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David R. Williams

Harvard University

Dr. David R. Williams is a tenured professor at Harvard University. He specializes in several subjects, including Public Health, Sociology, and African American Studies. Dr. Williams has also delivered many lectures and written a substantial number of publications that discuss discrimination and racism in the United States, particularly in healthcare, and the negative health impact conservatives have on Democrats and minorities.

In 2016, Dr. Williams appeared in a TED Talk titled, “How Racism Makes Us Sick”. In this 16 minute video, he discusses how stereotypes in the subconscious minds of healthcare professionals lead to lesser quality care for minorities. He attributes this to implicit biases and explains how it’s an unconscious process that occurs “even among the most well-intended individuals.” According to Williams, when a person of color is being treated by a non-minority medical professional, that provider holds unconscious and inherent biases that cause them to unknowingly provide lesser quality healthcare.


A topic Dr. Williams discusses often, particularly on Twitter, is white privilege and supremacy in politics. In an article published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2017, Dr. Williams alleges that President Donald Trump’s candidacy reignited pre-existing hostile attitudes towards racial and ethnic minorities and migrants. He goes on to describe how Democrats in particular experienced negative health effects after the 2016 election, as they feel they are direct targets of hostility and discrimination, particularly white American conservatives.


He further accuses the conservative-run Tea Party, which materialized after the election of Barack Obama, of increasing racial animosity in the United States. Dr. Williams claims a large uptick in racism on social media occurred after Obama’s election, as well as a resurgence of historically racist stereotypes. He attributes all of this to the Tea Party.

The Tea Party is an organization that was created in response to the 2008 financial and housing crisis in the United States. Outraged by the Obama administration’s policies – such as the mortgage bailouts in 2009 – the Tea Party was born. According to their website, the Tea Party claims to have millions of members nationwide, consisting of Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents alike.

Dr. Williams is also credited with developing the “Everyday Discrimination Scale” that is widely used as a measure of subjective experiences of discrimination in order to measure feelings of racism. This scale is used in schools to measure students’ perceived level of discrimination in their everyday lives. On the flip side, if students score very low on the scale, teachers and professors want to know why students think they aren’t being discriminated against. This typically boils down to the color of their skin.

The scale is used in several major universities, particularly in healthcare studies. The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies uses the scale to measure “subjective experiences of daily discrimination against the minority population.” Further details about their use of the scale can be found here.

The Professor Watchlist Team reached out to Dr. Williams for comment but has not received a response by the time of publication.


Parents and Students may contact the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health at (617) 495-1000.

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