Being black in most places in the world is, by and large, a disadvantage. In America, for example, police are more likely to arrest you if you are black, jobs are less likely to call you back if your name sounds black, and just about all of your cultural capital is sure to find its way, more profitably, in the hands of a white person.
Now, alas, black people can add “white doctors really think we’re invincible” to the list of pains in the asses we have to deal with on a regular basis. According to a study conducted at the University of Virgina, more than 111 medical students belive non-truths about black people, like the idea that our blood coagulates faster than white people’s. From UVA’s press release:
They were also asked the extent to which various beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites are true or untrue; for example: that blacks age more slowly than whites; their nerve endings are less sensitive than whites’; their blood coagulates more quickly than whites’; their skin is thicker than whites’ (all false).
The researchers found that half of the sample endorsed at least one of the false beliefs, and those who endorsed these beliefs were more likely to report lower pain ratings for the black vs. white patient, and were less accurate in their treatment recommendations for the black vs. white patient.
This is horrible but ultimately unsurprising. When Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri, he claimed that Brown charged through a barrage of bullets and plenty of white people bought it, citing Brown’s size and “power” as if those things somehow make bullets less painful. In fact, white people have a long history of classifying black people as other worldy and immune to “normal” humanity.
Political scientist John Dilulio Jr. introduced the term “Superpredator” to the masses in a 1995 article for The Weekly Standard where he described an almost psychological condition overtaking America’s inner-cities. By his estimation, these kids (who he claimed thrived in “black inner-city neighborhoods”) were in a league all their own, posessing an unprecedented capacity for violence, hence the “super” part.
White people’s fascination with what (hint:nothing) is biologically different between races goes back as far as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, during which black sharecroppers were manipulated into acting as living petri dishes for a disease that researchers failed to inform subjects there was a cure for. Writer James Jones claimed that the physicians involved were fixated on African American sexuality and believed that the subjects were responsible for getting the disease.
Still, you’d think a room full of doctors in 2016 would be able to offer an emphatic “NO” to a dumbass question like whether or not black people have less sensitive nerve endings. But then again, white people can be astonishing.