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9 Feb 2013
Week #6: Sucutaneous Scars: A Black Physician Shares What if Feels like to be
on the Receiving End of Racial Prejudice despite a Successful Career by
Vanessa Northington Gamble
Faculty member at a Midwestern university school of medicine
For medical professionals of color, they often face isolation, mistaken for
janitors, maids and dietary workers, more intensely scrutinized than their
white classmates by security guards and attending physicians
Despite our credentials, achievements and white jackets, our race would
make it ipossible for some people to see us physicians
Possible remedies: increase number of faculty of color, augement the
resources of the multicultural affairs office and add more multicultural topics
to the curriculum
Stereotypical angry black woman: an impression that I did not want to leave
on an audience who did not know me
Other Times
Questioning of a person or mistaking them for a maid can impact self
confidence of a person who has the SAME QUALIFICATIONS, THE SAME
Because of the color of their skin, they are deemed incompetent and worse,
continually made the butt of such jokes that were initially a mistake but are
becoming chronic mindful jokes with undercurrent racist tones
Looking to past trailblazers who have faced tougher circumstances is a
source of inspiration and strength
Suffering in Silence
People often suffer in silence because they rather not have the stigma of
being a whistleblowers ( that may be worse than the actual initial ridicule or
treatment) and it may impact their professional opportunities and mobility
Many firmly believe that medicine is a profession that is immune from the
values, mores and prejudices of the wider society
Healing the Pain
Most people do not hear the experiences of people of color in the medical
profession because sharing stories involves pain and that requires trust to
One often needs to bury the pain in order to make it professionally,
personally and psychically.
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