Today on the WBAI weekly segment that I do (with regular commentator STACEY PATTON and host ESTER ARMAH), we discussed a New York Times article that recently posted. Find it here.
The article “Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics” immediately reminded me of what happened in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1932. 400 Black sharecroppers, who were diagnosed with syphilis, were left untreated, purposefully. The US Health Service, a government agency, was sponsoring an experiment. The point was to see how this disease affected Black people versus White people. It called for ignoring the disease amongst these Black patients. The horrendous example was uncovered 4o years later in 1972. A law student brought it to light and shared it with the Associated Press. James Jones wrote a book about the experiment, entitled “Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.”
Just a few years ago, Harriet Washington wrote a book that expanded the conversation on how racism shows up to torment Black people in the areas of health. That book, “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” is not one that I’ve read yet, but the reviews are outstanding.
What’s peculiar, we discussed today, is that the article did not race, only class. Who do you think the writer was discussing when he opened up the article with:
“New federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows.”