Published by Capital City Hues, August 21, 2023
Black people die disproportionately in a number of ways in this country. By the hands of police, by the hands of people they know, from disease, from lead poisoning. Whatever. Not only has the society become immune to these grim statistics, certain sectors profit from their very existence. The medical profession is one of these sectors which is why African Americans view it with suspicious eyes.
What if we were to apply the conspiracy to injure, maim or kill definition when it comes to the treatment and outcomes of Black folks by the medical industrial complex? Perhaps this kind of outrageous description will wake us all up.
In the criminal world, you don’t have to explicitly agree to the harm to be charged with conspiracy to commit; it just has to be proven that you were a part of the action that led to the outcome. In many states, you will get the same sentence as the person or persons who actually knowingly and intentionally committed the crime.
Black women and Black babies are dying at alarming rates. According to the Center for Disease Control, Black women are dying at almost three times the rate of her white counterparts; Black babies are faring no better.
When it comes to maternal mortality rates, the U.S. holds the shameful title among the developing countries. It has held the title for decades and long before COVID-19 exposed the racial disparities in the healthcare system. Wisconsin is one of the states that contribute to the persistently high rates of mortality.
The CDC has proclaimed that 80 percent of the pregnancy-related deaths were preventable. The question becomes, “Why hasn’t the situation improved when billions of dollars have been thrown at studying the bodies and lifestyles of African Americans?” Wisconsin, like other states, has huge medical centers in the urban areas yet that’s where the disparities are entrenched and unapologetically persistent. The medical industrial complex must be held accountable.
The mountain of highly funded research reports rarely produces any new information. Okay, maybe one. One study revealed that Black newborns are three times likely to die when under the care of white doctors. That was a shocker. The solution to that problem seems obvious.
But generally, the reports all point to structural racism that drives both the sociological factors and the health factors for African American women. Where they live are real-life indicators of their wellbeing including their longevity. How they live is shaped by racist systems that guarantee miseducation, homelessness, unemployment, low wages, food deserts, violence, stress and trauma. Equally as unconscionable is the stark differences in treatment when Black women and children actually get access to a medical facility. Otherwise, how do you account for white people walking through the same doors and coming out with better outcomes than Black, Hispanic and Native American people?
This is why it is quite appropriate to start characterizing the practices and policies of the health care system in this country as criminal. Black people are dying from diseases for which there are cures and positive prognoses. The data and statistics confirm that institutions are conspiring to injure, maim and kill. We don’t need another study; we need some criminal convictions.