, or six shades of chartreuse. I don’t care whether the physician is from Delhi, India, Peshawar, Pakistan, Colombo, Sri Lanka, or Dixon, Illinois. When I’m in an emergency room after being involved in a car wreck, I just want to be assured that the attending physician knows my shin bone from my elbow bone, is fully qualified as a result of a medical meritocracy, and isn’t the recipient of preferential medical school policies that promote based on the accident of birth that gave one person more melanin than someone else.
I support affirmative action as it was originally intended. But the idea that all things being equal in educational or employment opportunities, preference should be given if at all possible to those who have been the historic targets of discrimination has fallen by the wayside in favor of out and out quotas by schools and large corporations who fear being sued for discrimination more than they value fairness and merit based policies. And this cockamamie idea that preferential consideration should be given applicants not due to ability but due to skin tone or whether one’s loins are cloven, not cleft, is a rank injustice against all Americans.
A society that recognizes historic differences in equal opportunity but seeks to overcome disadvantages for some by disadvantaging others is not the kind of society envisioned by the Founders nor those who fought so hard to make the Constitution’s words about equality be a source of inspiration and not hypocrisy. Martin Luther King and most of the mainstream civil rights activists at the time believed in an Affirmative Action that recognized merit first, race second. Today’s race baiters and hate mongers have that notion switched around entirely and instead, use Affirmative Action as a club to make a mockery of merit altogether.
The notion that a white doctor can treat me better than a black doctor, and vice versa, is so nonsensical as to be beyond belief. I either have the flu or I don’t. The same goes for just about everything else connected with medical care. Medicine is a science that makes judgments as a result of empirical facts based on testing and experience. The idea that a white doctor would miss a virus, or a bug, or some other condition, or prescribe the wrong medicine, or cause any harm by omission or commission because he/she is not the same color as the patient is idiotic on its face.
Should medical schools actively seek out qualified minority candidates? Abslutely yes. But not everyone has what it takes to be a doctor, and admitting unqualified candidates based on race while other, qualified candidates are refused will not improve the health care system, will not improve the life expectancy of blacks, but will result in fewer doctors.
And in the immortal words of Dirty Harry, “That’s a helluva price to pay for being stylish.”