Nov 15 2012

Red Cross, Double Cross

Published by at 10:19 pm under Reflection Blog

Before, I listened to Thomas A Guglielmo’s speech about African American’s exclusion and segregation from blood donation; I wondered who were the people that believed that Black blood transfusion into Whites would make the White person Black? It turns out that one-third of the American public was unsure, another one-third believed it to be a myth, and the last one-third believed that it was not true.

Even more amazing, was the fact that the American Red Cross continued to keep the policy in place from the beginning of World War II until the end. The individuals that kept the policy in place were leaders. People that held positions of power in the United States. Though, the scientific community proved that White and Black blood was the same, a group still argued against it. Leaders used their best art of persuasion stating that the majority of Americans wanted blood donations this way and that is why the policy remained. I saw leaders excluding Black Americans from being part of the greater society as a whole – as equals – and marginally excluding African Americans from the American dream. To tie it back to American consumerism, Black Americans were prevented from participating in the donation of blood and becoming receivers of blood.  Further preventing Blacks from becoming equal  participants in the market even during war times. It reminded me of Vietnam and the draft period. An 18-year-old can fight and die in war, but not vote? A Black man can fight and die in war, but not donate blood? The inequalities in the military reflect inequalities carried over from people that have power of influence in the government. World War II blood donations reflected the ensuing debate of race equality and the huge hurdles that Black Americans would have to fight. Once one war was over, another issue would take its place, but this time on American soil: the issue of segregation.

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