Can Health Care Be Cured Of Racial Bias?

Aug 20, 2015

Jane Lazarre was pacing the hospital waiting room. Her son Khary, 18, had just had knee surgery, but the nurses weren't letting her in to see him.

"They told us he would be out of anesthesia in a few minutes," she remembers. "The minutes became an hour, the hour became two hours."

She and her husband called the surgeon in a panic. He said that Khary had come out of anesthesia violently — thrashing and flailing about. He told Lazarre that with most young people Khary's age, there wouldn't have been a problem. The doctors and nurses would have gently held him down.

If you want to get a sense of how complex racial identity is in Brazil, you should meet sisters Francine and Fernanda Gravina. Both have the same mother and father. Francine, 28, is blond with green eyes and white skin. She wouldn't look out of place in Iceland. But Fernanda, 23, has milk chocolate skin with coffee colored eyes and hair. Francine describes herself as white, whereas Fernanda says she's morena, or brown-skinned.

It's been nearly a year since a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Mo. Since then, more deadly police encounters across the country have prompted anger, activism and reform.

Many of those incidents began with traffic stops — routine events that quickly turned deadly. And attorney Eric Broyles says that the risks for citizens are not distributed evenly.

Maria Murriel / WLRN

JUPITER, FLA. -- Onesimo Lopez-Ramos immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala -- one of the most violent countries in the western hemisphere. But even living in the quiet town of Jupiter, Fla., at the northern end of Palm Beach County, he couldn't escape lethal brutality.

The 18-year-old Lopez-Ramos was killed this past April, allegedly by three young white men who said they were targeting immigrants -- or "Guat-hunting" as one of them told police afterward in a disturbing confession.

Alexander Gonzalez / WLRN

Geetha Balakrishnan grew up in what she calls a “very white Australia.”

“I’m grateful for my education, but there are certain things you can’t explore in an environment where you’re the only person, or very few of you are from different backgrounds,” she says.

Alexia Fodere / El Nuevo Herald

The U.S. Census Bureau considers Hispanics an ethnic group only and not a racial group. But a growing number of Hispanics have urged the census to allow them to be defined as both - and a new survey out today gives them more ammunition.

The Pew Research Center in Washington D.C. has released a new report called “Multiracial in America.” As part of the study it examined how U.S. Hispanics view themselves in terms of race.

Miami Dade County Public Schools

A North Miami High School principal has been removed from his post after making comments online about a racially charged incident in Texas.  

Alberto Iber had defended a white police officer who resigned Tuesday after slamming a 14-year-old black girl to the ground and pulling his gun on teenagers at a pool party.

In comments posted in response to an article on the Miami Herald website, Iber supported the actions of McKinney, Texas, officer Eric Casebolt.

Planet Money has a really interesting segment on Tom Burrell, who started out in the mailroom of a Chicago advertising firm in 1961 and ended up profoundly changing the way advertisers talk to non-white audiences.

John O'Connor / WLRN

Two Miami Beach officers are no longer on the force after an investigation found they had sent hundreds of emails that included pornographic or racist images.

And prosecutors are looking into whether one of the officers broke the law by emailing an autopsy photo to colleagues or someone outside the agency.


In-fighting in the Florida legislature is getting increasingly personal. But some observers are saying Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, may have crossed a line.