From Separate to Equal Response
After watching the video, I was surprised to learn more about the black experience past the effects of housing discrimination or the development of 18th and Vine. Through the preservation of racial discrimination within the history of healthcare in Kansas City are stories of perseverance and community that triumph through greed, hate, and illogical thinking. The story of the Truman Medical Center tells a series of pivotal moments within the Kansas City area while contributing to the ongoing discussion about the impact of politics on healthcare.
Along with the many components of healthcare, a patient’s confidence within their system is a significant determinant of how effective services can be in providing for a community. The black community’s experience with a healthcare system controlled by white people put black people in a vulnerable position as a patient. Trusting a white system with one’s black body has been a risk due to the history of devaluing the worth of a black person’s life. However, the production of black health practitioners by Howard and Meharry Medical College brought hope to black communities and opportunities for black scholars.
While segregated hospitals developed in Kansas City the stories shared from General Hospital #2 reminded me of the stability needed in order to continue promoting change. The strong sense of community that existed among the staff was evident in the ways that they referred to their black colleagues as older brothers or mothers. Segregation within the healthcare system allowed for a strong and caring black community to emerge. It allowed patients to feel comfortable, safe, and inspired within this environment. Even though the staff of General Hospital #2 had to work with minimum resources, however, they were determined to provide their patients with the highest level of quality care that they could.
A few of the stories that irked me were the initial barring of black staff at General Hospital #2 and the presence of jail cells being established in General Hospital #2. The decision to prevent black staff from working at General Hospital #2 was argued as a point of racial inferiority due to intellectual incapability of serving as a nurse or doctor. In reality, it was not out of concern of the quality of care the minority person would receive, instead, it was out of fear of black people proving that they could rise to a similar position of intellectual power as a white man. Secondly, the presence of jail cells within the General Hospital #2, further promotes the criminalization of minority groups even in a space of healing. It elevates the superiority and benevolence of white people while expressing a political message that the lives of minority groups and people who have committed a crime are worth less than that of a white citizen.
All in all, I feel as though the health system within Kansas City demonstrates how healthcare has developed over time. However, it is also an example supporting the need to push for improving the quality of care for minority groups and underserved communities throughout America.