Laverne Cox Cries Racism in Drugs on ‘The Blacklist’: ‘White Folks Do not See Our Ache’
Network TV seems pretty determined to have black people scared of doctors. NBC’s The Blacklist is just the latest drama accusing doctors of racism in the middle of a pandemic.
The episode of March 12th “Dr. Laken Perillos “has Dembe (Hisham Tawfiq), the confidante of Raymond Reddington (James Spader), who was kidnapped by the criminal named in the episode title. Dr. Perillos (played by transgender actor Laverne Cox) is a blacklister who uses medieval torture devices to extract vital information for their benefactors.
In this case, she uses a heretic fork on Dembe’s neck. While applying it, she can’t help but mention how racism in medicine ruined her mother’s life. It’s as simple as it gets, with a forced monologue that’s kept so melodramatic that it’s ridiculous.
Perillos: When I was 12, my mother went to the hospital with a neural infection that was mistakenly diagnosed as a tight muscle. She was given ibuprofen and sent home … with an infection that left her in excruciating pain and bedridden for the rest of her life. What caused the misdiagnosis? The color of her skin. The belief – even by some doctors – that blacks feel less pain than whites. Thick skin, biology, breeding – lies that mean that black patients receive far fewer painkillers than white patients. But we know the truth, don’t we, Dembe? We know all about pain, don’t we?
In case you didn’t get the lesson, Perillos later repeats that it is all true and complains, “I didn’t make it up. About the doctors. In 2016, 222 white doctors at the University of Virginia received bogus records of a white patient and a black patient and were asked to rate their pain on a scale of 1 to 10. They underestimated the black patient’s pain because – well, these are doctors – they said they thought blacks had less sensitive nerve endings. Why don’t white people see our pain? “
Yes, that is what you want in the middle of your suspenseful Friday night drama: recitation of studies to make an argument for social justice.
First, 222 medical students and local residents were interviewed in this study, not doctors. Second, racial discrepancies do not automatically mean that “white people do not see black pain”. If the people who are spreading this message so much really care, why don’t they do more than say that doctors see black people suffer because they are biased?
The fact that the show also put this social justice message on the mouth of a sadistic torturer also sends mixed messages. Should we ignore the biased message since the speaker is clearly insane? Or should we sympathize with the close killer because she has to tell the truth about doctors? I worry it is the latter because so many social justice warriors distort reality.
The bottom line is that doctors are not racist. And TV shows that pretend to be in the middle of a pandemic should definitely find something better.
This show was sponsored by commercials from McDonald’s, Panera, and State Farm.