In this research, racism is defined as a multidimensional configuration of beliefs, emotions and behavioral guidelines to discriminate against black individuals.
A representative survey was applied to 634 workers of public and private health services in the municipality of Camaçari, State of Bahia, Brazil, to explore technical knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and behaviors regarding to inequalities and racism. Principal Component Analysis was used to reduce and classify 40 sentences into standardized profiles of sets of components represent the sharing of social attitudes, beliefs on racism among health personnel.
Results show that racism is expressed mainly through subtle expressions. Most of the health personnel disagree to asking the patients’ color. Health personnel who self-declare as white would accept explicit expressions of racism: that black patients would be more violent by nature; those who self-declared as brown would accept that humiliating jokes against black patients are normal expressions of Brazilian culture. These perceptions are based more on social prejudices, oriented by ideology, with contradictions and ambiguities in racism perceptions and with the values in modern society, such as universalism and equality. Racism in health services works as a barrier to complete and improve data on color-race inequalities in health and to implement affirmative policies.
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