During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not uncommon to hear progressives identify the distribution of the virus as “racist,” and to call for a species of reverse racism to remedy the offense. In the words of Ibram X. Kendi – one of the most influential, widely read and intellectually vapid spokesmen for this cause: “The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination….” In medical practice this now means providing special resources and special care to black patients whose medical conditions are allegedly caused by white racism. It is also unconstitutional and a nullification of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which specifically outlaws systemic racism, even against white people.
It would be a relief to learn that this is a view confined to an academic fringe – and a mediocre one at that. But Ibram X. Kendi is not only a best-selling author and self-styled “anti-racist” advocate, he is also the head of a multi-million-dollar, tax-exempt, “anti-racism” institute at Boston University. Moreover, his racist remedies have taken root in America’s medical schools, hospitals, and professional associations and have become an integral policy of the American public health system.
The Equity in Health Movement I: The Ideology
In 2021, the Biden administration issued an instruction to Medicare physicians to “create and implement an anti-racism plan.” Issued as a final rule in the Federal Register last November, it states, “The plan should include a clinic-wide review of existing tools and policies, such as value statements or clinical practice guidelines, to ensure that they include and are aligned with a commitment to anti-racism and an understanding of race as a political and social construct, not a physiological one.” Under this rule, doctors who create and implement an “anti-racism” plan and discriminate in favor of black patients will receive a financial bonus for doing so – in the form of higher reimbursements for their services.
An even more prestigious proselytizer of this racial perspective is Lisa A. Cooper, MD, MPH ’93, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity. Cooper’s evidence for concluding that the coronavirus pandemic has a racist dimension, which is “structural,” is the shared view of the entire progressive effort to politicize the medical profession. It is the product of Critical Race Theory and other Cultural Marxist ideas, whose “structures” erase individuals and their choices in favor of ideological categories, which allegedly lead to disparities in outcomes between different racial and gender categories. But as Thomas Sowell has pointed out, there are disparities in the achievements and outcomes of all racial and ethnic groups globally, which have nothing to do with racism.
Thus, the faux evidence for COVID-19 having “racist” effects is that it impacts black Americans disproportionately to their representation in the general population. In the words of the Johns Hopkins magazine that interviewed Lisa Cooper: “Nationally, African American deaths are nearly two times greater than would be expected based on their share of the population, according to The COVID Racial Data Tracker.” Q.E.D.
But why is that? According to the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, Lisa Cooper: “Before COVID-19, minority communities were already disproportionately impacted by health inequities. People in those communities already have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease, so these are the folks who were actually going to be at more risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19. These health inequities result from the financial stresses of being poor and the social stresses of being from a marginalized group with a history of institutionalized, sanctioned mistreatment by law enforcement and other societal institutions. There’s a confluence of all these different factors—not having access to food, not having access to good quality housing, being crowded in small houses where there are multiple generations and unable to engage in social distancing or stock up on groceries for several weeks at a time, having to use public transportation, to work in essential jobs, and having less access to health care. These are all manifestations of structural racism.”
There are so many false statements and misrepresentations in these sentences, it is hard to know where to begin. In the first place it is an insult to black Americans (even though Cooper herself is black) to describe black America as living in inner city poverty, beset by the unhealthy conditions associated with that status. In fact, more than eighty-percent of American blacks are living above the poverty line and the majority are comfortably middle class. If eighty percent of blacks live like other Americans of all colors, how can racism be an explanation for the plight of the less-than-twenty percent who don’t? The missing pieces here, vital to the diagnosis of a human condition, are the choices individuals make.
As it happens, black Americans suffer from obesity more than any other group. Obesity is not only in itself a co-morbidity factor for the coronavirus, but it also leads to two other morbidity factors – diabetes and high blood pressure, which, along with age, would account for the prevalence of fatalities among this group. If medical professionals send the message that obesity is a structural imposition and not a choice, they deprive patients of the insight and motivation they need to improve their health. Taking responsibility and being held accountable are the keys to improving one’s life and health. In other words, it’s actually damaging to black patients to tell them that they are victims and not responsible for their unhealthy condition, and therefore powerless to affect it. If you are persuaded that stress is caused by the color of your skin, and by “structures” that make life hard for you, which you can’t affect, then you are helpless to do anything to change that.
The idea that blacks are structurally oppressed and whites are responsible for this – whatever their actual attitudes, actions and beliefs – is based on similarly fallacious (and bigoted) grounds. It is absurd to call blacks a marginalized community when they have been the center of national attention since the triumph of the civil rights movement fifty years ago. Blacks are a dominant force in the nation’s culture, a ubiquitous presence in its media, the icons of American youth through their dominance in national sports, and the beneficiaries of many privileges based on their skin color. The equity movement in medicine, loaded with special privileges for black medical students, doctors and patients, is in itself a refutation of its claims.
The Equity In Health Movement II: Its Influence and Success
Despite the lack of a scientific grounding, despite the fact that discrimination by race, which is the core of the Equity in Health crusade, is illegal, unconstitutional, and a slap in the face of the civil rights movement, the medical profession and its guiding institutions have surrendered to this destructive, anti-scientific effort. Of the 25 most prestigious medical schools in the United States – including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and the Mayo Clinic – at least 23 require their students to take classes or undergo training grounded in the tenets of Critical Race Theory. Worse, still, medical students are subjected to constant brain-washing sessions with “Diversity Equity and Inclusion” commissars, run like Communist Re-education camps where dissent or questioning – the very basis of the scientific ethos – is forbidden, under pain of losing a medical career that you have spent a decade and more, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, training for.
A 2022 study of America’s 50 most prestigious medical colleges and universities found that 39 have some form of mandatory student training or coursework built round the ideas and worldviews espoused by Critical Race Theory Marxists. Thirty-eight of those 39 schools offer materials by Robin DiAngelo, author of the book White Fragility, and Ibram X. Kendi, both of whose writings regard challenges to his views as prima facie evidence of racism. At 28 of the 50 medical universities, the general curriculum is embedded with school-wide mandatory fields of study such as Critical Race Theory or “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI). Similarly, 28 of the 50 schools also have some sort of mandatory training for faculty or staff in topics like “anti-racism,” “cultural competency,” “DEI,” “equity,” “implicit bias,” and Critical Race Theory. In some cases, the training is school-wide, in others department-specific. “The national alarm should be sounding over the racialization of medical school education,” says William A. Jacobson, founder of LegalInsurrection.com. “The swiftness and depth to which race-focused social justice education has penetrated medical schools reflects the broader disturbing trends in higher education.”
The most prominent medical journals are also steeped in this racial wokism. The New England Journal of Medicine, for instance, touts its “commitment to understanding and combating racism as a public health and human rights crisis,” while Health Affairs intends to help “dismantle racism and increase racial equity” in healthcare. Toward that end, Health Affairs has recently decided to include the consideration of race and other nonacademic factors – rather than strict, objective intellectual rigor – in its peer-review process. But since when is the corruption of intellectual standards an advancement of medical science?
The National Library of Medicine database shows more than 2,700 recently published papers on “racism and medicine,” which for the most part claim that racial disparities in health outcomes are largely a consequence of “structural” racism. But as Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, former Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, observes: “[T]he most commonly cited studies are shoddily designed, ignore such critical factors as pre-existing conditions, or reach predetermined and sensationalized conclusions that aren’t supported by reported results. These papers in turn are used to source even more shoddy research. This is a corruption of medical science in the service of a political ideology.”
Indeed, medical authorities are sounding more like raving ideologues than scientifically trained experts. At a June 9, 2020 “Advancing Racial Equity” webinar, for example, Dr. José Ramón Fernández-Peña, president-elect of the American Public Health Association (APHA), declared: “Racial injustice is a shameful part of the history of this nation. The genocide that started in the earliest days of the republic, along with the scars of human trade and slavery, the indignity of the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II, and the disgraceful caging of Latino children at the US/Mexico border, are all part of the legacy that has shaped the nation and its ethos since its foundation.”
In June 2020, the “Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion” at Harvard Medical School (HMS) issued a 63-page report advocating the use of race as a key consideration in all decisions regarding the recruitment of students and professors, the promotion of faculty and administrators, and the entire infrastructure of the school and its affiliated hospitals and research facilities. The word “diversity” appears 214 times in the report, while the word “inclusion” appears 118 times.
The Harvard plan calls for a strengthening of “the frequency, quality, impact, and reach of current unconscious bias training” for faculty members. The objective is to advance “social justice” by compelling professors, at every opportunity, to “discuss and learn about unconscious bias and microaggression.” The plan also intends to achieve racial quotas, under the antiseptic euphemism of “internal benchmark[s].”
Residency programs across the country have deliberately lowered their admissions standards so as to promote racial “diversity.” Dr. Joel Katz, vice chair for education in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital – one of Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospitals – explains approvingly that this is being done as a way to compensate for the injustices of a “system [that] is inherently racist and based on privilege—not just the medical system but the society we live in.” A common method of lowering standards is to de-emphasize test scores – even though such scores were specifically created as the best predictors of a physician’s ability to care effectively for patients. In place of actual standards, Harvard intends to substitute ill-defined “holistic reviews of all applicants.” In other words a perfect recipe for introducing personal prejudices, biases, and confusions into the judgment process.
In March 2021, Brigham and Women’s announced its plan to use race as a factor in determining who would be able to access certain types of medical care – all on the undocumented premise that “Black and Latinx patients and community members” had long been discriminated against and were therefore entitled to receive “appropriate restitution” for what they had lost to “the pervasiveness of structural racism” in the medical profession.
In 2021 the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) proposed that faculty tenure decisions be made on the basis of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion [DEI] Standards” having nothing whatsoever to do with medicine. Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, former Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, explains how this policy will inevitably damage the quality and intellectual integrity of the faculty: “Forcing candidates to declare their support for DEI when so many of them undoubtedly oppose it would compel dishonesty. Forcing candidates to show a track record of involvement in DEI would compel participation in and allegiance to a belief system. All of this is deeply illiberal and violates IUSM’s own professed commitment to academic freedom.” Goldfarb also points out that this policy will “incentivize faculty to engage in racial discrimination in who they hire, promote, mentor, and to whom they provide scholarships and grants.”
One of the more noteworthy emblems of this race-obsessed approach to medical care is the so-called “race calculator,” which an ever-increasing number of doctors and hospitals are using as a means of determining how to best allocate scarce medicines and therapeutics to a needy public. Consider, for instance, the treatment of COVID-19. If a patient’s health profile earns him or her enough “points,” he or she will be given priority over patients with lower scores when it comes to qualifying for such highly prized interventions as monoclonal antibodies. In addition to points awarded for various underlying comorbidities or risk factors like advanced age, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma, chronic lung disease, immunodeficiency, obesity, kidney disease, and liver disease, such “calculators” factor race into the equation as yet another co-morbidity/risk factor. In short, they award extra points to nonwhites as a form of compensation for the many racial injustices to which they are allegedly subjected on a daily basis in the United States.
The Internal Revenue Service: Enabler of Corruption
The medical schools, hospitals, and associations advancing these illegal agendas which violate the Civil Rights Act and the Constitution are tax-exempt institutions under the Internal Revenue Services 501(c)(3) tax code. Because they are tax-exempt, the taxpaying public subsidizes their work. Consequently the I.R.S. explicitly prohibits tax-exempt institutions from supporting unlawful actions. The Internal Revenue Code (I.R.C.) states without ambiguity:
- “[Tax-]exempt purposes may generally be equated with the public good, and violations of law are the antithesis of the public good. Therefore, the conduct of such activities may be a bar to exemption.”
- “Not only is the actual conduct of illegal activities inconsistent with exemption, but the planning and sponsoring of such activities are also incompatible with charity and social welfare.”
- “Violation of constitutionally valid laws is inconsistent with exemption under IRC 501(c)(3).”
- “[A]ll charitable organizations, regardless of their form, are subject to the requirement that their purpose may not be illegal or contrary to public policy.”
In other words, none of these travesties could have taken place without the collusion of a corrupt government overseer, who turned a blind eye to the breaking of America’s most important principle: equality before the law, regardless of gender or race.
The medical schools and associations were not the only tax-exempt groups pushing illegal and unconstitutional agendas at tax-payer expense. An army of 501(c)(3) radical groups pushing the racist “equity in health” agenda reveals the massive scope of the forces behind these changes. The tax-exempt White Coats 4 Black Lives, for instance, is a national organization of medical students that seeks to “dismantle racism in medicine and fight for the health of Black people and other people of color.” Proclaiming that “we do not believe in reformist policies,” White Coats 4 Black Lives leaders “demand intentional, community-centered, transformative change” that would mean the termination of “dominant, exploitative systems in the United States, which are largely reliant on anti-Black racism, colonialism, cisheteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism.” White Coats
4 Black Lives, funded by taxpayer dollars, supports doctors “prioritizing black patients over white patients, “unlearning toxic medical knowledge and relearning medical care that centers [on] the needs of Black people and communities.”
White Coats 4 Black Lives should be a fringe entity, but the radical takeover of American universities has ensured that it is not. White Coats 4 Black Lives consists of more than 70 chapters at medical schools across the United States, including such prestigious institutions as the University of North Carolina, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin.
The Health & Medicine Policy Research Group is a tax-exempt group that was founded in 1980 by Quentin Young, who in the late 1970s was associated with a Marxist organization known as the New American Movement, and in 1979 was a founding member of the Citizens Party, which had close ties to the pro-Soviet Institute for Policy Studies. In 1982 Young helped establish the Democratic Socialists of America, where he continued to be a prominent member until the end of his life. In 1983 he sat on the national advisory board of the All-People’s Congress, a group heavily influenced by the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party.
Emphasizing “systems of inequity and oppression that harm health and deny people of their inherent dignity,” the Health & Medicine Policy Research Group advocates an “intersectional approach” that focuses on “overlapping and compounding systems of oppression that affect individuals with various marginalized identities.” These systems of oppression, according to the organization, “include but are not limited to racism, anti-Blackness, white supremacy, socioeconomic class inequity, gender inequity, sexism, heterosexism, transphobia, xenophobia, anti-immigrant bias, white nationalism, ableism, ageism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and other identity-based discrimination, hatred, and deprivation.”
Physicians for a National Health Program is a tax-exempt advocacy group with dozens of chapters nationwide that promotes comprehensive single-payer national health insurance” – in other words a communist health care system under the absolute control of the state.
The Society for Public Health Education is a tax-exempt advocacy group that claims, “in order to improve the health and wellness of all citizens, racism must be eliminated from public health infrastructure and practice.” Toward that end, public health professionals should “work strategically and collectively to adopt antiracist policies within their agencies and communities of practice.”
The Student National Medical Association is a multi-chapter tax-exempt organization that claims: “Systematic racism, defined as a system of advantage based on race, drives economic instability, health inequity, mass incarceration, and food insecurity, which are just some of the significant contributors to disparate health outcomes seen in those with hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and now COVID-19. Racism affects not only communities of color but the entire healthcare system. Health inequities strain the resources of our medical system and affect how medicine is both regarded and carried out in every community. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we counteract the effects of racism on our most vulnerable communities to end all health disparities.” Of course, the Student National Medical Association doesn’t even bother to explain how it would be possible to end health disparities caused by genetic defects which are specific to races and ethnic groups such as Tay-Sachs disease (Jews) and Sickle Cell anemia (blacks).
Far from being inspired by medical concerns or guided by the principles of scientific inquiry, these are just a panoply of anti-America, anti-capitalist, anti-white ideological radicals who have extended the radical assault on America’s constitutional foundations to a field which affects – and will now affect adversely – all Americans. And the Internal Revenue Service of the United States Government is there with a taxpayer-funded hand-up to help them.
David Horowitz is the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the bestselling author of I Can’t Breathe: How a Racial Hoax is Killing America.
John Perazzo is the editor of DiscoverTheNetworks.org—an encyclopedic guide to the political Left and a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of Black Lives Matter: Marxist Hate Dressed Up As Racial Justice.
 https://donoharmmedicine.org/2022/05/24/when-harvard-medical-school-started-to-go-wrong/; https://dicp.hms.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/MFDP_files/PDF/better-together/TFDI-Final-Report-6-4-2020-Accessible.pdf