WE will not be silenced. WE demand justice. I am a black woman; full of determination, passion, unwavering faith, strength and courage.
I kneel in solidarity. As it has been repeated time and time again, “It is clear that police brutality against black men and women is a significant public health emergency.“ As a health professional we must fight for all people and address these horrific atrocities that are taking place on a daily basis. I wanted to reflect on how important it is for us as women to stand up for ourselves. To speak when others don’t expect you to speak. Or when speaking often makes you look like in the eyes of others as the stereotyped complainer or angry black woman that can “never just be happy.” We still speak.
Being in the 4%
I am in the 4% of black female physicians. What does it mean to be black in society? Being black means, you can’t fail. If you do, then others will justify your failure as if it’s inherent or expected. You have to be better than the best of your colleagues. Proving you belong and not just viewed as a requirement for diversity in your organization. You work tirelessly de-identifying from the negative stereotypes placed on you, yet you see others embracing your black culture as “cool” when it suits them. You have to educate others on how to treat you without being viewed as aggressive. If you’re not smiling, maybe “something is wrong?”
I know that this may come to a shock to many people but these are just a few of the inner conversations that are going on in many of our minds from day to day. Now more than ever I have learned how to stand up for myself. They don’t teach any of this in residency or medical school. How do you prepare to treat someone who hates the color of your skin or gasps in awe when you walk into a room and you are not the assumed nurse, tech or janitorial staff (of course nothing is wrong with these careers but the assumption you are immediately one or the other is a problem).
When I stand boldly and say “I am your doctor.” This is the most gratifying feeling and an honor to serve others in my profession to the best of my ability. However, I have learned before, during and after having a white coat, there is racism & injustice. These are two very different words that people use interchangeably in the wrong ways.
It’s Time to Reflect
I encourage all that read this to reflect on what it means to advocate for me and my other sisters and brothers. Are you on the sidelines waiting on the change to unfold? Are you finding out more about your own racial biases and tendencies towards injustice in the way you may act or respond to people of color? Are you educating yourself about what it is like to be our skin? I hope so. I believe a change will come, but you must understand there are chains of injustice that have been tightened around my fellow black Americans for centuries, and the only way to break them is to stand with us in solidarity not just in times of convenience.
Dr. Amanda Mohammed, MD is a practicing Family Medicine Physician in Dallas, Texas. She enjoys traveling, visiting local coffee shops, volunteering, photography and live music. You can follow her on Instagram @dr.mandamo.