African American med students, residents, attendings how prevelant is blatant racism from peers?

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How much was racism a problem when you guys did rotations or residencies at hospitals that had a majority white patient population. I'm mainly talking about racism from people you work with, nurses, techs, attendings etc. And how do you not let stuff like that get to you? I sometimes worry about years 3 and 4 as I have somewhat of a quick temper. Also I live in the deep south, so I would like to hear from some people who may be in the south or Midwest.
 
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too controversial of a topic I guess
 

benjee

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I have seen African Americans discriminate other ethnic group,I mean being racists. And I have seen many times there are different types of discrimination eg, ageism,sexism,racism..etc. which occurs everywhere ,not limited to medical field.
 

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I'm interested in this too. I've been lucky enough to avoid racism in my predominantly white workplace until quite recently, and I'm hoping this sort of nonsense is only prevalent in minimum wage joints like jimmy johns. I don't want to have to hold my tongue/blow up at ignorance left and right in the workplace when I'm a professional
 

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I have seen African Americans discriminate other ethnic group,I mean being racists. And I have seen many times there are different types of discrimination eg, ageism,sexism,racism..etc. which occurs everywhere ,not limited to medical field.
I don't think anyone would disagree with that. However, entering into any field/workplace in which you are the minority can cause you to be particularly defensive, especially if you've dealt with blatant racism before. From my most recent racist encounter, I know I'm particularly concerned given how outnumbered black people are in the medical field.
 

benjee

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If you noticed, certain medical field eg. surgery or neurosurg , female is outnumbered by male too. So , please don't be narrow minded with the thought that only black experienced discrimination, there are others groups of people in society are experiencing of different kind of discrimination even in medical field .
 
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benjee, I don't think the OP was being narrow minded. They just asked a question specific to racism against blacks to which I am interested in any answers as well.

However, as a female entering the field in X amount of years, I am interested in how prevalent sexism is in the fields you mentioned as well. Do you mind expanding?
 

Solard

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If you noticed, certain medical field eg. surgery or neurosurg , female is outnumbered by male too. So , please don't be narrow minded with the thought that only black experienced discrimination, there are others groups of people in society are experiencing of different kind of discrimination even in medical field .
Again, no one is arguing that that is not the case. It's silly to argue who has the rawer deal given the lack of representation between our respective minorities. I don't doubt that dealing with sexism in the workplace is every bit as frustrating as dealing with racism, but I think it's important to be informed of the challenges that we individually may face in our futures. I doubt I'll be discriminated against due to my gender, but hearing about the struggles that females do have in some specialties will make me more sensitive and less likely to engage in sexist behaviors.
 

Nabongo Mumia

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How much was racism a problem when you guys did rotations or residencies at hospitals that had a majority white patient population. I'm mainly talking about racism from people you work with, nurses, techs, attendings etc. And how do you not let stuff like that get to you? I sometimes worry about years 3 and 4 as I have somewhat of a quick temper. Also I live in the deep south, so I would like to hear from some people who may be in the south or Midwest.
I'm a CA girl and I've had an awful experience in my medical school located in the Midwest. The only way for you to not let stuff like that get to you is to remind yourself that medical school/residency is not a permanent situation. It will all come to an end. My hope is to eventually practice in a diverse region where the physicians come in all shades.
 
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I'm a CA girl and I've had an awful experience in my medical school located in the Midwest. The only way for you to not let stuff like that get to you is to remind yourself that medical school/residency is not a permanent situation. It will all come to an end. My hope is to eventually practice in a diverse region where the physicians come in all shades.

I understand the NM, are you a 3rd or 4th year?
 

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I have seen African Americans discriminate other ethnic group,I mean being racists. And I have seen many times there are different types of discrimination eg, ageism,sexism,racism..etc. which occurs everywhere ,not limited to medical field.
Please be respectful, and make your own thread. This entire forum's sub-topic is for underrepresented minorities. The OP asked specifically for AFRICAN AMERICAN point of view. So please, make your own thread.
 
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How much was racism a problem when you guys did rotations or residencies at hospitals that had a majority white patient population. I'm mainly talking about racism from people you work with, nurses, techs, attendings etc. And how do you not let stuff like that get to you? I sometimes worry about years 3 and 4 as I have somewhat of a quick temper. Also I live in the deep south, so I would like to hear from some people who may be in the south or Midwest.
Have you experienced racism in other facets of your life in a similar caucasian-dominant population (e.g. classroom, workplace, day-to-day stuff like grocery shopping, etc.)? Did it bother you? If you answered 'yes' to both of these questions, then racism will be a problem in rotations or residences at hospitals.

It is not like the staff and patients you work with in hospitals are any different than the people you meet and interact with in the example settings I just gave. They come from American parents, American homes, American schools and American churches. It is just the type of people our society produces.

With that being said, I unfortunately do not have any advice to give. I, myself, am also seeking answers to the questions you pose.
 

scarletgirl777

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Have you experienced racism in other facets of your life in a similar caucasian-dominant population (e.g. classroom, workplace, day-to-day stuff like grocery shopping, etc.)? Did it bother you? If you answered 'yes' to both of these questions, then racism will be a problem in rotations or residences at hospitals.

It is not like the staff and patients you work with in hospitals are any different than the people you meet and interact with in the example settings I just gave. They come from American parents, American homes, American schools and American churches. It is just the type of people our society produces.

With that being said, I unfortunately do not have any advice to give. I, myself, am also seeking answers to the questions you pose.
This is an excellent point. Also, it's important to realize that racism exists in all regions of the country and it may just be less socially acceptable to blatantly show it in some corners. Doing well in med school is really about fitting in so of course, a blatant and obvious difference between you and the attendings or residents can make that task more difficult. I think the best thing is that wherever you go, don't give anyone an excuse to question your competence. Read every single day, know everything about your patients, and do all the question banks so that you can show clinical competence when you're getting "pimped" (i.e. quizzed by residents/attendings about medical facts). Try to be the first to show up, the last to leave, and ask smart questions. Because the grading is so subjective, you often have little recourse for appeal, so just do what you can so as not to give someone a reason to doubt you. Blowing up will ALWAYS backfire. If someone employed by the institution behaves in an inappropriate way, the best way to handle that is anonymous (or maybe not anonymous, depending on how serious) feedback at the end of the rotation so that it does not affect your grades. Regardless of race, we all have to suffer a lot of indignities in medicine, unfortunately if this happens to you it will be just one of many.

As for racist patients, that's just less of a concern for me personally. If a patient says they don't want you treating them, just walk out. Less work for you. If you do well in med school you will have the freedom to try to do residency in a place where people have the courtesy to hide their prejudices.

Finally, I think the makeup of the patient population has zero correlation with the prejudices of the staff. There are many physicians and other staff working at hospitals with very diverse patient populations that display contempt for the exact kind of people they serve. I don't think there's any reason to assume that the physicians in Iowa will be less tolerant and understanding than those working in a hospital in the Bronx.
 

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I go to a school in the Midwest and haven't experienced any racism, at least blatantly. I feel that if you work hard, act professional, and are nice you'll be treated well no matter what color you are. My classmates, attendings, and professors have been wonderful and gone out of their way to help when needed. In terms of patients, if you're at a teaching hospital the patients have likely seen a minority doctor before. As long as you're a normal person and show some compassion patients won't care what you look like. They just want to get better.
 
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There is an excellent book called "Forged by the Knife" by Patricia Dawson about her surgery residency. She is an African American woman. Written in 1998, but young POC say it all is still very familiar. It is available at ebay and Amazon
 

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benjee, I don't think the OP was being narrow minded. They just asked a question specific to racism against blacks to which I am interested in any answers as well.

However, as a female entering the field in X amount of years, I am interested in how prevalent sexism is in the fields you mentioned as well. Do you mind expanding?
Don't derail
 

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No matter your background, you will experience discrimination of some kind during your training and professional life. That said, being a minority puts you at higher risk of these events. And it will occur from all angles, even from people who you think are supposed to support you. Regardless of the perpetrator, it is up to you to handle it professionally, and to not let it affect your job performance.

Losing your temper in these situations will get you kicked out of medical school, or fired from your residency. You will have patient complaints against you. You will have people file reports against you. Expect it to occur, recognize it when it does, and deal with it in a professional manner at all times.
 
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Pedsmd2b

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I have had professors and deans alike refuse to help me, outright...a senior dean tell me to "seek out black professors only for help", another Dean ignored my emails, but quickly responded to my white classmates. Several deans have made academic recommendations to me, solely based on my race (I'm black) A professor who literally told me to watch a Nature video on youtube when I asked him for help, and he gave my white classmates detailed instructions for how to do better, so that she didn.'t fail I ended up failing that class because I couldn't get the help I needed, and they are making me repeat the entire year for failing one class BY ONE POINT. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood and went to predominantly white schools, but its been crazy here. One of my friends is a naturalized citizen, originally from Ghana and a professor told her she should quit while she's ahead because she'll never get a residency as an "international student"--which she isn't. I had a white male member in my anatomy lab group physically prevent me from dissecting pretty much every lab session, I complained, and was told I could switch groups the following year, no one ever spoke to him. So, granted its little things, but they add up. And that was just the 1st year.

In addition, they only accept 1-2 URiM students who didn't complete the school's URiM post-bacc program, that is about a 0.3% acceptance rate for outside URiM students compared to 2% acceptance rate for outside white students who didn’t complete their other post-bacc program called ... So it starts before you even get in...tbh ive never felt more defeated in my entire life, to have this **** happen so early on. And yes, I acknowledge they're micro-aggressions, but there have been some other things as well...
 
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I have had professors and deans alike refuse to help me, outright...a senior dean tell me to "seek out black professors only for help", another Dean ignored my emails, but quickly responded to my white classmates. Several deans have made academic recommendations to me, solely based on my race (I'm black) A professor who literally told me to watch a Nature video on youtube when I asked him for help, and he gave my white classmates detailed instructions for how to do better, so that she didn.'t fail I ended up failing that class because I couldn't get the help I needed, and they are making me repeat the entire year for failing one class BY ONE POINT. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood and went to predominantly white schools, but its been crazy here. One of my friends is a naturalized citizen, originally from Ghana and a professor told her she should quit while she's ahead because she'll never get a residency as an "international student"--which she isn't. I had a white male member in my anatomy lab group physically prevent me from dissecting pretty much every lab session, I complained, and was told I could switch groups the following year, no one ever spoke to him. So, granted its little things, but they add up. And that was just the 1st year.

In addition, they only accept 1-2 URiM students who didn't complete the school's URiM post-bacc program, that is about a 0.3% acceptance rate for outside URiM students compared to 2% acceptance rate for outside white students who didn’t complete their other post-bacc program called ... So it starts before you even get in...tbh ive never felt more defeated in my entire life, to have this **** happen so early on. And yes, I acknowledge they're micro-aggressions, but there have been some other things as well...
Just starting the application cycle and have noticed microagressions towards fellow URM applicants from other applicants. I’m sorry this has been your experience this far :(. Do you have any advice on how to handle the added stress as a POC during an already stressful time?
 

MedicineN'Jazz

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I have had professors and deans alike refuse to help me, outright...a senior dean tell me to "seek out black professors only for help", another Dean ignored my emails, but quickly responded to my white classmates. Several deans have made academic recommendations to me, solely based on my race (I'm black) A professor who literally told me to watch a Nature video on youtube when I asked him for help, and he gave my white classmates detailed instructions for how to do better, so that she didn.'t fail I ended up failing that class because I couldn't get the help I needed, and they are making me repeat the entire year for failing one class BY ONE POINT. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood and went to predominantly white schools, but its been crazy here. One of my friends is a naturalized citizen, originally from Ghana and a professor told her she should quit while she's ahead because she'll never get a residency as an "international student"--which she isn't. I had a white male member in my anatomy lab group physically prevent me from dissecting pretty much every lab session, I complained, and was told I could switch groups the following year, no one ever spoke to him. So, granted its little things, but they add up. And that was just the 1st year.

In addition, they only accept 1-2 URiM students who didn't complete the school's URiM post-bacc program, that is about a 0.3% acceptance rate for outside URiM students compared to 2% acceptance rate for outside white students who didn’t complete their other post-bacc program called ... So it starts before you even get in...tbh ive never felt more defeated in my entire life, to have this **** happen so early on. And yes, I acknowledge they're micro-aggressions, but there have been some other things as well...
Wow Im sorry to hear this. I apologize for my earlier post. Is there anyway that you can transfer schools? I too failed a block by a point, but was given a pass
 

teeayejay

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Just starting the application cycle and have noticed microagressions towards fellow URM applicants from other applicants. I’m sorry this has been your experience this far :(. Do you have any advice on how to handle the added stress as a POC during an already stressful time?
The microaggressions are real even at some of the relatively more diverse schools. Some of it is intentional; often, it's not. A lot of it is learned behavior that they don't realize they're doing. The reality is that you have a group of young adults thrown together from across the nation with very different backgrounds at times. I try to go into each interaction with good intentions but I still recognize when things are truly off lol.

This is completely anecdotal but I feel that URM's have to be even more strategic about where we choose to attend medical school. The interview season is extremely important. Be a keen observer of the culture of that medical school. Do you see a fair number of URM's? Can you speak with a URM at least for a few minutes to get their take? Do non-URM students seem nice? Does the faculty seem genuine when they speak with you?

You also must do some introspection prior to choosing schools. How do you handle conflict? Are you heavily affected by what people do and say to you? Have you required more emotional support in the past and do you think you can get that at your institution of choice? Some people might not need the extra support and choose to attend schools where they may feel out of place without it placing too much strain on themselves. Other folks needs that camaraderie.

While in medical school, if you end up not going to an HBCU, seek out people of color in your class that you think can relate to your feelings. If you come across physicians of color through lectures or other experiences, reach out to them and ask them how they've handled situations. Many are extremely approachable and more than willing to talk with students of similar backgrounds.

I think for me, the saving grace has been two classmates who understand exactly where I'm coming from and have experienced similar things. Along the way, I've also met a few residents that I could talk to. It helps tremendously.

TLDR; At the end of the day, the goal is become a physician through the path of least resistance. Don't set yourself up to survive at a Top X school when you could thrive elsewhere and still achieve your goals.

Sidenote: I wonder how the OP's intern year is going lol
 
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If you noticed, certain medical field eg. surgery or neurosurg , female is outnumbered by male too. So , please don't be narrow minded with the thought that only black experienced discrimination, there are others groups of people in society are experiencing of different kind of discrimination even in medical field .
It’s mindblowing to me that you assume the OP is completely ignorant of or disregarding the discrimination encountered by females. I don’t see anywhere in the first post that states ethnic URMs experience worse discrimination than other minority groups. Stop projecting.
 

teeayejay

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It’s mindblowing to me that you assume the OP is completely ignorant of or disregarding the discrimination encountered by females. I don’t see anywhere in the first post that states ethnic URMs experience worse discrimination than other minority groups. Stop projecting.
That comment was from 2013 on an account that hasn't been active since 2016 lol