Racial minorities have disproportionately high rates of significant morbidity and mortality. Racism, which has impeded the lives of ethnic minorities and immigrants throughout history, may be to blame for these inequalities. Racism is associated with a higher prevalence of sickness in people who report it. Racism in the medical field is a severe ethical issue. Institutional racism has the capability to reduce the trust and faith that ethnic minority groups have on healthcare. As a result, this will jeopardize the ability to offer equitable health care to the public. The existence of institutional racism in the healthcare sector and the prevalence of health stakeholders that have discriminatory views will delay the efforts to a more equitable healthcare system that values the cultural and racial specificities of the minority groups. This paper analyses the prevalence and persistence of institutionalized discrimination based on race and ethnicity.
Outside of healthcare, institutional racism has its footprints all over the media in various sectors like the law enforcement. On July 25, 2016, an ABC Four Corners broadcast reported a story of Indigenous children being abused at a Darwin youth detention center. This horrified the country and prompted a Royal Commission, which ruled that racism played a role in the systemic perpetuation of such abuses (White & Gooda, 2017). Over the previous half-century, substantial research has been conducted on the question of racism’s systemic pervasiveness. The issue of institutionalized discrimination is still significant today because of the continuous existence of practices, conventions, and laws that unknowingly segregate and harm racial minorities.
Racism encompasses more than just negative attitudes and prejudices; prejudice is just one aspect of racism (Henricks 2016). It has the ability to penetrate through various social aspects and crystallize into pervasive institutional discrimination, which continues regardless of peoples’ intentions of individuals or groups. Therefore, racial biasness can emerge regardless of someone’s attitudes or beliefs, and it can have devastating repercussions for people who belong to the minority groups. Moreover, such racial biasness may go unnoticed and can prevail for a long time since the intentions may be generalized (Henricks, 2016). Therefore, racism is usually unintentional through society’s processes, and it is commonly imbedded in organizations and social institutions (Henricks, 2017). The behaviors, procedures, patterns, and policies that operate in every area of society to benefit members of specific racial groups are referred to as institutional racism (Paradies 2016). Therefore, racism functions as an exclusionary system in which a minority group is barred access to rights and advantages that have been granted to other groups as a result of disproportionate benefits.
Institutionalized discrimination is difficult to identify; it is rarely evident to those who benefit from it, and it can go undetected by those who are affected. Racial biasness in institutions does not necessitate overt individual or group behavior or attitudes. It also does not necessitate deliberate discrimination against people or groups. Institutions do not need to proclaim racial policies to be racist explicitly. Racism can be perpetrated simply by adhering to established conventions, practices, legislation, and bureaucratic systems. People must be “color-blind,” or meritocratically disregard the realities of current unjust advantages that allow systems and structures to maintain the prevalence for institutional racism to thrive.
Institutional racism is common in the healthcare industry, yet it is often overlooked. For example, data shows that the United State has been providing poor and inferior medical care to the minority groups, specifically the African Americans, in the country (Williams & Wyatt, 2015). The problem persists, whether due to systemic negligence, victim-blaming, or attempts to rationalize racial discrepancies with grounds other than racial bias (Feagin & Bennefield, 2014). The new coronavirus illness has much higher mortality rates among African Americans. This disparity in mortality illustrates some of the health disparities that inequitably affect African Americans. However, many people are unaware of the significance of institutional racism as a social structure, which they attribute to issues other than racial discrimination.
Thus, institutionalizes discrimination in healthcare prevails because it is invisible to the main stakeholders of the sectors. For starters, patients may fail to notice racial bias since they are unaware of how other from other races are being treated. Secondly, the clinicians may fail to realize racial bias since they are oblivious to their bias nature found of rationalizing their prejudices. Finally, the administrators and policy makers think that opportunities that have been equally provided will ensure equitable treatment without considering the nitty-gritty. Numerous studies have discovered facts about implicit and explicit racial thoughts, feelings, or practices among health professionals (Maina et al., 2018). Moreover, studies have shown that institutionalized racism in the healthcare sector has been affiliated with complains of trust, poor patient care and poor communication systems (Ben et al., 2017). As a result, the healthcare outcomes of the minority groups continue to deteriorate since poor healthcare since institutionalized discrimination affects the healthcare sector.
In Australia, where the Closing the Gap report consistently reflects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes, institutional racism is visible. The study found that socioeconomic factors that influence health risks constitute to 53% of the healthcare inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. However, the other 47% was due to interpersonal and institutionalized discrimination, as well as other factors (Bourke & Marrie 2018). Institutionalized discrimination has affected the indigenous people significantly, which has resulted to their segregation from the healthcare system (Henry, Houston & Mooney 2004). Indigenous patients, according to various studies, have a lower life expectancy, a higher newborn mortality rate, and a greater disease incidence than the general population. They have a lower chance of receiving adequate care for a variety of illnesses (Bourke & Marrie 2018). Therefore, institutional inequity can be seen by the disproportional funding in healthcare institutions, bias treatment and care services and some of the cultural barriers that hinder proper healthcare services.
Other populations groups that are experiencing the challenges of institutionalized discriminations in the healthcare sector are the migrants and refugees. Migrants from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) origins, frequently receive varying levels of treatment, and their access has been constrained by various issues (Colucci et al., 2015). According to research, a person’s race and ethnicity directly impact their access to health and healthcare (Richardson & Norris, 2010). Most of the refugees and migrants in Australia are affected by Antipathy toward workplace diversity, systematic native ignorance, and racial bias variables (Bastos, Harnois, & Paradies 2018). Therefore, such institutional discrepancies should be addressed so as to promote fair and equitable healthcare in the country.
A collective and integrated effort is necessary to address the challenges facing inequalities in the healthcare sector. Collaboration of various sectors in the society will facilitate the actualization of an equitable and fair healthcare system (Mapedzahama et al., 2018). As a result, this will improve disadvantaged minority populations’ socioeconomic status (SES) and facilitate minority group’s ability to access better and effective healthcare (Bourke & Marrie 2018). Furthermore, the US government alongside other governments should establish ethical and structural policies that ensure proper medical care is provided to all citizens equally.
Strategies that will facilitate the access of equitable healthcare should go beyond reducing financial barriers. Patient alienation and avoidance of healthcare participation can be caused by a variety of institutional challenges, such as long wait times, difficult bureaucratic procedures, and poor patient treatment that involves disrespect and indecent services (Bourke & Marrie 2018). According to studies, poor individuals and ethnic populations that come from minority groups are treated unequally by healthcare providers. Financially poor patients have greater problems with patient-provider communication, with patients who are financially stable receiving better technical and interpersonal therapy as well as more positive communication.
Therefore, efforts to ensure fair access to health care are critical. Two dynamics that potentially exacerbate racial disparities in healthcare access should be addressed. For starters, there is a growing number of hospitals closing, with institutions in low-income and minority communities being more likely to close than those in other areas (Ben et al., 2017). Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the transition from a fee-for-service (FFS) to a managed-care system is likely to obstruct minority and other disadvantaged populations’ access to medical care.
Finally, three fundamental causes of racism contribute to ethical flaws in the healthcare sector. These include; disrespect, unfairness, and harm. Unfairene4ss raises the moral question of racism in general, and institutionalized discrimination in particular, can be evaluated through the lens of racism as contempt for a racial minority. Racism’s basic moral wrong is the failure of individual citizens and society to address the condition of racial minorities. Society would be shirking its obligation to its minorities from this vantage point. The majority of racial bias in healthcare is incidental and sloppy, rather than deliberate. There are widespread negative consequences, regardless of the motivation. While there have been several publications and research on social cultural inequalities, there has been no extensive research on the circumstances in which various approaches are more or less effective.
In conclusion, institutional racism is a type of social injustice in which racial minority are disadvantaged. Despite the fact that the concept was first proposed over fifty years ago, studies have shown that we are still far way from abolishing institutionalized discrimination in the healthcare sector. This paper looked at how institutionalized discrimination affects racial minorities in a less overt way through structures that unfairly impose injustices that are, in part, the result of historically racist structures and processes. In areas such as education, housing, employment, healthcare, and criminal justice, racism is permitted to unknowingly promote disproportional treatment of the minority groups in the society.
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