Do you believe you have ever been discriminated against based on looks/ethnicity

miamorcita2008

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Apr 23, 2008
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I am a Mexican-American woman who is thinking about attending Dental School in the future. The problem is that I may not be your average applicant. In June of 2005, when I was in the Marine Corps, I was injured by a car bomb in Fallujah, Iraq. The accident left me with third degree burns on my hands, nose, eyes, lips. I look pretty normal with the exception of my hands which can cause quite a few heads to stare at me, which is quite discomforting. I fear that my physical appearance combined with my ethnicity and gender will detract from my academic accomplishments. I am aware that appearance matters in society and thus concerned. I would like your honest opinions. Thank you.
 

solar3000

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Feb 25, 2008
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Pre-Medical
I think there is always a possibility for being discriminated againts your background but I would like to think that the chances of this happening would be small. I am mexican and I do get a little worried about this happening to me not just in school and getting good grades but when I go to job interviews there is always this small thought on the back of your head thinking "what if they think I can't do the job because I am Mexican.."
I know my nationality (not race) doesn't affect how capable I am to perform at the same level or even better than other people. This is especially something I think about whenever I have a job interview and they don't call me back or I receive a letter saying "we found someone better for the job" I end up wondering if my nationality had anything to do with it.
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that you never know if you are going to be discriminated against not just in school but anywhere else. My thought would be that most people (especially on school settings) are more open minded and therefore I don't think you would be discrimated againts your background.

As for your hands, (sorry to hear what happened to you) I really doubt the burns on your hand is going to affect you at all. I wouldn't worry so much about what people think because I know for a fact I wouldn't really think anything negative about you just because you have that issue.
In general I wouldn't worry either about being discirminated againts your backgound because I most people don't care about your background. Just be really prepared to be competitive and show that you can do the job. Good luck.
 

Blesbok

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Sep 27, 2007
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I am going to be blatantly honest with you and I don't mean any offense, but if you hands are injured enough to draw stares, dentistry may not be the profession for you. The problem being not that you are unable to care for your patients, but remember that you are going to be putting your hands in people's mouths all day. If they are uncomfortable with your hands, I could see it having a major effect on your future career.
 

PunkmedGirl

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Nov 23, 2007
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I am going to be blatantly honest with you and I don't mean any offense, but if you hands are injured enough to draw stares, dentistry may not be the profession for you. The problem being not that you are unable to care for your patients, but remember that you are going to be putting your hands in people's mouths all day. If they are uncomfortable with your hands, I could see it having a major effect on your future career.

I'm not an expert but I believe most dentist wear gloves well at least the ones I've been to. And because her hands are scarred doesn't mean they are unclean. That statement kinds says to me something other than about the physical aspect of her condition.
 

Blesbok

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I'm not an expert but I believe most dentist wear gloves well at least the ones I've been to. And because her hands are scarred doesn't mean they are unclean. That statement kinds says to me something other than about the physical aspect of her condition.
I never said they were unclean, nor am I implying that. What I am saying is that if her hands are not just scarred, but disfigured enough that people stare at them, the same is going to apply to having them put in their mouth. Like I said, I am not trying to be mean, just something to think about with society being the way that it is.
 

Dr43

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Apr 23, 2008
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I'm pretty sure that she is going to be able to decide herself whether or not her hands are disfigured enough to prevent her from practicing dentistry. If the problem is completely aesthetic, with no impaired functionality, you have nothing to worry about. And on the topic of you sex and ethnicity, if anything, they work to your advantage. Women, especially Mexican-American women are grossly underrepresented in the profession. Good luck on your applications!
 

solar3000

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Feb 25, 2008
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I'm pretty sure that she is going to be able to decide herself whether or not her hands are disfigured enough to prevent her from practicing dentistry. If the problem is completely aesthetic, with no impaired functionality, you have nothing to worry about. And on the topic of you sex and ethnicity, if anything, they work to your advantage. Women, especially Mexican-American women are grossly underrepresented in the profession. Good luck on your applications!

I don't think being underrepresented is an advantage like people make it sound to be. The one thing I would like everyone to know is that I got there because of my efforts, I know most of us who are 'underrepresented' knows that we don't have a big advantage over a white person.
I went to school on my own efforts and not even with any kind of scholarship and yes, I have been lacking money all my life and my grades were ok. The last thing I want to happen is to have people think I am where I am because I happen to be "brown" and not my efforts.

Back to topic, I think you need to work extra hard to show that you are capable of doing a good job and not worry about being discriminated againts because of your background..just show you are better than the rest.
 

dancinRN1022

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Jun 27, 2007
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I don't think being underrepresented is an advantage like people make it sound to be. The one thing I would like everyone to know is that I got there because of my efforts, I know most of us who are 'underrepresented' knows that we don't have a big advantage over a white person.
I went to school on my own efforts and not even with any kind of scholarship and yes, I have been lacking money all my life and my grades were ok. The last thing I want to happen is to have people think I am where I am because I happen to be "brown" and not my efforts.

Back to topic, I think you need to work extra hard to show that you are capable of doing a good job and not worry about being discriminated againts because of your background..just show you are better than the rest.
hello..
i don't think you should really care what others think...if u were accepted to a school...you were accepted because of whatever reason that adcom had at that time...of course u r qualified and got there on your efforts because they would never accept someone who they feel can't succeed...but some ppl may think otherwise but in the end it doesn't matter...u don't have anything to prove to anyone just work really hard and succeed once you get into school...

as for the op... of course ppl will stare and it may make some ppl uncomfortable but in the end u r a hero who clearly understands how to overcome...pain, struggles and fear...and who knows how to adapt to horrible situations and can overcome anything... i think the ppl who matter will look at your hands and your story in that light...and for those who see it otherwise...their opinion of you doesn't matter anyway... there may be a few patients who will judge you...but most ppl won't...and i bet if u r smart...intelligent...and caring...some of those ppl who initially judged you will start to think otherwise...

good luck appying to school...
 

Dr43

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Apr 23, 2008
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Regardless of what you want other people to think (who cares by the way?) being underrepresented is an advantage. its a fact.
 

solar3000

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Feb 25, 2008
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Pre-Medical
Regardless of what you want other people to think (who cares by the way?) being underrepresented is an advantage. its a fact.

if it was an advantage..why are we underrepresented on the first place?

I really doubt that such "advantage" is big anyway. It could be a very VERY small advantage in which you as an "underrepresented person" still have to prove that you have what it takes, just like everybody else.