Stephen Sidney

Race Against History
June 11, 2007

It seemed like just another harmless moment on daytime TV: Oprah Winfrey began an "Ask Dr. Oz" segment with the physician Mehmet Oz, and the two arrived at the subject of excessive sweating. Oz cited high blood pressure as a major cause and then asked Winfrey if she knew why black Americans experienced hypertension at disproportionate rates. No problem so far. But then Winfrey answered Oz's question by reviving what scholars have called the "slavery hypothesis" of hypertension.