Women of color do not receive the proper care in the health care system due to systematic racism, prejudice and discrimination. According to the League of United Latin American Citizens, “racial minorities and other vulnerable populations suffer a disproportionate burden of disease. These groups of people suffer from poorer health outcomes due to disparities in accessing health insurance coverage, quality care, and other factors.” The lack of care women of color receive is due to stereotypes and biased opinions which are oftentimes fatal for the patient.
Women of color experience social death when it comes to the health care system. Social death is when a society does not accept a group as fully human or deserving to be considered or protected. When women of color go to the hospital, their concerns are not listened to.
When it comes to pain management, Latino women do not receive the same level of care as their white counterparts. The article titled “The pain experience of Hispanic Americans,” published in the National Library of Medicine, explains, “Reviews suggest that these racial/ethnic differences in pain experience may be due to differences in pain processing, pain coping strategies, and cultural factors. Moreover, although pain accounts for 80% of all physician visits, many patients – particularly racial/ethnic minorities– receive inadequate management for non-malignant pain.”
Women of color should not have to worry about racism while trying to maintain their health. The level of care should be the same for every patient; race should not be a factor. All patients deserve to be treated fairly. This is a very serious issue because the level of care that is given can be the difference between life and death.
The whole reason behind a call to action is to improve the level of care that women of color are receiving. Doctors and nurses should be forced to take a cultural competence class before being able to practice. All allegations of racism should be taken seriously. People of color should try to gather resources from a trusted organization to ensure they are receiving great care.
Candace Wheaton is a junior majoring in social work. One of Candace’s career goals is to help eliminate racial disparities within minority communities.