John Hopkins, doctors, money, school, class

Johns Hopkins DEI Chief Claims White Males, Christians, And English Speakers Are ‘Privileged’

The doctor retracted her definition of privilege and issued an apology to the Johns Hopkins staff Thursday.

The chief diversity officer for the Johns Hopkins Medical System sent a “monthly diversity digest” email to the staff that included a letter declaring all white people, Christians, and men as “privileged.”

The New York Post reports Dr. Sherita Hill Golden’s letter added that “heterosexuals” and English speakers are in the “privileged” category. In a section of the letter titled,  “Diversity is the word of the Month,” Golden defined privilege as “a set of unearned benefits given to people who are in a specific social group” that operates on “personal, interpersonal, cultural and institutional levels.”

Golden added a list of privileged social groups that included white people, able-bodied people, heterosexuals, cisgender people, males, Christians, middle- or owning-class people, middle-aged people, and English-speaking people as privileged groups.

“Privilege is characteristically invisible to people who have it. People in dominant groups often believe they have earned the privileges they enjoy or that everyone could have access to these privileges if only they worked to earn them,” Golden wrote.

Several far-right figures, including X and Tesla owner Elon Musk and Donald Trump Jr., condemned Golden’s statement and pushed the Baltimore-based non-profit medical center to do the same.

“The rot and racism in higher education goes so much further. Harvard, MIT, and Penn (my alma mater). It has taken over virtually every institution and needs to end now.”

Golden, whose areas of medical expertise include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, diabetes mellitus, endocrinology, and lipid disorders, is an internationally recognized physician-scientist and member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Society of Clinical Investigation. 

Her research has used the tools of epidemiology and health services research to identify biological and systems contributors to disparities in type 2 diabetes and its outcomes. Golden is also the author of more than 200 articles focused on diabetes, endocrinology, and health disparities.

The doctor retracted her definition of privilege and issued an apology to the Johns Hopkins staff Thursday.

“The newsletter included a definition of the word privilege which, upon reflection, I deeply regret,” she wrote in a memo, according to the Daily Mail. “The newsletter intends to inform and support an inclusive community at Hopkins, but the language of this definition did not meet that goal.

“In fact, because it was overly simplistic and poorly worded, it had the opposite effect,” she continued. “I retract and disavow the definition I shared, and I am sorry.”