The Woke Are Coming for Your Doctor

by James C. Sherlock

I just finished reading a profoundly disturbing article by Robert Graboyes, a PhD. economist with deep personal and professional roots in Virginia.

“The Pall of Politics Descends Upon American Medicine”  is published in Discourse Magazine, a publication of  Mercatus Center at George Mason University.  It is subtitled: “A new guidance document for medical professionals emphasizes critical race theory and social justice at the expense of patient care.”

His subject is the 54-page Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts, or AHE, published in October by the American Medical Association and the American Association of Medical Colleges.

AHE is not benign, and is not posited as such.

It instead complements the other frontal assaults on the social fabric coming from the heights of the woke culture.

From AHE:

This guide is intended to raise questions about language and commonly used phrases and terms, with the goal of cultivating awareness about dominant narratives and offering equity-based, equity-explicit, and person-first alternatives.

They had acolytes at “equity-based.”

Mr. Graboyes’ opening assessment:

Politics, and in particular hard-left “wokeness,” is infecting American medicine’s bloodstream. The danger cannot be overstated. It threatens medical professionals, patients, medical science and America’s civic life. Like so many societal pathologies, this one seems to have turned septic during the COVID-19 pandemic. The most prominent symptom is a newly released document that is at once laughable and terrifying.

Medical professionals are now expected to traverse a linguistic minefield, abandoning hundreds of familiar expressions and replacing them with tortured academic cadences. Failure to conform, the document implies, is a severe moral failing.

This is not merely replacing the simple with the sesquipedalian. The doctor’s every utterance must contain an air of accusation. When someone is ill, it is because someone else is to blame. Previously, a caring doctor might have told an African American patient that his lineage makes him especially vulnerable to diabetes. No more. In woke-speak, the word “vulnerable” is verboten. Now, the doctor must refer to the patient as “oppressed,” “made vulnerable” or “disenfranchised.” Someone, or some grotesque societal failing, is to blame for the patient’s higher-than-average risk of diabetes.

The entire document reads like final exam essays written by a student who forgot to study—endless strings of half-remembered vocabulary words assembled randomly in hopes that the professor will count the words but not read them. Every med student, every doctor in America must endure hundreds of such homilies and conform or be weighed in the balance and found wanting. Doctors must abandon the notion that a patient bears some individual responsibility for his or her health status. Whatever ails you, somebody out there did it to you. In the search for scapegoats, AHE taps into the fashionable academic catechisms of critical race theory and intersectionality and swears fealty to both.

One constant of the progressive left: it is relentless. And everywhere at the same time. It is very difficult to counter their onslaught in a timely fashion. Mr. Graboyes has done so superbly.

One could hope this corrosive “guide” from the AMA will be ignored or laughed into hiding. But we have seen that nothing is too extreme — or too worthy of ridicule — to be taken seriously and amplified by a sympathetic media and the academy.

I strongly recommend Mr. Graboyes’ “The Pall of Politics Descends Upon American Medicine” to readers. It is well worth your time and consideration.

Before your next visit to the doctor.