I remember the popular R.E.M. refrain in the 90s that said, “everybody hurts sometimes.” The sentiment expressed in the song is an accurate one; everybody does hurt sometimes, but to what degree do we each feel that pain? This is an interesting concept in the medical field due to the gaping racial disparity when it comes to pain management in today’s hospitals. Even as recently as 2016, it was found in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, that an astonishing 40% of first-and second- year medical students held the belief that black people had physically thicker skin that white people. There are other false beliefs like this one circulating in the culture that suggest black people have less sensitive nerve endings or that their blood clots more quickly. You’d think that these beliefs must be leftover traces from last century, but even if these things are not being taught in medical school, the concepts have somehow gotten ingrained into the general subconscious and are having real-life repercussions in today’s health environment.


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