Monday, October 18, 2010

#227. Donating Blood

Black people are a charitable lot, when it comes to philanthropic endeavors within their own community. Though it is difficult to qualify how well these donations are impacting the Black community, Black people do give money at an extremely generous rate:
A 2003 study reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy that African Americans who give to charity donate 25% more of their discretionary income than whites. And a study of affluent people of color making donations in the New York region, released in October, found that African Americans gave more money annually than either Latino or Asian Americans, according to the Coalition for New Philanthropy.  
Coincidentally, numerous Fortune 100 companies pay homage to Black Run America (BRA) and annually tithe to this secular institution with a passion once devoted to theological pursuits.

$9 out of $10 dollars that Black people donate goes to the church, and as everyone knows Sunday is the most segregated hour in the week.

For all the good intentions of living a pious life and having blessings bestowed upon them for placing money in the collection plate on Sunday, Black people refrain from a much more important type of donating that could save mortal lives instead of souls:
Blood that closely matches a patient’s is less likely to be rejected by the patient and can mean fewer complications after a transfusion.
Genetically-similar blood is superior for people who need repeated blood transfusions, for conditions like sickle cell anemia.
Increasing African-American donations is vital because blood types O and B, the blood types of about 70 percent of African-Americans, are the blood types most in demand.
The reasons for not donating blood are simply described as a lack of trust Black people have for the medical field:
Disparities in healthcare between races exist in the United States. A new study published in the journal Transfusion explores why African Americans donate blood at lower rates than whites. The findings reveal that there is a significant distrust in the healthcare system among the African American community, and African Americans who distrust hospitals are less likely to donate.
Led by Beth H. Shaz, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the New York Blood Center in New York, New York, researchers created a survey to explore reasons for low likelihood of blood donation in African Americans.

Some studies have shown that only 1 in 10 Black people donate blood, which correlates to big problems in the Black community when a Black person is in need of a transfusion:
African-Americans are less likely to donate blood because of a general distrust of the health care system, according to research conducted at African-American churches in Atlanta and published online Sept. 14 in Transfusion.
Adelbert B. James, Ph.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues surveyed parishioners at 15 African-American churches in Atlanta on their knowledge and beliefs about blood donation and the barriers to and motivators for their giving blood.

Some 930 parishioners responded to the survey, with 3 percent reporting being current blood donors, 46 percent being lapsed donors, and 40 percent being non-donors. Compared with those who distrusted hospitals, the researchers found that those who trusted hospitals had less fear of donation and more knowledge of the blood supply, and they were more likely to respond to the community's blood needs. Donors were more likely than non-donors to have participated in research and to trust hospitals.
Black people just don't donate blood. Not even Dr. Hibbert could get Black people to donate blood at this point. Read the NAACP of Detroit here to understand the differences in Black blood and white blood, and why Black blood donors must be found:
While the need for all types of blood donations is ongoing, the need for minority donations is the greatest. Of the 5 percent of the general population who donate blood, only 1 out of 10 are African American or Hispanic. Every day of the year, thousands of African Americans and Hispanics face an alarming fact. There can be a limited amount of blood available for minorities when they need it.
While they experience the same life-threatening emergencies that require blood transfusions as other people in the United States, there are a large number of minorities with rare blood diseases unique to their race, such as sickle cell anemia. As with every individual, the most compatible blood transfusion is likely to come from someone of the same ethnic, racial and genetic background as the patient.
Combined with the fact that African American and Hispanic populations are growing – thirty percent of the population in South Carolina is now comprised of African-Americans while Hispanics have tripled in recent years – there is an urgent need for minority blood donations.
Wait: isn't race just a social construct? Worse, when one listens to the CDC and understands what was publicized at Boise State, Black people could one day be banned from giving blood. With Black people having HIV/AIDS rates at eight times the white average, and STD's at rates that dwarf their white counterparts, Black people might soon have their blood disqualified from the ranks of safe donors:

In 1983, the FDA ruled out donations from anyone who had lived in Haiti after 1977. Then it extended this prohibition to sub-Saharan Africa. Today, the Red Cross informs prospective donors that under FDA rules, "Persons who were born in or lived in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Niger and Nigeria since 1977 cannot be blood donors."

This isn't racial animus. It's just blunt math, based on the increased risk of a particular HIV type in these populations. The FDA has a similarly coarse rule against blood from anyone who has spent half a year in the United Kingdom, based on the threat of mad-cow disease. The problem isn't racism; it's the crudity of treating individuals according to group membership. Where does it end? When the FDA barred Haitian blood, Haitian groups asked why black Americans, whose HIV rate was higher than that of Haitians, weren't similarly excluded. It was a good question, and it was never answered. (For an excellent analysis of similarities between the Haitian blood ban and the MSM blood ban, see Charlene Galarneau's article, "Blood Donation, Deferral, and Discrimination," in the American Journal of Bioethics.)

Not only do Black people refrain from donating blood, they also fail to check off the box on their drivers license that would make them organ donors:

Organ donor rates among African Americans hover around 10 or 15 percent – well below the national average. Meanwhile about 35 percent of patients waiting for a kidney are black...

Network president Howard Nathan says matching and transplantation are colorblind: A donor of any race could be a match for a recipient of any race. But he adds …
Nathan: There are some matching factors that do matter that are linked to race.
So, if most of the potential donors are white, blacks on the transplant list are at a disadvantage. It’s less likely that when a kidney becomes available – it will be a good match for an African American patient.
The above sentence makes absolutely no sense. Why would a doctor say a donor's race doesn't matter, but then stress the importance of increasing Black donors so that "good matches" for Black people would be present? Though it has long been argued race is merely a "social construct", Black people lack the white privilege of being able to enjoy their higher rates of organ donations:
LaKeisha Coleman, education coordinator with Mid-America Transplant Services, works with Bonds and others to tell black people about organ donation.
Blacks need more donors for certain organs such as kidneys and lungs because they’re harder to match outside of ethnic groups, she said.
Statistics from Mid-America Transplant Services, based in St. Louis, say that this year in the St. Louis region, 61 percent of black people eligible to sign donor permissions, have done so, compared to 93 percent of white people.
Stuff Black People Don't Like includes donating blood, an act of volunteering that could save additional Black lives, yet is one that Black people participate in infrequently.

But if race is a social construct, why can't Black people just receive an infusion from a white person or an organ from them?

Black people are charitable, they just don't give blood. 


Miss Ann said...

"Black people are charitable, they just don't give blood."

All I can say is, THANK GOD.

mikecunningham said...

You have to be real, real careful when donating blood, especially if your mind tends to wander!

Anonymous said...

Blacks are correct in not giving blood. The hospital or Red Cross truck is the perfect place for The Man to give you HIV, inject you with the "crack addiction" gene, or cause an unwanted pregnancy while the unassuming female blood donor is dizzy.

mikecunningham said...

Yup, we all were waiting for the DNA routine to come waltzing along!

It is all part of the White Man's plot to keep you subservient.