1. What does Tressie McMillan Cottom mean when she says that US healthcare systems assume black women’s incompetence?
2. As she conveys the story, how might Cottom’s pregnancy have been different had the healthcare workers involved read her as competent?
3. What are some stereotypes and structural features of modern healthcare that (according to Kidd & Carel) make patients especially vulnerable to epistemic injustice?
4. One kind of epistemic injustice in healthcare is testimonial injustice. Give an example (from Cottom, Kidd & Carel, your own experience, or elsewhere) and explain what makes it a case of testimonial injustice.
5. Another kind of epistemic injustice in healthcare is hermeneutical injustice. Give an example (from Cottom, Kidd & Carel, your own experience, or elsewhere) and explain what makes it a case of hermeneutical injustice.
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An epistemic injustice occurs when a person is wronged in their capacity as a knower.
One form of epistemic injustice is what Miranda Fricker calls testimonial injustice: when a speaker’s (or writer’s) words are given less credibility than they deserve, because of some negative stereotype the audience (listener / reader) holds about the speaker or people like them.
Another form of epistemic injustice is what Fricker calls hermeneutical injustice: when someone’s ability to successfully communicate to others (or understand themselves) some important aspect of their experience is undermined, because of some negatibe stereotype the audience holds about them or people like them.
In this week’s homework assignment, I’m asking you to identify examples of these epistemic injustices in healthcare. But here, on the Discussion Board, let’s brainstorm in a more open-ended way. Can you describe for us some time in your life when you’ve experienced testimonial or hermeneutical injustice? It could relate to healthcare, but it doesn’t have to. Try to give us enough details that we can follow your story, and try to explain whether this was testimonial or hermeneutical injustice (or perhaps both).
Patients are not usually medical experts — although it is worth remembering that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are all human and so sometimes they are patients too.
So if patients are not usually experts in medicine or healthcare, what do patients know? What distinctive knowledge do patients have that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers sometimes overlook or undervalue?
(Examples are particularly helpful here!)