Modern Black Health Care or Black Health Scare? (Part 3 of 5)
Although I received a “Certificate of Participation” at The Human Genome Awareness Information Conference where the theme was “The Challenges and Impact of Human Genome Research for Minority Communities,” I am by no means an expert on the subject matter. Yes, I first read about the human genome research several years ago, but the real experts, such as the eminent Dr. Rodney Hood, a nationally recognized African American physician, presented at the conference.
In his exceptional presentation as the keynote speaker, he pointed out that prominent White medical scientists like Samuel George Morton (1799-1851) and Josiah Clark Nott (1804-1873) have proudly dived headfirst into vortex that is Scientific Racism. One on-line encyclopedia says that Dr. Morton ‘was an American physician and natural scientist who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1820.’ It goes to state that ‘after he earned an advanced degree from Edinburgh University in Europe, he began practice at Philadelphia in 1824. From 1839 to 1843, he was the professor of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania.’ Despite all this education, of the Black race Morton said that “this race present a singular diversity of intellectual character, of which the far extreme is the lowest grade of humanity.” Dr. Nott, a contemporary of Dr. Morton, was a staunch bigot and serious proponent of scientific racist theories.
Another source reveals that “anthropologists such as Carleton Coon (1904-1981) published insulting treatises that demean Blacks and other persons of color while exalting whites.” Dr. Coon. What a name. In reference to physicians and scientists like Morton and Nott above, our source continues by stating that “even before Coon’s pronouncements, efforts were made to place Blacks in a species category different from that of whites. The most notorious example was the development of the pseudoscience of phrenology, invented by Franz Josef Gall. Through phrenology, medicine aided and abetted proponents of slavery by indicating that measurements of human skulls with calipers, pioneered by Retzius, demonstrated that whites had larger internal skull capacity and, therefore, larger brains and more innate intelligence than did Blacks. The inference was that Blacks were lower creatures and were deserving of being enslaved.”
These notorious racist White physicians were not alone in their pseudoscientific beliefs. “Other scientists joined in the denigration of Blacks,” states one source. “The pinnacle was reached on February 8, 1848, when the distinguished fellows of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia met to hear a lecture by their most revered member, eminent craniologist Samuel George Morton, MD, who had already published Crania Americana. At the Philadelphia meeting, Morton presented an 18-year-old Hottentot man who had been sent to him from South Africa by craniologist Samuel Gliddon. Commenting on the young man’s head, Morton described it as completely foreign to the European concept of the ideal physical features for the human species. His theories of racial inferiority were taught in medical schools throughout the United States and were endorsed by some of the most respected scientists and physicians of the day, including Charles Meigs, MD, John Collins Warren, MD, and Louis Agassiz, MD, of Harvard. The concept of race was thus distorted, resulting in racism, bias, and stereotyping that have continued into the 21st century.”
Are African Americans today affected by these White Doctors of Death from recent centuries of the past? Absolutely! In his presentation at the conference, Dr. Hood outlined the following sobering facts: (1) 35 percent more Blacks than the general population die from cancer each year; (2) 40 percent more Blacks than the general population die from heart disease each year; (3) Blacks suffer much higher rates of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), but Whites are twice as likely to receive a life saving kidney transplant; and (4) The impact of HIV/AIDS, violence, substance abuse, unintentional injuries, infant mortality, diabetes, hypertension and many other preventable conditions is greater for Blacks. In the final analysis, medical discrimination is fatal: more than 80,000 Blacks die per year than do Whites.
And speaking of HIV/AIDS in the Black National Community (BNC), CNN reports the following: “The U.S. population is about 13 percent African-American, but Blacks accounted for nearly half-or 49 percent-of the people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the United States in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. AIDS is one of the leading causes of death for Blacks in the United States, according to CDC. And in 2005, Blacks made up nearly half of newly diagnosed HIV and AIDS cases.”
Disturbingly, HIV/AIDS in the BNC could be much higher than has been reported. It has been alleged that celebrities who are dying from AIDS-related complications arranged to have the disease masked before their demise. That is to say, at their behest, the “cause of death” is listed as lupus, heart disease, a rare genetic disorder, an immune system dysfunction or abnormality, etc. In the tradition of the Tuskegee experiments where Black men were fooled into thinking they were being treated for syphilis but were instead left to die from its ravages, some see HIV/AIDS pandemic in the BNC as an authentic weapon of mass destruction; a surgical tool used by the government as an instrument of Black genocide.
Next week, Black physicians weigh in on the Black health scare in the penultimate article in this series.
Dr. Firpo Carr n can be reached at (800) 501-2713 or email