What Is Implicit Bias? The Invisible Racism That Makes Black Women Dread the Doctor’s Office

Articles | August 17 2020
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By Vidya Rao

When Tina Sacks worked for the Centers for Disease Control years ago, she and her Black female colleagues would make it a point to wear their government IDs when going to the doctor for checkups, to telegraph that they were professionals who understood medical terminology, and had good health insurance — all so medical staff would take them seriously. “In other words, we were playing against a type,” Sacks wrote in her book “Invisible Visits,” which looks at the biases middle-class Black women face when seeking health care.

Sacks, now an assistant professor at the Berkeley School of Social Welfare, says that not much has changed since then. The 30 women she interviewed for her book echoed the experiences of many of the women we interviewed for TODAY’s “Denied” series. Their concerns about their bodies are dismissed or ignored; they are often met with suspicion from doctors; they have to “prove” they are in pain and not seeking drugs; they aren’t thoroughly examined; and they aren’t told about the full array of treatment options available to them (Read more).