For all the white people in medicine who are appalled by the recent acts of racial terrorism in the USA that have been brought to light recently, I hears your words of sympathy and outrage.
However, I encourage all white people (and other people of color) reading this to DO something.
We don’t need your tears. We don’t need your sympathy.
We don’t need you to feel sorry for us.
We need you all to use your white privilege for the benefit of all humanity.
So what can you do?
- Call/email the attorney generals in MN, GA, KY and demand that the law enforcement officers involved in the deaths of and subsequent cover ups of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor not only be arrested but convicted of murder. In the case of Arbery, the corrupt law enforcement officers and prosecutors that refused to initially arrest and charge the McMichaels need to be held accountable for their obstruction of justice.
- Contact your politicians and demand that the laws be changed to more easily prosecute and convict law enforcement officers for police brutality and demand that those convicted of police brutality also lose their pensions.
- Donate to organizations that are committed to fighting against police brutality
- Have open and honest discussion with your kids, spouses, family, friends about racism.
- Recognize that racism exists in multiple forms from the shouting of racial slurs, police brutality, to the microaggressions that we experience every single day at work.
- Push for diversity training at work that is led by black people who are experts in diversity training.
- Recognize and fight against racism in medicine that leads to disparity in health outcome for blacks. Push to institute system-wide protocols and polices designed to standardize treatment.
- If you are a medical director, make sure that all complaints that you receive about black doctors, black residents, and black medical students are grounded in objective facts and don’t consists of “they intimidate me”, “they are unapproachable”, “they make me feel uncomfortable”.
- Continue to educate yourself about racism in America. Realize that it is exhausting for black people to have to educate you all about this. You can start by listening to The1619 Project done by the New York Times. It is an excellent summary of the 400-year history of blacks in America.
- Realize that it is the responsibility of the oppressors to end the oppression.
Stephanie E. Freeman, MD, MBA