, 29 tweets, 11 min read
A thread about #whitewomen + #health
As a starting place, if you haven't seen it, catch the excellent bit by John Oliver + Wanda Sykes on "Bias in Medicine"
I love that he brought in Wanda Sykes to (again) make the point she does in her standup about "they give pain medicine to white people like they're Tic-Tacs." This is a true fact.
The flip side of "nonwhite patients get less pain relief" - is that white patients, and specifically white women, get more.
White women's pain is not only legible, it's seen as IMPORTANT TO TREAT & worth responding to, in a way that Black women's, and all people of color's, pain is not.
And, it's part of what leads to the current situation, that white women make up a large share of those struggling with addiction to opioids. See: ama-assn.org/delivering-car…
But it's not only medical bias that's contributing to this self-destructive behavior.
White women are also SELF-MEDICATING with alcohol. See, for example,
It's opioids + alcohol that are contributing to rise in mortality (increased death rates) of #whitewomen (+ men).
Those methods are what some have called "slow suicide," and, those get combined with the more direct forms, for an overall, and nearly unprecedented, rise in white mortality. See, for ex: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/P…
For a more thorough examination of white deaths, see #DyingofWhiteness, Jonathan Metzl's important new book. basicbooks.com/titles/jonatha…
These deaths have been called "deaths of despair" npr.org/sections/healt…
But, this is puzzling, especially given that #whitewomen are more likely to seek mental health treatment, i.e., therapy than others. (No direct links for this, but a couple from which we can make inferences...)
For example, reading the flip side of this "men don't go to therapy" article, we see that WOMEN do go more often. (one can infer whiteness here)

A second but shakier example, about Black people's reticence to embrace therapy, (again, inferring the flip side, of white people's eagerness for it): psychedinsanfrancisco.com/youre-not-whit…
A third, solid example, from this excellent piece about the "whiteness of the couch," I tweeted about yesterday:
"An old saw about therapy is that the thing you don’t talk about is THE THING. ... What if whiteness is THE THING?" ~ Natasha Stovall @Sleepikittyphd
@Sleepikittyphd I've been thinking about this a lot as it relates to #whitewomen
@Sleepikittyphd We have entire the entire MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL-COMPLEX geared to suit our needs, listening to our pain, prescribing us medicine (opioids + more), and yet, mortality rates are increasing.
@Sleepikittyphd Not only that, but affluent #whitewomen have an entire WELLNESS-INDUSTRY aimed directly at catering to us... huffpost.com/entry/opinion-…
@Sleepikittyphd ...and yet, it's affluent #whitewomen who are self-medicating with alcohol at higher rates than other groups.
@Sleepikittyphd Why is that?
@Sleepikittyphd Could it be that as #whitewomen we've believed a series of lies about ourselves that contribute to self-destruction? The first lie being that we are "white" and therefore more deserving of citizenship, of freedom, of safety, of protection.
@Sleepikittyphd Could it be that as #whitewomen we believed the lie that we somehow didn't participate in slavery, and therefore don't bear any responsibility for it? vox.com/2019/8/19/2080…
@Sleepikittyphd Could it be that as #whitewomen we believed the lie that we didn't participate in lynching, and thus don't carry any of that burden? racismreview.com/blog/2014/02/1…
@Sleepikittyphd Could it be that as #whitewomen we believed the lie that we were "on the right side of history" during the Civil Rights Movement, instead of screaming at school children? psmag.com/social-justice…
@Sleepikittyphd And, today, could it be that as #whitewomen believe the lie that we are especially entitled to protection, and that it is our right -- and somehow "feminist" -- to use 911 + the power of the State to protect us? theappeal.org/the-carceral-f…
@Sleepikittyphd It's believing these lies, and refusing to acknowledge where we sit, that's killing us. ///fin///
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