lives matter, money doesn’t

As time goes on, America tends to find ways to become “better” than many other countries, whether it is regarding technology, wealth, or medical resources. It is far from a secret that third world countries such as Liberia are not as well off as Americans. Many Africans are living with illnesses and are unable to access to medical attention, and even if they do, it is far from great service. Last year as Ebola made its way to America, everyone knew about it, and everyone was doing everything in their power to prevent it from spreading here, meanwhile, many were in Africa suffering from this disease, and receiving little medical attention. As the video clip stated, there was a magazine with a title named,  “Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away” which seems absurd why does it take 50  white people to find this vaccine, when hundreds of “non-white” humans are suffering from this horrible illness. (Farmer, 2014).

After reading and watching the video for this week, it is clear “structural violence” is real, and a large issue today. Dr. Paul Farmer discussed the difference regarding treatment between how an American in America would be treated with Ebola, and how those in Africa are treated.  In my opinion structural violence is basically like choosing who deserves something more based on how much he or she has. If an African has Ebola, it is just another day, and another person sent to quarantine, or another person treated poorly, such as a gunshot to the leg. But, when someone in America has Ebola, it is the headline in the news, and on every single magazine. Amy Goodman discussed that Ebola would not make it to America, and Dr. Farmer corrected her by stating that it could come to America, but would be stopped quickly. An American diagnosed with Ebola would not only be sent to a room alone, but they would be isolated and treated with the best care in the country until medical assistants have done everything they can do (Farmer, 2014).

When it comes down to a deadly disease, I think anyone and everyone should be treated the same, regardless of their skin color, country or number of dollar bills in their bank account. As I stated above, Dr. Farmer discussed how Ebola would be handled here, and that should be how it is handled everywhere.

In an article I read, I was in awe of how different things are across the world, and how real ” Structural Violence” really is. A poor woman living in a literal dump, trampling over garbage to get to work each day. This woman was suffering from an illness, yet had no way to pay for treatment, she had no choice but to look to prostitution in order to make even the slightest bit of money.  Soon, she passed away, and her daughter (age 10) quickly knew what her future entailed. She too, would also have to become a commercial sex slave in order to make any money at all. This job came as a two for one deal, she made small amounts of money, and acquired AIDS along with it.

Obviously this article had nothing to do with Ebola, but I found the issue of Structural Violence to be the most interesting aspect of this weeks lesson. As Americans, we are unaware of how lucky we are, and how different things are for those across the world. We have something as little as a cold, we go to the store and get cough syrup. We have the flu, we go to the doctor and get a prescription. We need money, we take out a loan, or get another job… It isn’t that easy for everyone. This young girls only choice of making it is selling her body, and welcoming AIDS with open arms, with most likely zero means of any form of medical attention for her disease. The article stated, she already knew what her future had in store for her, she was going to live just like her mom which meant she would become a prostitute, develop AIDS and continue making money in order to feed herself and family, and sooner or later she would die from aids just as her mother did.

O’Neil Jr, Edward. “Poverty, Structural Violence, and Racism in a World Out of Balance.” Project MUSE 3, no. 1 (2009): 115-38

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