September 26, 2018
A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that when Black men visited Black doctors, they were more willing to disclose their health problems and take the doctor’s advice on prevention measures than when they visited white doctors. The study also found this effect to be the greatest among Black men who don’t normally have access to health care, and who expressed distrust in the medical system. The study suggests that if there were more Black doctors, there would be a decrease in cardiovascular mortality rates, not to mention improved overall health, for African Americans. Now some are wondering if the rationale for Affirmative Action in medical school admissions—that is, that there is educational value in a diverse student body—may strengthen when paired with the argument that it could save lives.
Critic A.N. Devers walks us through how the Paris Review’s first female editor, Brigid Hughes, was completely erased from the magazine’s history. Devers first learned of Hughes when the most recent Paris Review editor resigned due to sexual harassment allegations. She noticed that Hughes’ name didn’t appear on the masthead, in other editors’ bios, or in any pieces that listed previous editors (the rest of whom were male). After some off-the-cuff investigative journalism, she gathered that Hughes was deliberately pushed out of the role by men on the magazine board. The only reason Devers could find for why Hughes was fired was that “despite her excellent editorial work and her confidence in her ability to fill Plimpton’s shoes…there was an apparent concern that in light of her youth and lack of experience, Hughes was not the right person to ‘evolve’ with the magazine.” The “lack of experience” they refer to is Hughes’ climb from being a Paris Review intern to being its editor. Reflecting on the consequences of Hughes’ erasure, Devers says that not having the only female editor’s name on the masthead sends a message to aspiring female editors that they will continue to be relegated to less powerful positions, and that it does “an incredible disservice” to the writers, editors, and magazine itself.
A recent study from Florida Gulf Coast University sheds light on a “particular type of white racism that finds black resistance to racial domination unacceptable,” writes assistant professor of sociology Ted Thornhill. When eight made-up high schoolers whose names gave “‘strong cues’ of black identity” emailed white college admissions counselors, the ones who listed antiracist activism as an extracurricular received significantly fewer responses than the ones who said they were involved in things like environmental sustainability, marching band, or the school newspaper. One of the most staggering discrepancies was between Black female students who mentioned an interest in environmental sustainability (and got a 74% response rate) and Black female students who mentioned antiracism (and got a 37% response rate). Journalist Erik Sherman concludes that “admissions officers…were more interested in hearing from students who wouldn’t potentially rock the boat on racial issues.” According to Thornhill, it’s up to universities to address the issue, not students “who should somehow cover over their true interests.” He recommends college admissions-wide racial bias training and sanctions in instances of discriminatory behavior.