There’s a lot of ruin in a nation as we’ve been told. But perhaps not as much room for ruin in a civilisation as all this:
The editor-in-chief of Jama, the Journal of the American Medical Association, has been placed on leave amid controversy over comments about structural racism made on a podcast by one of his deputies.
No, really, that is what is happening. A bloke who works there said something the woke don;t like. Therefore the boss is put on gardening leave. That’s taking responsibility quite a long way really, isn’t it?
The comments at issue were made by Dr Ed Livingston in February, in conversation with Dr Mitch Katz on a podcast entitled “Structural Racism for Doctors – What is It?”
“Structural racism is an unfortunate term,” Livingston said. “Personally, I think taking racism out of the conversation will help. Many people like myself are offended by the implication that we are somehow racist.”
A tweet promoting the podcast said: “No physician is racist, so how can there be structural racism in healthcare? An explanation of the idea by doctors for doctors.”
The tweet was deleted but backlash was intense.
In one tweet, Dr Uché Blackstock, founder of Advancing Health Equity, wrote: “1) Yes, physicians can absolutely be racist. 2) Yes, physicians can be complicit in upholding the practices and policies of systemic racism. 3) [T]his tweet shouldn’t have be[e]n deleted. It was … (yet, again) another learning opportunity for your journal.”
Nearly 7,000 people signed a Change.org petition calling for Jama to “stop perpetuating racism in medicine”.
It’s that last which is the real problem here. That the entire world and every part of it is structurally racist is such a part of the current religious orthodoxy that to question it, even to try and ponder through the evidence for its existence or not is to utter heresy. And, of course, heresy must be anathematised. No if, no buts, bring out the burning torches and let’s have that auto da fe.
We are all August Landmesser now.