Medical Apartheid

By Harriet A. Washington,

Book cover of Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

Book description

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • The first full history of Black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read this masterful book.

"[Washington] has…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Medical Apartheid as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Did you know that 75% of bones in the human body are found below the knee? I thought that was interesting as well… if only it were true! This book taught me to critically assess data and not blindly accept every ‘scientific-sounding’ statement as truth. Medical Apartheid details the origins of several medical innovations which shockingly date back to slavery. The things doctors once considered permissible to do to enslaved women on the basis that ‘they did not feel pain’ brought literal tears to my eyes, but it was necessary for me to read because it shared the truth. A…

From JJ's list on detecting bullsh*t.

Medical Apartheid is the one book that I urge all of my medical students to read. In a compelling narrative laced with shocking details, Washington reveals the way various forms of racial segregation and bias have shaped the American medical system – from the ghastly 19th century experiments of surgeon J. Marion Sims to the systemic exploitation of the government’s MK-ULTRA program in the 1950s to ongoing discrimination today.  

As a community deathcare educator and (white) death doula, it is crucial for me to understand how racism shows up in end-of-life care. Without understanding the history of medical care in the United States and how people of color have been tested on, mistreated, and lied to, you could not understand the depth of the many challenges that still exist today. This is not a light read, but it is a necessary deep look into the atrocities that have been inflicted on people of color in the medical system over time. If you are studying death and dying, and especially…

From Anne-Marie's list on love through deathcare.

From the pre-Civil War era to the current day, Washington describes the grim saga of African Americans used as “research material” by the medical community. Dr. J. Marion Sims’s gynecological and plantation experiments, black bodies - alive and dead - used as classroom instructional material, and cellblock prisoners incorporated in myriad Phase I drug studies, as well as many more examples, are all part of Washington’s award-winning account of medical exploitation. After reading Medical Apartheid, one will better understand why so many black Americans are skeptical of medical science, fearful of doctors and hospitals, and resistant to vaccine campaigns,…

From Allen's list on human experimentation.

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