What happens to black health care professionals in the new economy, where work is insecure and organizational resources are scarce? In Flatlining, Adia Harvey Wingfield exposes how hospitals, clinics, and other institutions participate in “racial outsourcing,” relying heavily on black doctors, nurses, technicians, and physician assistants to do “equity work”—extra labor that makes organizations and their services more accessible to communities of color. Wingfield argues that as these organizations become more profit driven, they come to depend on black health care professionals to perform equity work to serve increasingly diverse constituencies. Yet black workers often do this labor without recognition, compensation, or support. Operating at the intersection of work, race, gender, and class, Wingfield makes plain the challenges that black employees must overcome and reveals the complicated issues of inequality in today’s workplaces and communities.

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“I know of no other book that so clearly explains how race, class, and gender shape the experiences of black professionals.”

—Christine L. Williams, author of Inside Toyland: Working, Shopping, and Social Inequality


“Raises serious questions about how race, gender, and class intersect at the workplace in the relationship between service providers and their clients.”

—Nancy DiTomaso, author of The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality without Racism


Flatlining advances our understanding of race in the U.S. workplace and is a must-read for anyone who seeks to comprehend the economic and social realities facing African Americans in hospital settings today. Adia Harvey Wingfield’s investigation into how black professionals in the healthcare sector experience racial outsourcing shows the limitations among far too many organizations in how they think about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her interview-based evidence leads to the conclusion that to meet the needs of the diverse communities who rely on their products and services, organizations need to start by intentionally focusing on creating a racially diverse and inclusive workplace.”

—Heather Boushey, Executive Director, Washington Center for Equitable Growth


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