Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: race

  • Movie review: Pressure Point – treating the hateful patient

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “You sing ‘My country ’tis of thee’ while they walk all over you.”— The patient, Pressure Point Pressure Point (1962) is a “doctor movie” that is “all but unknown to the general public.”1 This is unfortunate, since it contains important messages as well as some splendid acting. The story is told as…

  • Movie review: No Way Out

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   A lumbar puncture being performed. Brainhell, 2006. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. The more things change, the more they stay the same. – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808–1890)   No Way Out is a 1950 movie about medicine and racism that deserves more attention than it has received. The story takes…

  • Rudolf Virchow and the anthropology of race

    Friedrich C. LuftDetlev GantenBerlin, Germany Rudolf Virchow, born in 1821, was arguably the most important German physician, biologist, social scientist, and anthropologist of the nineteenth century. His establishment of cellular pathology is known by all and his comment that “politics is nothing more than medicine on a grand scale” is recalled by many. Less appreciated…

  • Blood policies and bioart in the 1900s

    Christopher HubbardOhio, United States Policies related to blood that were adopted in the U.S. during the early to mid-1900s produced cultural and legal effects for certain populations. In 1920, for example, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act was passed by Congress,1 which modified how identity classifications and boundaries would be drawn up. The act classified an…

  • Bleeding science dry: The history of scientific racism and blood

    Matthew CasasKansas City, United States One might be familiar with the expression “We All Bleed Red.” But what exactly does blood have to say about our “humanity”? Ripe with good intention, the aforementioned mantra represents a campaign to promote peace by winning over the hearts and minds of those assumed to be unaware of a…

  • Dr. Rebecca Cole and racial health disparities in nineteenth-century Philadelphia

    Meg Vigil-Fowler Grand Junction, Colorado   The anatomy lecture room at the Woman’s Medical College of New York Infirmary. Published in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  April 16, 1870. Library of Congress. From the beginning of black women’s professional involvement in medicine, public health marked a central component of the scope of their practice. Rebecca Cole,…

  • Drug war or race war? Effects of illegal drug distribution in the African-American community

    Denise PowellSan Francisco, California, United States I also don’t believe in drugs. For years I paid my people extra so they wouldn’t do that kind of business. Somebody comes to them and says, “I have powders. If you up three, four-thousand-dollar investment, we can make fifty thousand distributing.” So they can’t resist. I want to…

  • Rachel Fleming and the non-reality of “racial types”

    Barry BoginUnited Kingdom During the early twentieth century several longitudinal studies of child growth were initiated in the United States and Europe. Such longitudinal studies take repeated measurements of the same children, usually once a year, and from the data both size and rate of growth (velocity) can be calculated. The first such study in…

  • “Mississippi Appendectomy” and other stories: When silence is complicity

    Alida RolEugene, Oregon, United States The world moves fast and it would rather pass u by than 2 stop and c what makes u cry.– Tupac Shakur, “The Rose That Grew from Concrete” She sits perched on the exam table in a too-large gown. We talk about a hysterectomy I have recommended, to remove the fibroid…

  • Black man, white coat

    Yeji LeeToronto, Canada   There is a fine line between prejudice and experience, and it is a line that grows all the more important for someone who is a doctor. In his memoir, Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine, Dr. Damon Tweedy ushers his readers through his years…