‘Medical Racism’ discusses how people of color face prejudice and disparity

By Alma Lizarraga

“Medical Racism” is a two-hour film about racism people of color experience while seeking medical care. 

The film also discusses the issues they face while trying to access a COVID vaccine. 

The film presented cases in which people of color face difficult situations with doctors that made it apparent there was a lot of discrimination involved. 

The film begins by presenting what the move for COVID  vaccines should be for Black people, which seems apparent to be the focus of this film.

It is apparent that there is distrust among the Black community about vaccines and experimental procedures. 

A woman who was interviewed mentioned they called doctors, “white coats,” which does not install much trust.

Historical footage was shown such as The Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

A study that took place by the U.S. Government between 1932-1972 which tricked African American men into being injected with syphilis. 

The infected were told they were part of a scientific discovery telling them they were receiving free health care. 

President Bill Clinton famously apologized for the study in 1997. 

Incidents, mainly involving Black mothers, showed doctors pushing for vaccines that mothers concluded had caused damage to their children reportedly such as autism. 

Presenter Melvin Donalson took the lead before the film started explaining a bit of background on the project and what led to him working closely on it.

 Donalson is associate producer of the film, and worked with director David Massey, who pushed for the film to be made during the COVID pandemic.

 Donalson said of the film, “The purpose of the film is to explore, first of all, the medical history as it pertains to people of color, as well as what happened to Black populations of certain African countries.” 

A woman in the film was interviewed begging for a C-section to be ignored by the attending doctor.

People of color on the street were asked their opinion on vaccines with many voicing distrust.

It wasn’t until her mother interfered and insisted she be given the procedure, which due to an almost ruptured uterus, a normal birth would’ve been fatal. 

The film jumped between stories and interviews, being awkwardly put together at times which blurred messages. 

Some scenes stressed fear of vaccines themselves, intercut with interviews of people commenting on COVID and medical professionals giving their two cents.

 There didn’t seem to be an overall focus which led to minor confusion and it seemed as if the film was vilifying vaccinations.

Further fear of vaccines causing mental damage was presented.

As more mothers showed their stories of their children being vaccinated with unknown medicine, which they said had caused their children autism.

By this point the Zoom chat became active as watchers wondered if this film was an anti-vaccination movie. 

Questions were asked which were to be addressed after the film. After about 40 minutes of footage, the presentators started taking questions. 

Audiences were reassured the point of the film was to bring forth the reason for distrust toward medicine from POC.

 Doctor Christine Chandler urged for awareness to this issue and stressed the need to overcome fears and get vaccinated.  

The rest of the panel concluded with watchers sharing their stories and thoughts, with some sharing why they will or will not take the COVID vaccine.

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