This paper is on utilitarianism and the focus will be on scientific racists on blacks as an experimental objects. This paper will be based on arguments between two individuals. First by a utilitarian, John Stuart Mill on chapter 12 from Exploring Ethics and on infection and inequity by Harriet A. Washington (an activist for blacks) on chapter 13 from Medical Apartheid. I will concentrate more on infection and inequity. Utilitarianism is the idea that the sole moral worth of an action is determined solely by its usefulness in maximizing positive utility and minimizing negative utility; i.
e. pleasure minus pain according to exploring ethics textbook. Unfair treatment towards a group in form of harsh treatment or lack of care and conducting medical experiment based solely on one group of people cannot be justified as pleasure to society; it is an injustice to that group.
We should put racial discrimination aside and seek better medical approach that will be more beneficial to every body regardless of race, age, gender or ethnicity Mill focuses on consequences and not action; he believes that consequences of an action are good as long as it brings happiness to the society with absence of pain.
However, Mill recognizes that some pleasures are more important than others According to Mill, it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than to be a pig satisfiedi Mill believes in the greater goods for greater society theory and each person counting equally i.e. as long as many people are happy from as action, that action is good.
The problem with this idea is that the victims of such action are suffering; the pain is not evenly distributed. In chapter 13 of Washington’s book, infection and inequity talks about how people like Milton Ellison a black man who is schizophrenic and has tuberculosis (TB), a disease of the lungs that is very contagious and can be deadly if not properly treated.
In 1992, he was chained and held in the New York (NY) hospital for three weeks against his will for not complied with his medications. Milton was under deputies’ watch through out the time he was held in the hospital, In 1991 79 % out of 33 tuberculosis patients held in the hospital against their will in NY hospitals were blacksi About 34% of TB cases in the US are blacks, which is 12.3 % of the US population according to Washington Yes TB is a very serious and contagious disease, there should have been a better way of treating without dehumanizing these TB suffers, locking up patient should be the last result, other things should have been tried first like direct observation therapy where by a health care personal like a nurse ensures that these patients takes their medications as ordered. If patients are still not compliant, before a patient is locked, there should be court orders to force such individual to be hospitalized. Which Milton did not did not get.
If the city of NY can afford to pay deputies to watch patient chained in the hospital, they can also afford to pay a health care provider to ensure these people are compiling with their treatment. Blacks are at greater risk of developing TB than whites, not due to genetic reasons but the reason is socioeconomic conditions. Blacks are among the poorest in the society and live in crowded, unhealthy environments with poor living conditions and lack of access to heath care. Another area of high incident of TB is in prisons and jails were majority of the population are blacks. In New York’s Rikers Island prison in 1982, TB infection has been a problem for decades, a lot of black inmates contacted TB and dead in the prisons and nothing was done until a correction officer contacted TB and died, that was when intervention took place. This shows that black people’s lives are not valued. It is a horrible thing for one white person to lose his life but it is okay for many blacks to lose theirsi Another area of secientific injustice or racism is the case of people with AIDS.
AIDS is the leading cause of death amongAfrican- American between the ages of 25 and 44. When HIV first immerged in 19805 among the whites’ homosexuals, it was considered unethical to text partners of the white homosexual HIV positive in order to contain the virus, Which could have helped controlled the spread of the virus. Later when HIV/AIDS spread to black people, it became mandated for partners of the infected to be texted as well as the pregnant and does incarcerate. Children with AIDS/HIV mostly orphan are being use for clinical trails. The HIV infected house in N.Y.C, Incarnation Children Center (ICC) run by catholic charity are used for experimental drugs. 36 experimental researches were conducted between 1997 — 2003 on those children according to Washington.
The drugs has serious side effect including anemia, muscle wasting, organ failure, bone marrow disease, cancer, liver disease, skin disease etc. Some of the experiments did not involve I-IIV therapeutic, such as a herpes medication experiment done on these children to text for tolerance, safety and pharmacokinetic effect of the medication. These children are vulnerable and have no body to fight on their behalf; their parents are either dead or unfit to care for these children. The first effective HIV medication AZT was very expensive when it first came in the market; this medication was taken more by whites than blacks. The reason blacks did not take it was that majority could not afford it and secondly, many blacks were afraid, they did not trust medical society due to the incident of Tuskegee Syphilis study, In 1991, the department of Veterans’ Affairs researchers informed FDA that AZT did not work well for black patients as it did for whites and suggested that AZT side effect may impair health and should be withheld from blacks.
A lot of these black HIV positive were ignorant about the AZT medications, the only thing they needed was encouragement and assurance for them to take AZT, and not discouragement. Another HIV drug that came after AZT is protease inhibitor (Crixivan and Nowir) were with held from most blacks because some physician and decision makers believed that the poor and the homeless may not complied with the medications which may create a new drug resistant stain, When AIDS vaccine (AIDSVAX) came out, it worked for African – American and Asian better than Whites. No body knows why it worked for some race and did not work for other race. Out of 203 black people that were vaccinated only 4 people were infected with HIV after vaccination. In 2004, this vaccine was said to be ineffective and was stopped because it did not work for the white people.
Even ifAIDS vaccine AIDSVAX did not work for the entire society, it worked for blacks and Asian, this people may be minority as far as population may concern, but they are definitely majority affected by HIV, The AIDS vaccine should not have be stopped after all, it was proven to be effective for blacks and Asians. Finally, Washington, the author of Medical Apartheid points out the dark side of medical experimentation in America and she was right. There is no quick fix in our society to TB and AIDS problem with their drug resistant stains. Blacks are at greater risks of developing infectious diseases like TB and AIDS than white people, but not due to genetic reasons. The reason is socioeconomic condition.
Blacks are at the bottom of the society and lives in unhealthy crowded urban environments with poor living conditions and lack of access to heath care. The fear of being locked up may discourage some people from seeking medical help. Alot of people ate enjoying better western medical care these days more than ever before because of dedicated medical term working tirelessly and researches/experiment done to improve quality of health. However, there is no justification in abusing one race in the name of treatment and experiment and not doing the same for other race. Medical research and experiment should be do using different races, groups, gender of people for experiment.
These groups should be randomly picked with their consent and full understanding of the research they are about to engaged in. When one race is used to do all medical researches and experiments, lots of harm, pain and suffering including death is being introduced to that race, thereby their population is being threaten, reduced or even eliminated in the human race. The treatment these people received shows lack of respect to black race and no equal rights with white people. Utilitarian only look at the results of the actions and disregards the desires or intentions that motivates the action. Our moral obligation is to promote good and list amount of evil or harm should be produced to prevent greatest amount of suffering.