I’m choosing to look at a section of the introduction of Damon Tweedy’s Black Man in a White Coat. Tweedy recounts a black man who suffered from a stroke, and the conversation that this situation sparked: “In suffering a crippling stroke at age thirty-nine, Jim had become another casualty of inequality, a fresh case that Dr. Wilson could use to illustrate the health burden of being black,” (4).
I found this quote interesting for a number of reasons. For starters, Tweedy uses diction that seems to contrast each other. At the beginning of the sentence, he uses words like “suffering,” “crippling,” and “casualty.” These are words that indicate pain and destruction that have life-altering consequences. However, the last half of the sentence uses words such as “fresh case,” “illustrate,” and “health burden.” In contrast to the previous words, these retain a sense of clinical detachment. They strip away the pain of Jim’s experience in order to relate it to science and medical practices.
I also found the phrase “health burden of being black” very interesting. Pairing the words “health” and “burden” together suggests that not only can health be a burden in terms of illness, but also the very experience of dealing with one’s health is burdensome. The fact that this health burden results from “being black” seems to suggest that African Americans are inherently more likely to experience these health burdens. However, we can see that this is not Tweedy’s intention because he mentions the “casualty of inequality,” which furthers the idea that the inequalities African Americans face results in these health burdens.