I got a lot of email re this post yesterday, mostly from doctors familiar with the higher levels of distrust of the “white” medical establishment among black patients. But a friend sent this interesting observation:
Jonah – saw this and meant to comment: “Blacks are much more likely than whites to want extraordinary measures taken to extend their lives”
This correlates with a finding that I became quite familiar with when I was working on the Hill – that is, that blacks are much less likely than whites to donate organs. Kidney disease is prevalent in the black community yet it is extremely difficult to find kidney donors who are black (and thus more likely to have a better tissue match), so the waiting lists are longer. Of course, politicians respond to this news by assuming that bigotry and poverty are at play and what we need to do is plough more federal dollars into research, education, etc. to close the gap on health disparities. But your link shows that there is likely a significant cultural element to this particular disparity.