A Medical Textbook Is Being Called Out For Racial Bias

A nursing textbook has come under fire for its section on "Diversity and Culture" when it comes to patients experiencing pain. The book, Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning, included a section on "Cultural Differences in Response to Pain" — and while it's not a bad thing to be inclusive, the textbook may have crossed a line.
After Facebook users, including Onyx Moore posted photos and comments decrying the book's lack of cultural sensitivity, the photo of the page soon made the rounds as it was reposted by other people calling out the textbook.
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The textbook (published in 2015, no less) broke down different minority groups and explained what medical professionals should be aware of when treating them. Again, having training in cultural sensitivities is necessary — but it's not as effective when that training consists of reductive stereotypes about minorities.
For example, the book purports that "Blacks often report higher pain intensity than other cultures," and that they "believe suffering and pain are inevitable." It also writes that Asian patients may not accept pain medication because they are "stoic."
In addition to the sweeping generalizations about large groups of people, the book doesn't seem to address the fact that race and ethnicity are different things, as one Twitter user pointed out.
"So what if you're black and Jewish?" Twitter user Beck Frydenborg wrote. "Or white passing Hispanic? Like this is just impressively stupid on top of the racism, etc."
Given just how big a part racial bias already plays in the medical community, it's disappointing that a medical textbook seems to further stereotypes about people of color and minority groups.
In a statement to Refinery29, Scott Overland, a spokesman for Pearson (the company that published the book) says, "While differences in cultural attitudes towards pain are an important topic in medical programs, the table from this nursing text did not present the information in an appropriate manner."
"We apologize for the offense this has caused and we have removed the material in question from current versions of the book, electronic versions of the book and future editions of this text," his statement continued. "In addition, we now are actively reviewing all of our nursing curriculum products to identify and remove any remaining instances of this inappropriate content that might appear in other titles. We will continue to provide updates on our progress. This material does not reflect our values as a company and how we want to serve students. We always welcome feedback and we appreciate the concern shown by the students who raised this issue."
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