By now, it seems like we should be used to the woke movement and its insertion into our culture. But the woke continue to find ways to surprise us.
Just the other day, I saw a television ad while watching the news. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, but a friend of mine brought it to my attention a couple of days later.
In the commercial for Oscar Health, a man named Oscar with a son named Oscar Jr. says, “Know what really hurts? When you go to the doctor and they don’t believe you’re in pain because of the color of your skin.”
No, seriously. Check it out for yourself.
Racist doctors who accuse black people of faking their pain? That’s an awfully heavy accusation to make, even if it only occurred once.
The commercial goes on to say that Oscar Health helps connect clients with healthcare professionals with whom they are comfortable. That’s admirable and all well and good, but it’s hard to get past that line about doctors not believing that black people are sincere about their ailments.
And it’s stirring up some controversy. People are responding on Oscar Health’s Facebook page. In addition to the comments noting that policyholders are having to wait on hold inordinately (as every company in the world says, “We’re experiencing higher than normal call volume”), commenters are calling out Oscar Health’s ad. Not all of their ads, mind you. Just the Oscar and Oscar Jr. one.
Customers are asking to cancel their plans, and others are saying they would never sign up with Oscar Health after seeing the ad, which has run for just over a month.
The company has replied to a few of the comments, with a boilerplate response. I screenshot a couple of instances of the reply.
The link Oscar Health points to is from a study in the Annals of Family Medicine that dates back to 2008 and concludes that patients felt more comfortable with doctors who are of the same race as they.
…patients in racially concordant encounters reported more personal similarity (mean 87.6) to their doctors than did minority patients in racially discordant interactions (mean 81.4). White patients in racially discordant interactions did not differ in perceived personal similarity (mean 84.4) relative to the other 2 groups. Also…patients in racially concordant encounters saw themselves as more ethnically similar to their physicians (mean 78.8) than did minority (mean 41.2) or white (mean 41.9) patients in racially discordant visits.
It’s a sensible conclusion, and it speaks to the final point of the ad, which is that it benefits a patient when his or her health insurance provider can pair him or her up with a doctor who understands the patient’s needs and makes him or her comfortable.
But that’s a far cry from the concerns of the people who object to the ad, namely the assertion that doctors tell black people that they’re faking their ailments.
I reached out to Oscar Health for comment about the controversy surrounding their ad, but nobody responded to my request.
I also dug a little deeper into Oscar Health, and it turns out that not only are they woke (like so many other corporations these days), but they also like to crow about their efforts at wokeness.
MyIdentity empowers all members to provide Oscar with information – including their first and last name, pronouns, and gender (as distinguished from their sex assigned at birth) – that accurately reflect their identity. These identifiers will then be used by the Oscar team when members are greeted upon logging into their digital accounts and whenever engaging with the Oscar Care Teams. Members are presented with this feature during onboarding, and can also access it at any time via settings on the web.
So you can update your (or y’all’s, if your pronouns are “they/them”) gender preferences anytime you want. How convenient.
The real kicker is how readily Oscar has bought into the diversity and inclusion narrative that the wokes are head over heels for. It’s all over the website, including an extensive report on the company’s efforts and a letter from the CEO.
Mario Schlosser, CEO & Co-Founder, writes:
New hires at Oscar are from underrepresented populations and we are steadily growing a community of Black, Latinx, and South Asian employees. Growth in ethnic and gender diversity at the employee level is outpacing the growth in ethnic and gender diversity of our leadership team. While we are challenged to do better, we are trending towards our goal, with 2020 numbers showing that our leadership team is the most diverse since 2017.
He sounds like he’s read plenty of Ibrahim X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo:
In 2020, we focused on ensuring that employees have a welcoming, open environment where they can express themselves freely, where our leadership is making decisions informed by a broad spectrum of lived experiences, and where we are acting as a positive force for justice and equity in the communities that we serve.
Oscar Health also crows about developing “a framework for equity & justice.” The report demonstrates the company’s almost stereotypical commitment to a litany of left-wing pet causes:
• We joined the chorus of voices speaking out against police brutality and the unjust deaths of people of color at the hand of law enforcement.
• We mourned the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and celebrated her long-standing commitment to justice and social progress.
• We stood beside our LGBTQ friends, family members, and coworkers to recognize Pride Month, in a year where the parades and gatherings went quiet in the face of a global health crisis.
Schlosser apparently hasn’t taken too long a look at the Oscar Health boardroom. For all the ballyhoo about hiring so many minorities, the company’s management team is overwhelmingly white. You see, when it comes to wokeness, those at the top are immune — much like in Soviet Russia.
To circle back to the ad from the beginning of this article, it’s not surprising that a company that would air a commercial accusing doctors of not believing black people about their ailments would sign on to so much wokeness. The only surprise is how in-your-face the ad is about looking for racism behind every stethoscope.