argument top image

Does white privilege exist?
Back to question

White privilege is present in the health system

White patients have better health outcomes than people of color.


White people have better health outcomes than minority groups despite using the same services. Therefore, white privilege is present in the healthcare system.

The Argument

Maternal mortality rates are far higher among black women than white women (40 deaths per 100,000 versus 17.8 deaths per 100,000). Despite receiving access to the same health system, black mothers have worse health outcomes. The numbers point to an observable underlying trend which is that when black people express concerns about symptoms, physicians and doctors are less likely to believe them.

Counter arguments

An observed difference in maternal mortality rates between black and white females is not strong evidence that black females are mistreated or not believed by healthcare providers. Many factors contribute to the likelihood of death at childbirth prior to receiving healthcare. For example, factors such as stress level, weight, age or presence of chronic disease. Other social determinants of health such as educational attainment, living conditions, income level, quality of social support networks, and awareness of care options also have a bearing on health outcomes.[1] All these factors, among others, should be included in an analysis of differences between black and white maternal mortality rates, to avoid the risk of reaching an inaccurate conclusion about mistreatment of black women by healthcare professionals.



[P1] White people have better health outcomes in the health system than non-whites. [P2] Therefore, the health system treats whites better. [P3] Therefore, white privilege is present in the health system.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Many factors influence risk of maternal mortality prior to receiving healthcare. [Rejecting P2] A higher maternal mortality rate among black women does not show mistreatment by healthcare professionals was the cause. [Rejecting P3] A difference in maternal mortality between white and black women is not strong evidence of white privilege in the healthcare system.


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 1 Sep 2020 at 14:07 UTC

Explore related arguments