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Shakyara Jean When Will They Start Caring About Us?

When Will They Start Caring About Us?


Think about a time where you or a family member were in the hospital. How were you

treated? Where your concerns taken seriously? Were you given the proper aid and care? For

numerous of African America women, these questions all have been answered negatively. Racial

discrimination is often shown in the healthcare system today which is causing untreated

problems and death in the black community when it comes to healthcare.

I remember my first time getting a concussion, which is a very serious head injury that

could lead to other damage if not treated correctly. The nurses came in, ran a few tests, asked me

a few questions and left me in the emergency room for over 6 hours without coming to check on

me, give any updates, or even just make sure I was okay. After waiting, my nurse, who was a

white woman, she came in and told me that I had a concussion and they would have to give me

an MRI to check the brain to ensure there is no other damage. Yet again, we waited for hours just

to be prepared for the MRI. As our hours are going by, we can see new patients being checked

in, treated, discharged, etc. while I was still waiting just to take an MRI. My father went out to

ask my nurse about how much longer it would take for the procedure to be done and all that was

said to us was, “We’re working on it now” or “Very soon”.

As we sat patiently wait, as my hospital bill racked up higher and higher, I made a

comment to my father. I said, “Do you realize that I’m the only black patient here right now?

That’s probably the reason they’re taking so long.” He responded, “This is the world we live in,

the more I say, the longer they’ll make us wait.” When I was finally discharged after spending

my entire day in the hospital, we went to pay our co-pay which was over $600. At this time my

father had just gotten out of surgery for a torn ACL and we didn’t have the money on hand since

he was paying his own hospital bills, on top of our everyday living bills. We asked if it was
Shakyara Jean When Will They Start Caring About Us?

possible that we could do a payment plan and rudely, she told us that it would take interest if we

did it that way. This didn’t seem right, but we had no other choice since we didn’t have that

much money on hand. At that very moment I realized that the needs of African Americans get

put last, even in the medical field. The root of this problem has always been racism. Dating back

to the 1890s through 1950s where segregations was legal (Smith,1), whites have had an unfair

advantage over African Americans involving social class, ability to obtain a good job, receiving

an education and most of all, natural born rights. It’s not a secret that black people are

discriminated and oppressed in today’s society, the privileged sweep or problems under the rug

and go about their arrogant way. When it comes to the needs of the black person, we are seen as

inferior. During the Progressive Era, people believed that black people were the inferior species

and since we were no longer slaves that we would soon become extinct because we didn’t know

how to survive on our own. The concept of “survival of the fittest” and ultimately, we weren’t fit

to survive in a world with the most superior race (Smith, 8).

Not only is there a struggle with obtaining healthcare but becoming a healthcare

professional as an African American. As an African American woman is it four times as hard.

For us, we have to acquire a certain image, social class, temperament, exceed proficiency with

our education etc. There are only 5.7% of physicians in the United States that are black. On top

of that, just 4%of the entire black community in our country are doctors. 4% of the entire 13% of

the population that we make up in our country are doctors.

Today, there has been so many cases of black women dying after giving birth. When

black women express their concerns about their health, their voice doesn’t get heard until it’s too

late. It is proven that a black woman is 243% more likely to die from pregnancy or child-birth
Shakyara Jean When Will They Start Caring About Us?

related causes than white women. That extremely high number just proves that black women are

treated as nothing in the healthcare system.

This is a crisis in the world today, not only for African Americans but potential and

undoubtedly other minorities. We should not be facing harsh injustice because of the color or our

skin, ethnic group, cultural standing or whatever the case may be. There can be a transformation

in the healthcare system by eliminating these corrupt healthcare professions and hiring people

who want the best for all people, regardless of race. When we began the better the healthcare

field for ourselves, they will have no choice but to hear us and care.
Shakyara Jean When Will They Start Caring About Us?

Works Cited

Hostetter, Martha, and Sarah Klein. “In Focus: Reducing Racial Disparities in Health Care by

Confronting Racism.” Commonwealth Fund, 27 Sept. 2018,


Smith, Susan L. Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Black Women's Health Activism in

America, 1890-1950. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995. JSTOR,

Taylor, Teletia R, et al. “Racial Discrimination and Breast Cancer Incidence in US Black

Women: the Black Women's Health Study.” American Journal of Epidemiology, U.S.

National Library of Medicine, 1 July 2007,

White, Evelyn C. The Black Women's Health Book: Speaking for Ourselves. Seal Press, 1990.