White doctors and nurses on racial inequality in health care in the USA: Whiteness and colour-blind racial ideology

Jennifer Malat, Rose Clark-Hitt, Diana Jill Burgess, Greta Friedemann-Sanchez, Michelle van Ryn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


In this paper we report on an interdisciplinary project interviewing doctors and nurses about racial inequality in health care in the USA. We analysed data from interviews with twenty-two white doctors and nurses in which they were asked to offer explanations for racial inequality in health care. Results provide insight into how whiteness operates to provide white patients more often with appropriate health care and how colour-blind ideology can be adapted to accommodate naming white advantage and potential racial discrimination. However, even when naming mechanisms of white advantage in accessing resources, the white respondents avoided acknowledging how they are implicated in racial inequality in health care. We discuss the implications for understanding whiteness and colour-blind ideology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1431-1450
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 6 2010



  • Colour-blind
  • Qualitative
  • Racial discourse
  • Racial inequality
  • White racial ideology
  • Whiteness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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