Black as Less than Person: Case Studies on Race, Law & Medical Science in the United States
Freedom Center Journal, April 2017
42 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2015 Last revised: 9 Jul 2021
Date Written: May 1, 2017
U.S. law and policy has allowed unscrupulous doctors and scientists to treat Black people as guinea pigs in medical research. The roots of discriminatory medical research go much deeper than the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. By using a case study format, this narrative essay tracks human experimentation on Black people in the United States from the Founding Era to the twenty-first century. It explores how some of the most important modern medical advances stem from deplorable experiments on slaves, discusses how scientific racism persists despite advances in modern scientific theory, and details how the Supreme Court helped fertilize the eugenics movement. The essay concludes with a brief look at racial disparities in healthcare outcomes and how to begin freeing Black Americans from Dred Scott's legacy.
Keywords: race, racism, Tuskegee, medical science, medicine, ethics, bioethics, Dred Scott, Supreme Court, history, eugenics
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