Black and White Attitudes Toward Assisted Suicide

assisted suicideAs assisted suicide gains momentum on the big screen in movies such as Me Before You and television shows like How to Get Away with Murder—now is the time to address the subject.

Particularly, how the African American community is reacting negatively to the idea of assisted suicide.

According to the Pew Research Center, “Nearly two-thirds of whites (65%) say they would stop their medical treatment if they had an incurable disease and were suffering a great deal of pain.” However, in contrast, the majority of African Americans—61% in fact—would inform their doctors to pursue any means possible to save their lives.

In layman’s terms, this means that the majority of Caucasians would rather face death, while the majority of African-Americans would pursue fighting to stay alive via any means necessary.

Furthermore, other studies have shown that, a major factor in the decision to commit assisted-suicide lies in each races’ belief system. “Black Protestants were noted to be less likely to ask their doctors to stop medical treatment so that they could die if they had an incurable disease (34%) and were experiencing deep levels of pain (42%). White Protestants, however, responded at 64% and 71% respectively.”

Again, the African American community doesn’t seem too eager to throw in the towel.

Maybe a recent article from The New York Times ushers in a better understanding of why African-Americans feel so passionately about their need to fight to stay alive. In the article, the writer states that, “many Americans—particularly the poor, the disabled, the elderly and members of racial and ethnic minorities—worry that if assisted suicide becomes widely available they will be viewed as throwaway people.”

Throwaway people—hmm, that’s at once both powerful and scary imagery. I doubt one needs to be reminded of the throwaway people of the Holocaust, or early American slavery, or even the unborn…

So what does this mean? I think the stats speak for themselves.

As death-peddling organizations like Compassion & Choices create new minority outreach programs to target Blacks, Hispanics, and etc.—they aren’t taking into account the pro-life cultures that they are trying to hoodwink into their pro-death agenda.

Maybe they should.

Regardless of how much pop-culture is trying to romanticize the idea of suicide, the simple truth remains that there’s nothing goo-goo eyed about it. In the end, a person is killing someone—even if that someone happens to be themself.

So it’s hardly something that an entire race should be targeted for, simply because they’re not jumping on the pro-death bandwagon.


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