I had hoped that practicing medicine would allow me a noble career guided by objective science and the pursuit of truth. Unfortunately, I have come to realize that the ethos of egalitarianism has corrupted my profession. Below are a few thoughts after a recent informal review of the medical literature`s attitude toward race.
Race and medicine often make the headlines these days. But I hadn`t realized that entire journals are dedicated to this burgeoning area until I stumbled upon The American Journal of Multicultural Medicine: Moving Toward Culturally-Effective Care [V1:2 2004]
To my surprise, I found very matter-of-fact positions regarding the biological reality of race.
From the first article based on a panel discussion of osteoporosis: [Osteoporosis And Bone Health, Achieving Multicultural Goals]
"African-American girls in particular have greater bone density using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, or Dexa scanning, than Caucasian women. So it falls in line that genetically there is a predisposition to an increase in bone density particularly in African Americans."
The article continued by quoting a black physician on the panel concerning a study of African-Americans in Louisiana:
"There is so much intermixing, and there is a European predisposition that was found in a lot of the African-American women in this particular study. So not all African Americans are the same because they may have the influence of European gene pools, particularly in an area like Louisiana where there is a lot of mixing among the Creole population....But as far as the African-American population, we have very fair complected blacks who may have an increase in the European influence in their genetic pool."
Another panelist commented:
One of the participants in a different panel discussion on Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) stated:
"Upon their experience as well as data... the Asian population has a lower incidence of thrombophilia and DVT."
Apparently, the medical community implicitly accepts Philippe Rushton`s hypothesis that three major ancestral genetic pools exist. Beyond that, taxonomy becomes somewhat complex. However, physicians as a practical matter undoubtedly work with Steve Sailer`s definition that races can be considered to be extended families.
In fact, on the government website for organ transplantation I found that this explicit statement:
"Matching donor organs to potential recipients requires genetic similarity. Generally, people are genetically more similar to people of their own ethnicity or race than to people of other races. Therefore, matches are more likely and more timely when donors and potential recipients are members of the same ethnic background."
Try telling minority patients, disproportionately represented on transplant waiting lists—largely for genetic reasons I would argue—that race is a "social construct."
Now the bad news. After honest discussion about varying racial predispositions to disease, most health care articles descend into obligatory diatribes about discrimination, bias, and needed government programs. It is ominously reminiscent of the quasi-Marxist race/gender/class deconstructionism that now goes on in English departments across the country after reading one of the Western classics.
One unfortunate article perfectly captured the danger of flouting racial genetic differences in the pursuit of social justice.
The authors actually proposed increasing overall morbidity in order to decrease the disparity in the allocation of kidney transplants between racial groups—itself a function of the fact that African-Americans and other minority groups are disproportionately prone to kidney disease. [And for a variety of reasons, less likely to be donors.] They suggested attempting fewer actual transplants in whites and accepting more organ rejections in minorities—because less compatible kidneys would have to be used—in order to equalize the statistical rate of transplantation.
This proposal would knowingly cause increased suffering, sickness, and even death. It is plainly unethical.
But the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine accepted and published this article! [Effect of Changing the Priority for HLA Matching on the Rates and Outcomes of Kidney Transplantation in Minority Groups]
Obviously, it must take a powerful and perverse social force to move physicians to recommend harming their patients. I have found James Kalb`s brilliant writing helpful in trying to understand Political Correctness (PC). Far from being about fairness, it is ultimately anti-white—imposing on whites an obligation to sacrifice their interests to those of non-whites.
Racial medicine is providing a glimmer of hope that the public discourse on race will become more honest. But can it ultimately transcend the oppressive PC paradigm?
This historically unprecedented mindset is not only dangerous to patients—it has also served to legitimate the managerial state and rendered the West silent in the face of the issue of our time: the National Question—whether the nation-state can survive as the political expression of particular peoples in the face of mass non-traditional immigration.
Dr. Ken Dombey [email him] is a practicing internist.