Social Stigma Against Black Men and Mental Health

After engaging in an onstage rant and ending his concert prematurely, it was reported in November that rapper Kanye West had suffered a “nervous breakdown.” After going on a lengthy tirade about a personal conflict with Jay-Z and Beyoncé, West warned, “Get ready to have a field day press, ‘cause the show’s over,” dropped the microphone, and walked offstage. While the rapper’s antics have become rather commonplace and even expected, something was different this time. This time was different because he was immediately admitted to a hospital – reportedly for a psychiatric evaluation – thus, bringing about a nationwide conversation … Read more

Phenotypes & Stereotypes

I drive three hours almost every weekend to go home to my family, and lately I’ve been listening to podcasts to help pass the time, namely RadioLab. I came across an episode from season five simply titled “Race.” There are a lot of interesting stories featured under this topic, but one in particular has kept me thinking long after listening to it. There has been this trend circling around the internet where people reveal the results of a DNA test that tells them what percentage of their genes are specific to other people living in certain regions. For example, if … Read more

America’s “monumental” problems

In 2008 Obama had the opportunity to speak about race with the whole world listening. He had to walk the fine line of a politically correct statement, or getting at the heart of real racial issues in our country. “Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white … Read more

Can we talk race and healthcare?

As we have discussed in other class sessions and reading, racism often occurs unintentionally potentiated by unconscious prejudice and stereotypes. To the extent that many people are unaware of their biases, there is little motivation for change.

As a healthcare provider, I have worked in predominately white owned practices privately and publicly and have found that not only do minorities and others marginalized groups receive among other treatments, substandard medical and nursing care, but that often time racism is the fuel motivating the delivery of such care. Often times patients of color are unable to effectively voice these sentiments due to stereotypes threats, and healthcare providers often becomes offended that they are in essences being accused of being a racist.

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A Story of the Way Racism Manifests Itself Today

I recently spoke to my mom the other day and she told me a story about her best friend from high school that I thought was particularly interesting for purposes of our class. Her friend Carrie adopted three children from China since she was never able to have her own children. The middle child is currently a senior in high school and for the past few years has been struggling with a disorder known as Reactive Attachment Disorder. Here is an explanation of the disorder to provide a background for the actions of Carrie’s daughter:

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