A recent encounter with bias, stereotype, and prejudice caused disruptions of grave magnitude, which challenged my belief and personal and professional expectations of the health services. Circumstances directly impacted by covid led to a long distance relationship with my husband. We had planned on him relocating with me in upcoming months; however my husband began to experience difficulties walking, standing, and was progressively deteriorating physically. I would make the inquiries from here, but he had to do the work on his own. He was seen by three different specialists, without the benefit of a PCP since there is no insurance and we self pay. Aside from the three different opinions, a few hospital trips made the list, he was diagnosed with three different conditions, but none gave a plan of care. By the time I connected him to a specialist here; he needed immediate intervention and was scheduled for direct admission to the hospital where the vascular team was able to provide a glimmer of hope by correcting the occlusions preventing blood from reaching his lower extremities. The larger culture in our little fishing town prescribes to the stereotypical and perpetuating assumptions that his appearance is somehow a product of drug use (Gorski, 2007).
This incident perpetuated harm to the individual seeking medical attention. The assumptions made of this individual do not stand alone. The stereotypes are perpetuated by the individuals who seek medical attention in search of a legal system of delivery for addictive pain medication that has value for the drug using members of our little town. We should all have equal opportunity to medical care, even those who may be use drugs in an attempt to create a better reality for them (Kennedy, 2003). Drug use can often times replace or disconnect an individual from a real or imagined place of distress; just as debilitating as some advanced medical conditions. This situation made me question many things, and allowed me to see the implications unfolding before my very eyes. The emotional toll is astounding; a medical system that diagnoses your worthiness for service through the stereotypical indignities to gender, race, and afford.
The most disturbing part of this already stressful time was that I had to take the time to look up the information and read medical journals to understand what was happening in order to communicate with the doctors here. My privileged experiences in language, and ability to research peer reviewed journals and studies made the process easier to express this reality with a qualified professional and the medical team affiliates. Every encounter since, has been an opportunity to be expressive, ask the questions, and not to allow assumptions to take the place of clarity (Laureate Education, 2011).
Gorski, P. (2008). The myth of the “culture of poverty”. Educational Leadership, 65(7), 32–36.
Kennedy, J. (2003, April). Psychotropic drug use in young patients is rising. Monitor on Psychology, 34(4). http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr03/druguse
Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). In her own voice: Nadiyah Taylor [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). In her own voice: Julie Benavides [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). In his own voice: Dr. Eugene Garcia [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Laureate Education (Producer). (2011). Microaggressions in everyday life [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
One thought on “The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression”
Emily, what a nightmare. You are a good one for using your knowledge and persistence to get the medical care your husband needed. Thank you for sharing your personal struggles.
I remember going into an EyeMart for glasses and the guidelines for safety were still much stricter I think it was in phase I. There was an Asian lady and her toddler son, an elderly Black lady, and myself waiting just inside the door to be helped. The manager who was White walked over and rudely said ” Did you use hand sanitizer? What do you need?” He looked at the Asian lady’s son and said “Where’s his mask, he needs a mask?” We each explained what we were there for and then the manager said, “Go outside and wait.” I thought is this really how you treat your customers. Before going outside I said, “So where’s your mask?” He was not wearing a mask but requiring everyone else to follow protocol. I was so upset I called the corporate office and reported his unprofessionalism. I spoke with the regional manager for the eyewear chain and he explained that this was not the first report that they had received about the manager’s behavior. The general manager said that the store manager had a chauvinist attitude towards women and had been warned. He said he would definitely look into the matter. This was definitely a display of prejudice. Cynthia