Sunday, March 18, 2007


friday i went to see an opthamologist at the Casey Eye institute (which by the way is a great place). i have this mild eye condition so i was discussing that with the doctor. he says, "yeah.... for some reason it's really common among blacks". i don't know why the way he said "blacks" instead of "black people" sounded so offensive to me. but it just did. i guess it sounded so formal, like just by him saying "BLACKS" i could tell that he didn't have any black friends. totally.

but how did he know that? is that just some random fact he had been told? some statistic he was told about?

i always cringe when someone on the news says things like these:

"african americans are at high risk for high blood pressure"

"african american women are the highest at risk for HIV"

"african americans are at high risk for diabetes".

i hear that kind of so-called information a lot. and there is never any specific study given or date or by whom it was conducted. the media just tells us all this and we're supposed to go, "oh. okay. that must be true and factual because the news says that some study somewhere was conducted".

are those "studies" accurate? how did they test every single black american to know that we're at high risk for this or that? is it determined by the percentage of black american with insurance that actually go to the doctor? what percentage of black people is that? and i'm not saying that it's not true that black people are at risk for this or that. i'm just saying that there is such a thing called propaganda and you shouldn't just make a statement without providing details.

i actually can't recall someone reporting that whites are at risk for this or that. can you recall it? i always hear about the minorities that are at risk for this or that.

hmmm. white people must be pretty darn healthy and black people must not be.


Anonymous said...

in a previous post about tipping, you said you're a doctor. i hope it's not an m.d., 'cause you sound like you don't know about PubMed, or scientific research in general, or tailoring care to specific patients.

of course diabetes and sickle cell anemia scientists don't study every black person in america. you don't have to spend every day in portland or tucson to know one's rainier than the other. you just have to be careful to pick a large, random sample.

i think i can understand, though, why it's annoying for black people to always be presented as the "abnormal" ones compared to "normal" white people. i'm a feminist, and the media does that to "abnormal" women versus "normal" men all the time.

still, i wouldn't get offended or insist on citations if my doctor said i need a pap because i'm more likely to get cervical cancer than a man. our bodies are different is all. and i'm grateful as heck that my doctor knows that.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, honestly, you have a lot of hangups and I've never understood them, but I realize as a white male I never will, and I let it go.

But there's no way I can get behind this one. Can you quote a scientific study offhand that says HIV is spread via sexual contact? Probably not, but you know it is, right?

Doctors can't be expected to read and cite every study that comes out. They get that information summarized for them. Do you think there is some racist agenda built into the scientific method? Races are different, biologically speaking. As PC as I'd like to be, you just can't deny that.

And, off the top of my head, I'll give you one disease whites are far more susceptible to: multiple sclerosis. I'm sure there are many more.

That Black Girl said...

anon1, i said that i was a doctor? when??

That Black Girl said...

anon2, did you know that white people used to tell everyone that black people were really animals? was that true back in the early 20th century just because white people said so?

Anonymous said...

I think you have a hightened sensitivity to race issues and that makes people uncomfortable. But that does not mean that your sensitivity is off the mark or unfounded.

I think a lot of the time people sense things are amiss without knowing why we feel that way, before the facts are all out...its like a sixth sense based on a gut feeling that something is not right.

I say trust it and explore it and if people tell you to be quiet about it, don't listen.

Anonymous said...

anon1 -- a commenter said she was a doctor, not TBG.

Thomas Sanderson said...

Well I'm a 35yr old white male, with friends of all races, and I can truly understand how the opthamologist using "blacks" would be offensive. I can't put it into words, but I always cringe when I hear people say blacks as opposed to black people.

Natalie said...

I used to be pre-med and one thing I learned about African-americans being more prone to high blood pressure really interested me. It effects primarily African-Americans vs. Blacks (I'm guilty of often leaving off people) in general. One reason possibly being (and I am summing up a lot) that during the middle passage, where the availability of water was low, those who naturally retained salt (and therefore water) had a greater tendency to survive. This has been passed down through generations and now, with our salt filled diet, salt retention can lead to high blood pressure. How messed up is that? And people tell us to get over slavery because it doesn't matter anymore.... There are a lot of diseases that effect whites but maybe you don't hear about them as much because your drs don't think it matters to you?

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment poster that this blogger doesn't seem to know anything about scientific research or practice.

Black moses said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sully said...

I think what Black girl is trying to say is there are scientific studies done, but it would be just as easy to claim anything without citing which study. I doubt she's saying that there is no such thing as scientific studies.

That Black Girl said...

a few of you say that i have "hang ups". while i do have some, as everyone else does as well, i don't know why this post is considered a type of "hang up". i'm not walking around mad at the world when i'm out and about in portland. if someone does or says something interesting, i blog about it. period. i wasn't mad at the doctor for saying "blacks", i simply heard it and tucked my opinion about it away for blogging sake. talking about "blacks" sounds weird to me. so what. that doesn't mean i'm going postal or anything like that. how is that a hang up? and about the scientific studies, i KNOW there are scientific studies. i'm not disputing that. my POINT was that anyone can claim anything at any time. how is anyone supposed to know if it's accurate or not? HOW DO I KNOW whether it's just negative propaganda or not? i am a critical reader and thinker and if someone just says "the world is round and not flat" they'd better be able to back it up in the same breath.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that black girl. I have had an issue with thse countless "studies" that make it seem as if black people are some consistent issue having group. When are they going to say that majority of us have something good for a change?

Sure some of these studies may hold truth, but we have to be careful of how much of this that we hold as the gospel.

Remember numbers are always skewed to fit any point you want to make.

Anonymous said...

That statement did sound offensive. But actually in medicine when you are learning about certain disease & conditions you do learn who (race wise) is more predispose to the certain condtion. And yes it does seem like we (African Americans) have way more conditions than others. But there are conditions for Jews, Native Americans, Lation's etc, but they are not highly talked about.

Aly Cat 121 said...

It just depends on WHO is doing the study on the outcome. I've studied research from African and African-American scholars (Dr. Arthur Lewis, Dr. John H. Clarke, Dr. Yosef ben Jochanan, Dr. Walter Williams, Dr. Charsee McIntyre, etc I could really on and on and on) and the info they have differs from what the white media produces. If African-Americans controlled the media it would be the exact opposite.

Bense said...



The huge banner ad I saw, financed by the Ad Council for the National Stroke Association makes it pretty clear. It states "Know where you stand".

I'm not a doctor, not trying to argue about genetical reasons or trying to make up reasons of social issues leading to it. But it is seemingly a fact. And seemingly, those people who admit problems and go see a doctor are less likely to die of something, no matter what skin color they are...

Anonymous said...

Doctors generally are educated about medical studies and go to the sources, not just read Time Magazine's take on a new medical study. The media is not so savvy I am afraid, at least when I read the studies that they report on. Just wanted to add, that most studies look at race as self-identified. So there are some built in biases there, and unless there is a huge difference between races you can ignore most of the result. It is much less clear cut than gender differences.

mellaceus said...

Interesting comments here.

A blog is like a diary, and the TBG has articulated her sense to the word used by the doctor and to the stats that come flying at Af-Ams without warning about medical conditions.

To anyone who thinks that TBG was oversensitive, please share, if you know of any - what GOOD medical stats do you know AND have heard several times regarding Af-Ams? Any GOOD non-medical stats? Hm?

Af-Ams and people who have lived or worked with Af-Ams of DIFFERENT backgrounds can tell you that what they know is different from what the media tells the viewer. The case is no different for Africans or Caribbeans in the UK.

It's all rooted in image, and it can hurt.

Anonymous said...

Black girl, some ethnicities are more susceptible to certain illness. Asians, Caucasians, Jewish folks, and yes, Blacks. Period. No use in denying it.

And what does this "black people as animals" have to do with anything? Maybe trigger some guilty conscience? Let's stay on the topic at hand, shall we?

Lethyan said...

Black girl, some ethnicities are more susceptible to certain illness. Asians, Caucasians, Jewish folks, and yes, Blacks. Period. No use in denying it.

Except HIV and AIDS aren't race specific, so no dice there pal.

And what does this "black people as animals" have to do with anything? Maybe trigger some guilty conscience? Let's stay on the topic at hand, shall we?

Look into the "black holocaust" and see that making blacks animals and beasts made it easy to do those things to them with a clear conscience.

Tayo said...

I need to tell you something. You say that Whites are healthier than blacks. I majored in Biology in college and took 3 genetics classes. If you did your own research instead of eating up everything society tells you, you would know that Whites have way more GENETIC diseases than Black people. White people have weaker genetics. They are more likely to be afflicted with genetic diseases from birth. Tay Sach's disese, MS, Huntington's disease. cystic fibrosis, Klinefelter syndrome, Alzheimer's, Hemophilia A, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Color blindness, and about 60 others! Why? Because Whites are more inbred. In Europe it was common to marry cousins and relatives in order to keep wealth in the family! Do your research!! The disorders that Black Americans suffer from today such as high blood pressure and diabetes are directly related to ENVIRONMENTAL factors, not CONGENITAL! They are easily fixed with proper diet, exercise, and less stress!! And since many Blacks have low incomes and live in poorer areas, that is a major task to accomplish!! Stress from work, bills, and SOCIETY can have a major effect on health!! Oh and by the way, more Black Americans are suffering from genetic diseases nowadays due to intermarriage with Whites, and i did not come up with that, my WHITE Human Genetics Proffesor told the class that!! I put my myspace up so u can see my pic and that im not hiding anything! The reason that they dont talk about this FACT in the media is because America does not want you to know!

Tayo said...

oh the myspace link did not show up, maybe its a sign.

Anonymous said...

First, I don't think TBG was being oversensitive. She wasn't even offended by the word, just interested in how he said it. I would be also and can't fault her for blogging about it. Even if she was offended by her doctor, she wouldn't be oversensitive. Race is a sensitive issue with most people, and its easy to be offensive even if you don't mean to.

Second, I must have a great doctor because he tells me which conditions I'm more susceptible to as a white person.

Third, I'm offended by Tayo's statement that white people have weaker genetics. This is an example of what I call reverse racism in modern America. White people being more susceptible, genetically, to certain illnesses is more of an environment of evolution issue than a issue of who's genetics are weaker. The Nazi's used the "Weak Eugenics" argument to justify atrocities against Jews, Gypsies and non-Aryan whites during WWII.