A Long Line of Greats

I come from a long line of greats: great minds, great cooks, great lives. But the current times of this country has made me feel anything but great. I am a woman that immigrated from a foreign land at a very tender and impressionable age. My first encounter with racism was when I was 5 years old. I was the only black student in my private Christian school. At the time, I did not realize that it was racism, but I can recall that I thought the encounter was an odd one. Middle school was also a pinnacle time in my character development, and this is when I encountered discrimination from someone that looked like me. Another black person in my English class that made fun of me because of my “proper English” and where I came from. That fall semester, my self-esteem dropped to its lowest. I could not even feel comfortable with those that looked like me and I was distraught. It was at this time that I could not figure out where I belonged. In high school, I was told that my dreams of being a physician were “too lofty”. I did not understand why because I was at the top of my class and I was taking all the “advanced level” classes. I was told that I need to settle for something that would be “less taxing” and wouldn’t put me in so much debt. I was told by peers that I was just “doing too much.” Through medical school and residency, I have encountered countless number of microaggressions. However, the aforementioned encounter defined the rest of my clinical years. When I finally started residency and I became a “real doctor”, I always ensured that I wore my white coat. I made sure that I introduced myself by my title. I did all this to ensure that my identity was not mistaken for something or someone else like it was during my third year in medical school. Despite this, I am still mistaken for other people despite how I have tried to set up the narrative. As black doctors in white coats, what can we do to ensure our identities are not misconstrued? – AOS, MD

5 thoughts on “A Long Line of Greats”

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