"He's black. Is that ok with you?"

So I call my doc’s office to see which surgeon in town he recommends to uh, surgerize my ailing ass. The doc and his nurse emphatically agree that I should go see Dr. J (no relation to Doper Doctor J, by the way). She gives me his address and telephone number, and a personal anecdote about how he treated her mom who had breast cancer… Then asks me if I’m ok with the fact that he’s black.

“What?” Said I. “Hell, I don’t care. As long as he’s got steady hands and can make my pain go away, it makes no difference to me.” I think she was genuinely embarrassed that she asked the question. ::Sorry Patsy, didn’t mean to make you feel that way::

I suppose I understand why she asked. There are still some people who would be uncomfortable with a black surgeon. It just sucks that she would need to ask in this day and age. :frowning: Just shows society has a long way to go.

Yeah, sad, huh? My husband is a physical therapist and, when we lived in South Carolina, he worked with a therapist who was black. There were quite a few patients who refused to let her treat them and were open and unapologetic about it being because of her race.

There were also a few female patients whose husbands would not allow their wives to be treated by my husband and, even when a female therapist was treating, they would insist on being present. I can understand a woman being uncomfortable with a male therapist (some problems may require pretty intimiate contact with the patient), but it sort of freaked me out that it was their husbands who had the problem with it.

South Carolina chauvinism appears to be mostly just insecurity. There’s also the “This is mah woman” sort of property rights thing. I’m sure they follow the mechanic around when getting their trucks worked on. :wally

Yeah, their “trucks.” :smiley:


I went to the doctor’s a few months ago to pick up a form for my job.

When I asked the receptionist to where I should go, she directed me to “the colored girl downstairs.”

Yeah, I logged a complaint.

How bizarre.

When we first moved here, our daughter was about two, and we needed to find a pediatrician to keep her on track with her vaccinations. Someone recommended their pediatrician, and since he was very close by, we went to see him.

We didn’t find out until we met him face to face that he’s Filippino. Because, of course, it didn’t matter to the woman who recommended him. And after meeting with him, we were so struck by his gentle manner and obviously deep care for his patients that we’ve kept taking our children to him for the last 17 years or so. What a find he is. We love him like crazy. Oh, and did I mention he’s Filippino?

Heh. In this area, it seems that all the doctors are either Hispanic or Filipino. If you insisted on seeing a white doctor, you’d have to wait until one opened a new practice. :smiley:

Heh, I’m used to patients saying things like:

“My last doctor was an Indian, lovely man, didn’t really understand what he was saying.”-This from an elderly man with a Kerry accent that could curdle mik, who refused to wear his hearing aids.

“It was that wee girl in the headscarf who did the operation.”- I don’t think a Consultant Paediatrician really falls into the “wee girl” bracket.

“The last time I was in here there was a nice asian fella, is he still working here?”- Which one? There are lots of nice, asian, male doctors in the hospital.

So far I’ve never met anyone who had an actual PROBLEM with being treated by a non-Irish or non-White person, it’s mostly this kind of well-meant but ill-advised comment.

Basically, most of our patients forget the names of the doctors teating them if they can pick them out by appearance. Which leads to the above scenarios when we try and find out who they were last treated by.

I remember something like that happening to me. I was arranging prenatal care for myself while I was expecting with my second son. The woman with whom I was speaking on the telephone located a doctor for me and after providing me with her telephone number and address, proceeded to tell me the doctor was black. Actually, what she said was she’s a black, African woman, but she’s very nice. Confused as all hell, I asked her why she told me that. She replied that she just thought I’d like to know just in case I want to go with another OB. I told her it was OK, I’m black, too.

When I met the woman, she was just a plain black woman, no more African than I am. She was a great OB, by the way, easily the best I’ve ever had. She has been featured on Channel 11 news here in Baltimore several times. Dr. Karen something or other.

(bolding added)

What is up with this construction?? (OK, I know exactly what, but still . . .) How about “She’s a black, African woman, AND she’s very nice”???

Argh. Reminds of one time when my mother was talking to one of my friends, describing some people she had met while wintering in Texas: “They’re Mexican, but not scuzzy like you usually think of with Mexicans.” :eek: :eek: :eek:

My mother does not usually say things like that!! Fortunately my friend was aware that I have, er, issues with my parents, and she even sneaked a glance at me to see my reaction. Gah!!

How did the lady respond to that, UrbanChic? I hope you could feel her blushing over the phone line.
I’ve had to bite my tongue sever times over the past 3 weeks, ever since my grandma was admitted to a hospital and then to a psych hospital. Every doc/nurse/patient who is not white has been called “black” by my 88 year old grandmother and her 81 year old sister… Even if they’re from India. Said my g-ma, “He’s what I used to consider black.” (always whispered)

If they knew that my surgeon-to-be was black, they would throw a hissy fit.

If we didn’t already have an **extreme **amount of tension going on due to what’s going on with g-ma, and her asshole sister I’d have already said, “Why do you feel the need to mention skin color??? He/she is a HUMAN and a medical PROFESSIONAL! That’s what matters.”

I swear I’m gonna start foaming at the mouth will all this stress. But I will refrain from hijacking my own thread

She just said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know,” and changed the subject.

I considered speaking with her supervisor, but decided against it. If she’s privvy to the race of the doctors, it’s probably an informal rule to advise potential patients about the race of the doctor if the doctor is non-white and the patient is, well, really sounds white.

I have asked to stay away from Indian doctors, but that’s mostly because I’m Indian and I’d have a hard time telling anything serious to someone who reminds me of my father. I tend to forget they’re doctors and paid to be professional.

Doc: “Are you sexually active?”
Me: “Um…er…ah…”

Nope, couldn’t do it. I’d be way too embarrassed. :o *My * doctor, however, is a really drop-dead gorgeous but kind of shy Russian. Love him.

Anaamika, you’re Indian and all Indian doctors remind you of your father? :confused:

You should find a female OB/GYN if male doctors make you nervous. They might even have some Indian female OB/GYNs, which might cause you a slightly different kind of anxiety.

Female Indian OB/GYN: “How you can live with that Chinese boy? Haven’t your parents introduced you to some nice Indian young man?”


As long as the doctor is a good man (or woman), and thorough, it shouldn’t matter.

I was having lunch with a friend yesterday, and she’s relaying a conversation she was privvy to between her elderly Aunt and the Aunt’s friends. They were discussing a family in their community.

“She’s a beautician, and he’s a Spic,” the Aunt said.

I asked my friend if that was his profession. Come to find out, he’s actually a cop.

I guess he does that when he’s not being a Spic. :dubious:

And, just for the record, my friend was just as shocked as was I.

A friend of mine was going on about her new boyfriend - he’s nice, he’s funny, he’s very good-looking, can’t wait for you to meet him… oh, and he’s black. Was that OK with me?

Aside from the really weird construction of that question (is it OK with me if he’s black?? I wasn’t aware anyone needed my permission to have a skin color!) I sort of understood where she was coming from. People who aren’t bigoted sometimes find themselves surprised by their friends who are. On the other hand, in a professional situation, the question seems really unnecessary. It could be worse, though - it’s at least a step forward from “We’re sorry, you can’t practice medicine here because you’re black.”

To sort of return to the OP, I think that one reason that she may have mentioned it is because of affirmative action. The perception is (I have no way of factually finding it out) that since colleges and medical schools require - informally, not stated, but nevertheless require - a certain percentage of their students to be black, and since there are fewer high-scoring (and really, any other academic indicator) blacks, standards must necessarily be lower.

When you’re trusting someone with your life, this percieved difference in quality matters.

Actually I prefer male OB/GYNs. Males don’t make me nervous at all, they get in there, do the job, and* don’t commiserate*. I hate fem OB/GYNs because they have to chat.

And yes, that is exactly the reason why I don’t like Indian docs: they’re nosy! They want to know who I’m living with, why I’m not married, why I’m sexually active if I’m not married…I just want to do my stuff and get out!

When my son was born, we asked the community nurse if she could recommend a good kid’s doctor in the area. She directed us to a female doctor a couple of streets away with a distinctly English-sounding name.
We were surprised to find she was Asian.
But she is probably one of the better doctors that we took our son to.
I actually have her as my doctor because I tend to think Asian doctors seem to be a bit more dedicated to the profession, probably because their parents spend so much money to send them here to study.

As a little anecdote, I came down one time with a mouth full of ulcers. I went to the local medical centre across the road and struck a white female who seemed as though she had just got her medical licence out of a corn-flakes box. She looked in my mouth and seemed dumb-founded. She prescribed some sort of capsule that she wanted me to break open into luke-warm water and then gargle with it a couple of times a day. Went home and the missus suggested I see our son’s doctor. She looked in my mouth and nodded sagely. She then asked to see my hands. She then requested I take one of my shoes of so she could look at my feet. She saw a few little red dots on both extremities and quickly diagnosed – Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease. She then asked whether my son had any symptoms. I had noticed that he had had a few small mouth ulcers but was otherwise fine. Just my luck, I copped a big dose while he gets away practically scott-free.

Anyway, I think I’ve hijacked this thread enough, so, back to your regularly scheduled OP…

BTW, I’m a white Aussie male. :cool: