Let’s say you are a doctor with an interest in the role racism may play in medicine. Your natural inclination is to turn to the American Medical Association as a resource since it is the largest publisher of medical education products in the United States.
You find an AMA course titled “Racism in Medicine” replete with a video valued at one credit-hour of continuing medical education. Of course, it helps that the course is free. You turn on the video and are immediately met with the smiling, youthful face of Dr. Emily Cleveland Manchanda, who says:
So tonight, we are going to begin as those of us at the Center for Health Equity always begin each of our talks — with a land and labor acknowledgement. We acknowledge that we are all living off of the stolen ancestral lands of indigenous peoples for thousands of years; we acknowledge the extraction of brilliance, energy, and life for labor forced upon people of African descent for more than 400 years; we celebrate the resilience and strength that all indigenous people and descendants of Africa have shown in this country and worldwide. We carry our ancestors in us, and we are continually called to be better as we lead in this work.
Flabbergasted, you wonder what in the world this has to do with the practice of medicine.
The answer, of course, is nothing, but dogma like this is part of the woke agenda the AMA is forcing upon its doctors. Recall the Supreme Court case of Lee v. Weisman stemming from a complaint by a Jewish parent of a graduating junior high school student who was subjected to listening to a nondenominational prayer delivered by a Jewish rabbi at the beginning of her commencement ceremony. The Supreme Court deemed that forcing students to observe a prayer at the beginning of a commencement ceremony was “subtle coercion,” and though such forms of coercion may be most pronounced in schools, they “may not be limited to the context of schools.” Well, the AMA has certainly found another context in which this form of coercion exists: within the continuing medical education credits offered to its doctors.
One can scarcely argue that the “racism” course offered by the AMA is anything other than propaganda. In addition to the historical misrepresentations designed to demean America’s history and heritage, the lecturer recurrently and exclusively cites leftist authors such as Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones, Ibram X. Kendi, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Chester M. Pierce, Derald Wing Sue, Ijeoma Oluo, Harriet Washington, Dayna Bowen Matthew, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Heather McGhee, and Isabel Wilkerson, each of whom discusses race from a hierarchical point of view. Not once does the instructor in this ostensibly scientific presentation offer a conservative source regarding the role of race in medicine or in American society.
And if pure propaganda were insufficient, she then engages in a series of unfathomable scientific misrepresentations. First, she describes what she calls “the nested subset” approach to defining race as being “a more modern and scientifically accurate understanding of genetic diversity.” According to the doctor, the nested subset approach “reflects that there’s no genetic or biological basis for race and that this is a truly political and social construction” (emphasis added). Dr. Cleveland Manchanda buttresses her claim by observing that “there’s more genetic variation within what we call racial groups … than between any,” and by the lack of complete agreement when assigning a race to a particular individual.
Yet claiming the absence of any genetic or biological basis for race is patently absurd. One can scarcely imagine how a physician could deny associations between certain genetically caused diseases and racial or ethnic groups such as Tay-Sachs disease and Ashkenazi Jews, sickle cell disease and people of African descent, and cystic fibrosis and people of European descent, to name a few.
But perhaps her most offensive position is the one she takes against her own grandfather, a deceased American war hero who served in the Pacific during World War II and who then became a pathologist, rather than a surgeon, due to the lingering disabilities from shrapnel injuries earned in defense of his country. According to Dr. Cleveland Manchanda, whatever advantages he may have secured for his progeny through his sacrifice were “unearned” simply because he was white.
In short, this lecture demonstrates how far the AMA has strayed from its mission’s focus. As Dr. Andy Borom, board member of the U.S. Medical Association, notes after learning of the AMA’s racism course, “The AMA has irretrievably left the building of physician advocacy, abandoning it in favor of radical leftist ideology. They have become a fringe organization that in no way helps physicians practice effectively.”