Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Class Three: Another Case of Prejudice Preventing Proper Credit

Perhaps you remember
this man...

but do you know who this man is?

When I was growing up, I remember my mother talking about Dr. Christiaan Barnard, a South African surgeon who had performed the world's first human heart transplant in 1967. She marveled at this feat.

Little did she - or the rest of the world - know that a black man, Hamilton Naki, was instrumental in the development of this surgery.

Naki's NYT obituary in 2005 noted:

Dr. Barnard began to acknowledge Mr. Naki's work only after the end of apartheid in 1991. In an interview shortly before his death in 2001, he called Mr. Naki "one of the great researchers of all time in the field of heart transplants."

Numerous bloggers responded passionately to the story of Naki's long uncredited contributions to science. Here are a few links to posts I found:

Disparate Thoughts - Hamilton Naki - A life worth emulating

Prometheus 6: All Respect and No Restraint - Think about how just a fraction of Mr. Naki's capabilities were developed. Think about what else racism made us miss.

Billy Rubin's Blog: A Blog Focused Principally on Medicine, Health and Commerce - A Parting Shot for Black History Month, Through the Medicine Lens

Of what examples are you aware where heroes were unsung due to racism?

Or sexism?

Or some other form of prejudice?

What are your feelings about those situations?

No comments: