Does classism play a role in human experimentation. Yes, classism plays a big roll in the experimentation of the use of Henrietta Lacks cells because they are a family of color and don’t have a lot of money to go to a very good hospital, nor medical care. Henrietta Lacks family should be informed of the use of her cells, they shouldn’t just take her cells without consenting it with her family because that’s something really big to just take someone’s cells and do experiments with them.
To begin, in an article, The theme of Racism, Classism, and Sexism of the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, talks about how classism plays a role in the life of Henrietta Lacks. The article states, “Black scientists and technicians, many of them women, used cells from a black woman to help save the lives of millions of Americans, most of them white. And they did so on the same campus—and at the very same time—that state officials were conducting the infamous Tuskegee syphilis studies…” ( The theme of Racism, Classism, and Sexism of the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks ). This shows classim because they use people of colors cells to save the lives of mostly White people. They use a lot of people of color to do experiment on rather than whites, they shouldn’t just be using more people of lower class to experiment on because we of lower class don’t have enough money to pay for a cure or medications, which sometimes can lead to the option of being used in experiments and research. For example, in the Syphilis Tuskegee experiments they used men of color to experiment but they never told them for what for and without the benefit of the patients informed consent but in return for taking part in the experimentation the men received free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance. They are manipulating them to think this was a good idea because we are getting free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance, but they don’t know what they are really experimenting them for. And as a result most of these men are dying because they weren’t given any treatment for syphilis. They use people of color to experiment on but hardly on whites, which shows a lot of classism because people of color are people of lower class and they weren’t getting treated fairly. Secondly, in the same article the quote talks about how her family never got anything in return. The article states, “Truth be told, I can’t get mad at science, because it help people live, and I’d be a mess without it. I’m a walking drugstore! I can’t say nothing bad about science, but I won’t lie, I would like some health insurance so I don’t got to pay all that money every month for drugs my mother cells probably helped make” ( The theme of Racism, Classism, and Sexism of the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks ). This shows classism because even though they can’t be mad at the science because it’s helping save lives they never got anything out of it. The doctors took her cells without their consent, used them as research to find cures and more but they gave them nothing in return. They don’t have health care because they can’t afford it other than people of higher class. They have money to buy their medicines and go to the doctor. It’s unfair if they are finding new medicines with their mothers cells but aren’t getting help with their own health in any way, after all the doctors took her cells without consent which isn’t right. It affected their family a lot because some of her family doesn’t want her mom being used to experiment on and research but they don’t seem to care and still did it anyway.
In conclusion, classism plays a big role in human experimentation. It affects a lot of people of lower class. Just because maybe people don’t have enough money to buy medicines or whatever they need, doesn’t mean doctors or researchers should manipulate them into human experimentations because it isn’t very ethical either. They may be doing some good by researching the disease and doing research but they are harming people by not giving them the right medication when they really need it. As well as with Henrietta Lacks, it wasn’t very ethical they gave them no consent to use her cells but they still used it anyway. It always a person of color in these human experimentations. You never really see white people in these experimentations/research. Which is also racist because they are only using people of color. All the levels of oppression tie together somehow, with one level of oppression comes another. For example here, its classism but it also leads to racism. But human experimentation has a lot to do with classism which isn’t fair but sometimes to people it may not matter because its helping save lives but it’s also killing people.
“Racism, Classism, and Sexism Theme Analysis.” LitCharts, www.litcharts.com/lit/the-immortal-life-of-henrietta-lacks/themes/racism-classism-and-sexism.
This page has quotes for how human experimentation of the life of Henrietta Lacks plays a role in classism.
“U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Aug. 2017, www.cdc.gov/tuskegee/timeline.htm.
This article was about the syphilis tuskegee and how the experiment ran and how they did not ask for the consent of the people in the experiment and lied to them that they had bad blood instead of syphilis.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Theme of Poverty.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008, www.shmoop.com/the-immortal-life-of-henrietta-lacks/poverty-theme.html.
This article was about how Henrietta Lacks poverty affected her a lot. She didn’t have access to health care and they just took her cells without their consent.
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