Last week, early in the morning, I was picking up a colleague of mine on my way to work. We are both doctors in NYC. As I was waiting for her, a person walked by my car, looked in, and called me a f****** n*****. This word I despise. This was not the first time that I have been called a n***** and unfortunately I doubt it will be the last. As you can imagine this was not a great start to my morning, nonetheless I continued on and tried to do my best at work despite hearing such an overt aggression towards me and those of my race. There are many people who take one look at us and immediately think the worst and that is not right. This is something that people of color have always had to deal and struggle with, and this prejudice and implicit bias affects so much in our daily lives.
I was able to peacefully protest a few days later with my husband and mother. I am so thankful for their support. Doing this and seeing others give support gave me a bit more hope for the future our world holds. It was a good end to a particularly difficult week. It is obvious that we as a country and society have much more work to do.
I’m hoping the increased awareness will help people to realize racism is present in our everyday lives, and how intricately woven it is in our history. If people take the step to acknowledge how they may be prejudiced and biased instead of immediately being uncomfortable when anything about racism is mentioned, we all can change for the better. If someone of color or a marginalized group tells you that something is wrong or offensive, listen and think as to why they are saying so. The only way forward to is to listen to others and try to educate ourselves for the better.