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The Wrong Complexion for ProtectionHow the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities$
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Robert D. Bullard and Beverly Wright

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814799932

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814799932.001.0001

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Separate and Unequal Treatment

Separate and Unequal Treatment

Response to Health Emergencies, Human Experiments, and Bioterrorism Threats

(p.181) 8. Separate and Unequal Treatment
The Wrong Complexion for Protection

Robert D. Bullard

Beverly Wright

NYU Press

This chapter examines factors that account for health disparities, government response to public health threats to African Americans, and sociohistorical influences on perceived fairness of the public health system. It first cites evidence showing that African Americans receive a poorer quality of health care than whites before turning to a discussion of African Americans' distrust of the public health establishment and especially the biomedical community. It then explores the problems facing many “safety-net” urban public hospitals that serve the poor and uninsured and goes on to analyze lead poisoning as a classic example of an environmental health threat that disproportionately impacts low-income children and children of color. The chapter also looks at three experiments that illustrate the legacy of racial discrimination and bias treatment in medical research: the federally funded Public Health Service Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the East Baltimore Childhood Lead Paint Experiment, and pesticide tests on children in Florida. Finally, it evaluates government responses to epidemics and bioterrorism threats.

Keywords:   health disparities, public health, African Americans, health care, public hospitals, lead poisoning, racial discrimination, medical research, epidemics, bioterrorism

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