Racism and Research
The main discussions in Brandt’s article were basically explaining how they conducted the experiment and the how the era in which It happened effected it. Social Darwinism was big at the time so the way white people saw people of color was horrific but what was worse is that some physicians accepted these beliefs so that reflected in their work. Brandt, A.M. discussed how they chose their subjects, the tests given to everyone to evaluate them to see if they were right for the tests, how the health authorities portraited these men as sexual animals and how they were really focused on their genitals, and the end results of the study. One of the positive things in my opinion was the formation of boards and legislations for the health department. It consisted of nine board members. It is beneficial to the people of the community to feel safe and protected by the people who are supposed to be taking care of them. Having this committee was a crucial first step in rebuilding trust. Although it was formed afterward it was still needed.
This case study should never be replicated nor, will it ever be acceptable to replicate. Anyone who has basic knowledge and understanding on how to treat people can tell you this case study was unethical. There are rules and regulations, as well as basic human rights to follow for every person to perform their duties in each chosen field of profession. The health providers conducting these experiments blatantly offered a treatment to these men with no real intentions of treating them. From the way they selected the subjects, to the way they got tested to be a part of the experiment, to the time length of the experiment, to how many people died and how many kids born after had syphilis, it is all unethical. Although some people will argue that these consequences were needed to get the results of finding an antibiotic to properly treat this disease, many will argue that the health service system could have went about it a different way. Which they should have.
From a sociological perspective this is a conflict. I believe at the time the white race did feel threatened by people of color and they felt it was a competition. There was inequality, there was racism, there was two groups of people who didn’t like each other. This case however involved heavy conflict because again it disregarded basic human rights as well as not providing the right medicine to save lives even when they said they would treat them. To avoid these conflicts they should have provided people with the truth from the beginning. If we are looking at it from a utilitarianism stand point the consequences of the study did not bring overall happiness to the community. Although I think Khant would argue the logic of the study was to find a cure in which they did but, I also think he would see it as unethical. I believe the people who were behind this study had no virtues, they were not truthful, they were not compassionate, nor did they have any moral code of conduct. In my final thoughts I think the people who conducted these studies should be given the death penalty based on the number of people they allowed to die.