Our Healthcare System is Racist and Here’s Why


Photo Credit: Sujana Ahmed

Alyssa Gabbidon, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has rocked our entire world. Through this pandemic, we have learned of both the selfish nature of human beings and in contrast, the extent to which people will go to help others. This past year has not only exposed various aspects of our population’s behavior, but has also brought attention to the underlying racism that exists in the country’s healthcare system.  

A multitude of inequalities have put minority groups at increased risk of not only being exposed to COVID-19, but dying from the virus. Discrimination has an unfortunate presence in our healthcare system. Despite doctors taking the oath to “treat all patients equally,” it is clear that these practices aren’t being followed. White health is the standard of medicine, preventing many underlying conditions of minorities to be properly recognized. As a result, people of color are dying at higher rates than white people from COVID-19 due to medical conditions that increase one’s risk of severe illness from the virus. (1)

People of color are also more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanic white people. A variety of factors including occupation, transportation, and cultural differences lead to a reduction in the percentage of minorities who have access to healthcare. As a result, people of color are associated with more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. (2)

To fight racism and discrimination, we must first acknowledge its existence. While the majority of doctors are not inherently racist, our healthcare system operates in a way that’s biased towards white people and the conditions they face. Proper education on illnesses that appear more frequently in minorities could reduce the rates of death associated with COVID-19. While controversial, universal healthcare would allow all people (no matter their skin color) to be assured access to treatment. Programs and practices need to be enforced that protect people of color.  The call to action to combat discrimination and racism in medicine is for all human beings, the healthy and the sick. (2)


https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/racism-discrimination-health-care-providers-patients-2017011611015 (1)

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html (2)