The Truth is Powerful

Comics as anti-racist education and advocacy

Academic medicine is increasingly recognising the importance of teaching about structural racism in medicine to help ameliorate racial health-care disparities. Yet such teaching can be challenging and, in some settings, considered controversial. Leveraging the power of narrative, comics can contribute to education about structural racism.

Structural racism involves the normalisation and proliferation of inequitable and interconnected societal systems, policies, institutions, ideologies, and practices that disadvantage, discriminate against, and reinforce inequities faced by racialised minorities. In the broader societal context of the USA, examples of structural racism include discriminatory lending practices that continue to bar Black, Indigenous, and people of colour from home ownership and access to quality education and initiatives that place the burden of harmful environmental exposures on minoritised neighbourhoods or limit access to public transportation, public spaces, voting rights, and healthy food options. In the history of medicine, structural racism is apparent in a legacy of experimentation on Black bodies, colonial and racialised medicine, “scientific” racism, and the segregation of hospitals. In contemporary health care, it includes the persistence of racialised medicine and science, unequal access to health care, clinical training programme ranking systems that disadvantage minority students, persistently disparate outcomes in Black maternal and infant mortality and […]

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