Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Discussions we need to have

On July 23, 2010 Senator Webb wrote an Op Ed Piece for the Wall Street Journal, "Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege" that inspired me to write a Letter to the Editor. I was pleased that it was published today (July 28, 2010) as it provided a different framework for understanding why so many of us do the work that we do.

Senator Webb seems fixated only on slivers of history of his home state of Virginia and not the realities of the nation. He ignores that Spanish settlers were on the continent before Jamestown or Plymouth Rock were settled. But the issue goes beyond who was here first.

What is most damaging about his commentary is that it suggests that the only reason we should help African Americans is because of past injustices; and, that no other community has suffered. There are thousands of incidents from the past and the present that depict a different reality. In health those realities get played out in how patients get information, the decisions we make about treatment, and so much more.

We need to understand our beliefs about others if we are going to get past them and provide quality care to all. To save health care resources you need to provide a patient with the care that is needed and not one which is based on false assumptions.