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The Neglect of Racism as an Ethical Issue
The Neglect of Racism as an Ethical Issue
Racism and race have had varied implications in the health and healthcare sector based on the race, cultural and ethnic groups of the minority groups. The author uses the following definitions:
Racism- racisms refers to the belief that the members of a particular group of people possesses similar characteristics or abilities that make them belong to a particular race and grants them the right to regard other races as inferior or superior to them. It is discrimination, prejudice, and antagonisms directed towards another person based on the belief that their race of inferior.
Ethics- the author defines ethics as a set of principles and rules considered moral by an individual or a group hence they use them as the basis for determining good and bad behavior.
Healthcare- it refers to the improvement and the maintenance of the mental and physical conditions or health through the medical services offered (Johnstone & Kanitsaki, 2010, p. 4).
Health services -the basic function of any public health system of the provision of healthier services. The author defines health services as any public service that provides medical care to the people.
Health professionals- these are individuals trained and qualified in the provision of curative, preventive, promotional, and rehabilitative healthcare services to people use a particular system. Health professionals must adhere to certain professional ethics that do not condone certain practices when they carry out their duty. The ethics emphasize a doctor, and patient relationship meant for the benefit of the patient through the services he or she receives.
A minority are the victims of discrimination given that their status does not give them the advantages and privileges enjoyed by the majority groups in the society. Health and healthcare are also the subject of discriminatory treatment based on the race of the individual. However, the sad part is that the health sector has addressed the question of racism rather poorly yet racism is an ethical issue per se, given that it legally speaks for itself. Per se implies that the facts of the act considered morally wrong speak for themselves and that the plaintiff do not have to provide tangible evidence for the legal system to regard racism as a moral wrong.
The moral issue discussed by the author is the discriminatory treatment that accrues to patients from the minority groups because based on their racial factions. Ethically, the medical field should focus on the provision of healthcare as the main deliverable of the field regardless of the patient’s race. Discriminating patients based on race is the cause of deteriorating health among some section of the community given that there is unfair access to quality health services. Taking the case of the United States as an example, minority groups include the African Americans, Latin Americans, and Asian Americans. In the provisions of healthcare, the main challenge in the provision of equitable health care stems from the formulation of policies at higher levels, which affect the allocation of the resources in the end. For instance, the author suggests that more than 50 percent of the individuals of the individuals who contest for position of leadership in various parts of the country will be discriminatory regarding the formulation of their health policies (Johnstone & Kanitsaki, 2010, p. 23). For instance, they will allocate more capital and labor resources to regions inhabited by the majority racial groups at the expense of those inhabited by the minority groups.
The same mentality and treatment accrues to the workplace where the health practitioners feel that it is right to provide services on a biased basis. The decisions made favor fast and quality services to the majority groups while few stakeholders in the health sector pay attention to the negative effects accruing to the minority groups. The author suggests that the negative health effects suffered by most of the minority are a result of the poor decisions made that makes the victims of their minority attribute.
Analysis- Assessment based on Two Ethical Systems
Neglecting race as an ethical issue in the medical sector poses a threat to the development and the provision of quality healthcare to all members of the society. Several ethical systems can be used to assess the severity of the impact that racism can have on the field of medicine. The first ethical system that can apply in this context is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism emphasizes the need for all individuals in the society to have a societal perspective in terms of their thoughts and actions. Utilitarianism encourages all members of the society to condemn any action that leads to more harm than benefit for the whole society. It also provides that obedience to the law is a mandatory aspect for all people in their community. They should also adhere to all the principles and guidelines that apply in various contexts as long as they lead to a better welfare for the whole society. Most importantly, utilitarianism requires people to focus on the consequences of the action rather than the causes. The ethical system applies in this case as it encourages both policy makers and practitioners to mitigate racial segregation in the provision of health services, as it does not foster the fulfillment of a better social welfare.
The second ethical system that may apply, in this case, is the system of distributive justice. It provides that every individual have the right to the most fundamental and basic liberties as they coexist with other people in the society. The access to the basic utilities encourages all people to develop self-respect. In addition, the ethical system guarantees that the economic and social inequalities are arranged in a manner that the least disadvantaged person derive the greatest benefits. It ensures that the actions of the society help in the improvement and the fulfillment of the needs of the neediest people in the society. It also encourages the application of the veil of ignorance where there is no biased treatment of other people in spite of the differences in aspects such as education. Distributive justice ensures that medical practitioners provide quality services to all people as a basic liberty regardless of their race.
Summary and Conclusion
People must learn that racism is an individual choice, and it may not reflect the perception of a particular person just because they are members of a particular ethnic group. In addition, the choices made to discriminate people based on their race affects the delivery of fundamental services and needs (Johnstone & Kanitsaki, 2010, p. 35). It is important to recognize the facts that some of the natural differences are inherent. As such, it is unnecessary to discriminate other people on grounds of natural attributes such as race, which has an effect on their ability to access and enjoy basic liberties.
Johnstone, M., & Kanitsaki, O. (2010). The Neglect of Racism as an Ethical Issue in Health Care. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. doi:10.1007/s10903-008-9210-y