Chapter

The “Primitive Pelvis,” Racial Folklore, and Atavism in Contemporary Forms of Medical Disenfranchisement

Khiara M. Bridges

in Reproducing Race

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520268944
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520949447 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520268944.003.0005
The “Primitive Pelvis,” Racial Folklore, and Atavism in Contemporary Forms of Medical Disenfranchisement

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This chapter explains how the personally held racist beliefs of physicians may contribute to health disparities between racial groups. It grounds the less-obvious medical disenfranchisement of women of color. It discusses the largely, unrecognized, yet still influential, racist oral tradition in medicine. It argues that notions of the obstetrical and gynaecological hardiness of the marginalized have exhibited a remarkable hardiness of their own as they have managed to persist over the decades. It demonstrates this persistence of racial folklore alongside interviews conducted with obstetricians practicing in the Alpha clinic. It then puts ethnographic data in conversation with the literature documenting the persistence of racial disparities in health. It attempts to continue to shatter notions of doctors' personal privacy—notions that have functioned to hide the racism that may contribute to health disparities in the United States.

Keywords: racist beliefs; physicians; health disparities; racial groups; medical disenfranchisement; women of color; obstetricians; Alpha clinic; United States

Chapter.  16819 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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