Image description: A black and white drawing of an enlarged kidney.
There’s a lot of evidence that rather than heading towards a post-racial society, racial gaps in the US are actually widening - in wealth, in test scores, and in organ donation. And recent studies have shown that white supremacy extends to whose life is and is not extended by organ donation (80% of which are kidney donations). According to the Madison Capital Times:
"There is an increasing gap between African-Americans and white patients," says nephrologist Byran Becker "Our health care system is heading the wrong way, and we should think of how to change that."..
A Capital Times analysis of data compiled by state and federal health agencies, private researchers, and the United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that oversees this country's organ donations, found disparities at every step of the transplant process, from the prevalence of diseases leading to renal failure to the numbers of donors and recipients to death rates.
To begin with, African-Americans are several times more likely to develop diseases like hypertension and diabetes that lead to kidney failure, according to countless studies. New research suggests this group is hit hard in part because of a genetic predisposition to the disorders; many African-Americans also lack the regular access to decent health care that can keep such conditions under control.
African-Americans also make up a disproportionate share of the 354,000 people in this country - including 5,000 in Wisconsin - who need to go on dialysis. While only 13 percent of the country's population, blacks make up 40 percent of those on dialysis and a third of patients waiting for a renal transplant. Some of them will need to wait a long time. According to UNOS data, 39 percent of African-American patients who registered for a transplant seven years ago are still waiting or have died, nearly twice the proportion of white patients who suffered those fates.Our health care system is deeply fucked up; it’s kyriarchal on just about every axis imaginable. This is one more indication that the medical industry values some lives more than others, and that ours is not a post-racial society.