Discrimination in Henrietta Lacks
Henrietta Lacks is a black woman who was born in the 1940s. Discrimination of all kinds was at its high point at this time. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is a book explaining how her cells helped change and shape the medical field into what it is today. While doing this however there were many trials and tribulations included in this book that were caused mainly because of discrimination at that time. Discrimination was primarily a racial issue at that time, but that is not the only form. Things such as social status, poverty, and sex are others.
Henrietta Lacks had cervical cancer which is a very complex disease that needs to be treated constantly. This means that her hospital bills would have to be paid, which was not an easy task for a black family of six at the time. The Jim Crow laws were also in effect and if blacks would have turned up at whites-only hospitals, they would have gotten turned away. Even if it meant they would die in the parking lot (Skloot 15). Luckily she lived in Baltimore which was right down the road from John Hopkins hospital. John Hopkins was a hospital that was built to help support families who couldn’t pay medical bills. Blacks and poor whites were its primary customers at this time. This was something that was built to help fight discrimination. This hospital is still considered one of the best in the nation and is still going strong today.
Gender was an issue back then also. Women were constantly criticized by men and treated very different from today. They were expected to do womanly acts such as cooking, cleaning, and staying home to take care of the kids. They also were prohibited from having certain jobs. Being black was worse than being a white woman however, so to be a black woman was to be at the bottom of the chain. When Henrietta died her, family felt as if the doctors didn’t use their skills to the best of their abilities to save her. Since she was...
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