Statement of Mitch Katz, in Response of JAMA Discussion on structural racism
Mar 04, 2021
“Systemic and interpersonal racism both still exist in our country — they must be rooted out. I do not share the JAMA host’s belief of doing away with the word “racism” will help us be more successful in ending inequities that exists across racial and ethnic lines. Further, I believe that we will only produce an equitable society when social and political structures do not continue to produce and perpetuate disparate results based on social race and ethnicity.
As I said during the podcast, if we are to eliminate structural racism, we must first acknowledge that it is real and take full accountability for the racial injustices of our country’s past. Discriminatory racist ideologies are still embedded within many societal systems and policies that continue to negatively impact all persons, especially people of color in our nation.
As clinicians, we must understand how these structures and policies have a direct impact on the health outcomes of the patients and communities we serve. Therefore, I firmly believe that both interpersonal and structural racism still exists in our country and it is woefully naïve to say that no physician is a racist just because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade it.
I recommend that JAMA use this as a learning opportunity for continued dialogue and create another podcast series as an open conversation that invites diverse experts in the field to have an open discussion about structural racism in healthcare. Given JAMA’s tremendous platform, there is an opportunity to have and advance a brave conversation about this extremely important topic in our country.”