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Critical Race Theory & the Transformation of Medical Schools


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City Journal

A national organization of medical students successfully pressures their schools to embrace radical identity politics.



On June 25, 2021, White Coats for Black Lives (WC4BL), a national organization of medical students, published its statement of “vision and values.” The “dominant medical practice in the United States has been built on the dehumanization and exploitation of Black people,” the document read, and WC4BL exists to rid the medical system of this allegedly pervasive racism. Doing so requires not only “dismantling anti-Black racism, white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, and cisheteropatriarchy,” but also “dismantling fatphobia,” embracing “Black queer feminist praxis,” and “unlearning toxic medical knowledge.”

Terminology aside, WC4BL is no fringe organization. It boasts more than 70 chapters at medical schools across the country, including at such top institutions as the University of North Carolina, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin. In 2020, when physicians around the country participated in George Floyd protests, their rallies took the organization’s name. Now the group hopes to keep the movement going by injecting the concepts of identity politics into the practice of medicine.

WC4BL seeks to transform the U.S. medical system. White supremacy, according to the statement, “permeates every dominant American institution, including healthcare.” Part of the reason is the current credentialing system for medical doctors. “Physicians have utilized violence to oust women and femme healers” primarily through “the professionalization of the medical field,” the statement reads. “The power and prestige given to medical doctors in the U.S. today is not a direct result of scientific advancement or service to the larger community, but the intentional and often violent consolidation of power.”

It can be easy to forget that the organization focuses on medical schools; evidently, equity in medicine also requires remaking society. “Black queer feminists,” it explains, “have expanded socialism to further movements that critically approach class, gender, race, and sexuality.” WC4BL is “abolitionist,” calling for the end of both prisons and police. Because prisons are associated with negative health outcomes, “being dedicated to health requires us to abolish (not reform) prison and surveillance systems.” The organization condemns “fatphobia” and “cisheteropatriarchy,” and proposes to “destigmatize and decriminalize drug use,” “decriminalize sex work,” offer “universal” access to abortion, “end the use of BMI,” and remove gatekeepers from “gender-affirming healthcare.”:snip:

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His name is Patrick Chavis, and he was one of a few students admitted to the University of California at Davis Medical School under an “affirmative-action” program in 1973, the same year Allan Bakke, who had significantly higher entrance credentials, was rejected. As a well-known defender of racial preferences, Chavis was often referred to in media accounts as the very student who took Bakke’s place, Bakke’s name having become well known because the suit he brought against the university resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1978, laying the foundation for the diversity justification for racial preferences in admissions.


In 1997 Chavis had his license suspended by the Medical Board of California, who spoke harshly of his “inability to perform some of the most basic duties required of a physician.” As McGowan later wrote, the board condemned Chavis’ “poor impulse control and sensitivity to patients’ pain.” A doctor who had worked with Chavis had given the board’s investigators “a tape recording of patients screaming horrifically, with Chavis responding, ‘Don’t talk to the doctor while he’s working,’ and ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire.’”



If "Doctors" like Chavis are what results from "equity", I'll pass.

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