Invisible Visits: Black Middle Class Women in the American Healthcare System

Tina K. Sacks | Social Welfare | Oxford University Press, 2019

Although the United States spends almost one-fifth of all its resources on funding healthcare, the American system is dogged by persistent inequities in the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities and women. Invisible Visits analyzes how Black women navigate the complexities of dealing with doctors in this environment. It challenges the idea that race and gender discrimination, particularly in healthcare settings, is a thing of the past. In telling the stories of Black women who are middle class, Invisible Visits also questions the persistent myth that discrimination only affects racial minorities who are poor. In so doing, Invisible Visits expands our understanding of how Black middle-class women are treated when they go to the doctor and why they continue to face inequities in securing proper medical care. The book also analyzes the strategies Black women use to fight for the best treatment and the toll that these adaptations take on their health. Invisible Visits shines a light on how women perceive the persistently negative stereotypes that follow them into the exam room and makes the bold claim that simply providing more cultural competency or anti-bias training to doctors is insufficient to overcome the problem. For Americans to really address these challenges, we must first reckon with how deeply embedded discrimination is in our prized institutions, including healthcare. Invisible Visits tells the story of Black women in their own words and forces us to consider their experiences in the context of America’s fraught history of structural discrimination.