Many Americans have long decried the prevalence of progressive or so-called “woke” ideology within traditionally apolitical realms like science and medicine.
In the latest example drawing widespread criticism, a doctor associated with a leading medical journal was reportedly pressured to resign after airing a podcast that defended his profession from claims that it is inherently racist.
“Racism is illegal”
According to the Washington Examiner, Dr. Howard Bauchner was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for a decade before his recent departure from the publication. Since then, he has become a symbol of cancel culture in some conservative circles.
The controversy stems from his approval of a podcast episode that aired in February and addressed the topic of “structural” or “systemic” racism in medicine.
Dr. Edward Livingston, the host, expressed frustration over allegations that the medical field is intrinsically racist, arguing that “racism is illegal” and should therefore not be able to become a structural ill in society.
“As a child of the ’60s, I didn’t get it,” he said. “Structural racism is an unfortunate term. Personally, I think taking racism out of the conversation will help. Many of us are offended by the concept that we are racist.”
The JAMA editor went on to promote the podcast with a tweet declaring: “No physician is racist, so how can there be structural racism in health care?”
“Inaccurate, offensive, hurtful”
Both Livingston and Bauchner have since parted ways with the publication.
The situation has resulted in fiercely contested opinions being expressed on both sides, including Dr. Aletha Maybank, the chief equity officer for the American Medical Association, who claimed that questioning racism in medicine is itself “a demonstration of structural [and] institutional racism.”
Bauchner, who was placed on administrative leave in March pending the outcome of an internal probe, issued a contrite response in a post that has taken the place of the offensive podcast.
“Comments made in the podcast were inaccurate, offensive, hurtful, and inconsistent with the standards of JAMA,” he said. “Racism and structural racism exist in the U.S. and in health care. I once again apologize for the harms caused by this podcast and the tweet about the podcast.”
In a related statement, Bauchner concluded that in the interest of advancing “equity in medicine,” it would be best for him to step down.