It’s no secret that medicine has become increasingly woke.
As I noted in the Daily Sceptic last year, the American Medical Association advocates “the removal of sex as a legal designation on the public portion of the birth certificate” on the grounds that it “fails to recognize the medical spectrum of gender identity”. So that organisation has fully embraced transgender identity politics.
In a must-read article, Heather Mac Donald documents how the medical establishment has also embraced racial identity politics.
“Medical schools and medical societies”, she notes, “are discarding traditional standards of merit in order to alter the demographic characteristics of their profession”. According to economist Mark Perry, black students are seven times more likely to be admitted to medical school than similarly qualified white students, and more than nine times more likely than Asian students.
Laxer entry requirements for black students mean that those who get admitted perform less well as doctors. A recent study based on data from 6 medical schools found that black residents were consistently rated lower than white or Asian residents. However, the authors ignored the obvious explanation for these disparities, and concluded they must be due to “bias in faculty assessment, effects of a non-inclusive learning environment, or structural inequities in assessment.”
Professor Stanley Goldfarb wasn’t convinced. “Could it be they were just less good at being residents?”, he opined on Twitter. In response to this perfectly reasonable (and almost certainly correct) suggestion, Goldfarb was deluged with accusations of “racism”. One user said he “might be the most garbage human I’ve seen with my own eyes”. He was then admonished in an official email by the chair of his own department.
As Mac Donald notes, it isn’t just medical schools that are engaging in woke activism. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, founded by the reclusive billionaire and aerospace enthusiast, is one of the world’s largest funders of basic biomedical research. Yet in May of this year, it announced $1.5 billion worth of funding for “diverse” labs where “minoritized scientists will thrive and persist”.
Woke activism is even stopping research from being carried out at all. In May of this year, Mac Donald reports, a scientist lost the funding for her drug trial because it didn’t include enough black people. This was despite the fact that the drug is for a type of cancer black people rarely get – meaning there were almost no black patients available to take part.
Unlike traditional hubs of woke activism like ‘gender studies’ and ‘critical race theory’, medicine actually matters. People expect their doctors to be selected on merit, rather than via racial bean-counting. And they assume that research gets funded because it matters, not because the person doing it happens to a run a “diverse” lab.
Mac Donald’s article contains much other germane evidence, and is worth reading in full.