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Dr. Benjamin S. "Ben" Carson, Sr., M.D. is an African-American neurosurgeon and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.
He may not be Functional Neurosurgeon but he is an inspiration that it can be done and obtain global recognition. Check out the book "Gifted Hands".
Stay in the Fight!
 

The Poet Sings

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Have any of you experienced this or heard about any incidents?

My fear of this seems to be weighing heavily on my specialty choice, and it bothers me. I am extremely interested in Functional Neurosurgery, but my mother told me to go into something "simple", because "no one is going to let a black doctor perform that type of brain surgery on them."

Has the fear of this affected you in any way?
your mom grew up in a different time. nowadays most people just want the best care they can get, no matter the color of the person providing it (as long as said person is themselves also respectful of people of various colors!). don't choose a path you'd be unhappy in, because that'd just make you miserable and not a good doctor at all. and then nobody of any color would want to see you!
 

divajai

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I agree. I have read Benjamin Carson's book and he is an inspiration. But as a minority in this country you'll still probably experience racism. I just doubt it will be as prevalent as back in our parents time. I think you'll be fine.



Dr. Benjamin S. "Ben" Carson, Sr., M.D. is an African-American neurosurgeon and the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins.
He may not be Functional Neurosurgeon but he is an inspiration that it can be done and obtain global recognition. Check out the book "Gifted Hands".
Stay in the Fight!
 

Apollyon

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There was a black female neurosurgery resident when I was a resident (at a very prestigious private North Carolina medical center, with 4 letters in the name - I say that because there's this ******* here on SDN who thinks I say it too much, irrespective of context or validity).
 

PunkmedGirl

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There was a black female neurosurgery resident when I was a resident (at a very prestigious private North Carolina medical center, with 4 letters in the name - I say that because there's this ******* here on SDN who thinks I say it too much, irrespective of context or validity).

What exactly is your point for pointing in this thread??
 

SFO-IST

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The OP is thinking of neurosurgery, and her mother is dissuading it. I pointed out that it is not unprecedented, and at a quite high-powered place (that is, a black female neurosurgeon). How was that not clear to you?
I think she's talking about the latter half of your statement where you were insulting someone.
 

TriagePreMed

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I try to look at it on the bright side. If you're employed at a hospital and someone doesn't want you treating them because you're black, you'll get a brake that entire time instead of having to go into surgery.

Gotta always make the best of a best situation!

But anyhow, I doubt you'll run into problems. Very few people have a choice on who operates on them and even those that are racist usually keep it to themselves.

Then again you could just move to NY or SF and nobody will notice.
 

PunkmedGirl

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The OP is thinking of neurosurgery, and her mother is dissuading it. I pointed out that it is not unprecedented, and at a quite high-powered place (that is, a black female neurosurgeon). How was that not clear to you?
Pointing=Insult..my bad.

And your post was an incomplete sentence that ran into a insult. No, post wasn't clear at all.
 

PunkmedGirl

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Lady, there will ALWAYS be some jerk in the crowd trying to make people lives miserable (possibly more so for minorities) you just have to keep your chin up and keep it pushing.

Good Luck!!!!:D
 
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Go for your dreams, Lady! Your mom probably only wants the best for you and doesn't want to see you hurt, but unfortunately she's perpetuating the racist attitudes she's trying to protect you from by saying no one wants a black female neurosurgeon so you may as well do something "simpler". By shying away from a difficult specialty you'd be furthering the notion that it's not normal for black women to be in those specialties - we need to establish a new normal. By going for the specialty you're most passionate about you'll not only open a lot of doors for yourself, but you'll open them for others as well.
 
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LadyMD2b

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Lady, there will ALWAYS be some jerk in the crowd trying to make people lives miserable (possibly more so for minorities) you just have to keep your chin up and keep it pushing.

Good Luck!!!!:D
:thumbup::thumbup::)
 
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LadyMD2b

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Go for your dreams, Lady! Your mom probably only wants the best for you and doesn't want to see you hurt, but unfortunately she's perpetuating the racist attitudes she's trying to protect you from by saying no one wants a black female neurosurgeon so you may as well do something "simpler". By shying away from a difficult specialty you'd be furthering the notion that it's not normal for black women to be in those specialties - we need to establish a new normal. By going for the specialty you're most passionate about you'll not only open a lot of doors for yourself, but you'll open them for others as well.
You have a point. I guess I wouldn't have the opportunity I have now if it weren't for those brave enough to go after their dreams.

U guys have given me a lot to think about.... Thanks! :)
 

tkim

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There was a black female neurosurgery resident when I was a resident (at a very prestigious private North Carolina medical center, with 4 letters in the name - I say that because there's this ******* here on SDN who thinks I say it too much, irrespective of context or validity).
He got banned.
 

Dartmouth2005

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I agree. I have read Benjamin Carson's book and he is an inspiration. But as a minority in this country you'll still probably experience racism. I just doubt it will be as prevalent as back in our parents time. I think you'll be fine.
While I can't speak to medicine, I've noticed that there is an element of racism in the legal profession. I think there is a chance that some of this will carry over to medicine. In particular, I am thinking of another attorney who questioned whether I was the author of a particular brief because it was too good to have been written by me. I can think of another instance too.

Good luck with your stuff.
 
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LadyMD2b

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While I can't speak to medicine, I've noticed that there is an element of racism in the legal profession. I think there is a chance that some of this will carry over to medicine. In particular, I am thinking of another attorney who questioned whether I was the author of a particular brief because it was too good to have been written by me. I can think of another instance too.

Good luck with your stuff.
Wow. I've had things like that happen to me. It's discouraging but also motivating at the same time. It's weird; I can't explain it. :shrug:
 
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Wow. I've had things like that happen to me. It's discouraging but also motivating at the same time. It's weird; I can't explain it. :shrug:

Medicine is full of racism top to bottom, San Francisco to Mississippi. Subtle most of it, but no less prevalent.

I am a mid thirties caucasian male M-1. Everyone assumes I'm a professor, an attending, or some generalized authority figure. (I know. It's just the burden I have to carry.)

Well, for my white brother's and sister's with the one black friend. This might be hard to picture. So to put intellectually. There must be the other side of the binary assumption that I am some person of authority. And that is my opposite in assumptive appearance is someone of lowly status in the professioanl hierarchy. And so on.

To the OP. I have been a patient to a neurosurgeon. There's just no comparison when seeing the one specialist in town to other fields. You feel like your getting in to see a head of state. Do not think that one field or another will make subtle forms of racism less. Being to the go to doc for everyone elses's n-surg referrals might actually make it better for you. People might be less proned to let their biases project on you if you're the person who wields the scalpel that separates them form some other horrible fate.

Good luck.
 

Twizzler

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Usually not from patients. Although, I was a surgery resident in a private practice office in suburban Detroit and an older Greek patient asked me what part of Africa I was from. I'm 3rd generation American, with great grandparents from South America and obvious American accent.

I was doing a rotation at a community hospital in Virginia during med school and the attendings kept asking me if I had children. I didn't think too much of it, but after the 3rd time, I was like do you think black women have a bunch of babies???

You'll get it more from the other attendings you work with than from patients. Younger people, probably 30s-50s, are much less race conscious. Pick whatever specialty you want, just choose the right program. Maybe programs that have more attendings who are in their 30s-50s.
 

2012mdc

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Usually not from patients. Although, I was a surgery resident in a private practice office in suburban Detroit and an older Greek patient asked me what part of Africa I was from. I'm 3rd generation American, with great grandparents from South America and obvious American accent.

I was doing a rotation at a community hospital in Virginia during med school and the attendings kept asking me if I had children. I didn't think too much of it, but after the 3rd time, I was like do you think black women have a bunch of babies???

You'll get it more from the other attendings you work with than from patients. Younger people, probably 30s-50s, are much less race conscious. Pick whatever specialty you want, just choose the right program. Maybe programs that have more attendings who are in their 30s-50s.
Most of the patients I see are black (Grady Health System in ATL) so I haven't had too much exposure to white patients outside of 3 weeks down in rural Georgia. Down there I would get some puzzled looks when introduced by my preceptor or when they looked at my name tag; I have an Arabic name and look mixed so I figured the "where are you from?" questions to be genuine curiosity/confusion and not subtle racism. In my experiences so far it seems that patients of all races respect the white coat especially when you treat them with respect and have confidence in what you are doing. Then again the majority of the patient pop have I dealt with are under-served and economically disadvantaged so I haven't had too many experiences with the stereotypical "high-maintenance" private insurance patient.