Racism or Preference? (G-uno)

So yesterday my neighbor called me a racist! I was so stunned by her words that I would have to equate the feeling to having been slapped in the face. It took me a few seconds before I was able to respond. I have a great deal of respect for her opinion on a wide variety of subjects so I Β stood there considering if there was any validity to what she had said.

I live in a neighborhood where neighbors still chat with one another. Especially those of us who have been here for over 20 years, and have raised our families together. It’s very common for us to be out working in our yards and to take a moment to stop and talk about how things have been going. I will admit to you that there are many new neighbors who I have not really taken the time to get to know. Yesterday’s chat started out with another neighbors health issues, and knowing that I spend a great deal of time dealing with doctors my neighbor asked me to recommend a doctor who I thought would be most suitable for her very reluctant husband.

I recommended one of my most favorite” Dr. G.” She looked at me, and commented that the last doctor I had recommended to her was also from India. I smiled, and told her that my primary, obstetrics/gynecologist, and my gastrologist were all from India. She then asked me if I had purposely chosen Indian physicians? Smiling again I told her that I did actually have a preference for Indian doctors, Indian people and most definitely Indian food. She asked why Indian doctors? I told her that in my experience doctors from India practice medicine from the standpoint of including not only the physical aspect of a person, but also their spiritual health. I find them to be much warmer, more personal in their bedside manner. Her face wrinkled sternly and she said “That’s a very racist thing to say!”

As I stated earlier I was very stunned by her accusation, and it took me a bit to respond. I finally said “No not racism just a personal preference!” I asked her if she was still seeing the primary I had recommended and she said “Yes I am.”Β Β So then I asked her why? She said that she felt he was a very good doctor.” I asked her if she liked his bedside manner?” This time her tone was a little more sharp “Yes, I like his bedside manner, but not just because he is from India!” So then I replied “Oh I know that you just prefer the way he practices medicine.” πŸ˜‰

17 thoughts on “Racism or Preference? (G-uno)

  1. Are you Indian? Might make a difference in how bloggers respond if they know your cultural background. Saludos

    1. I don’t really see how its relevant, actually. I’ve actually noticed much the same where I am as well. It may be a cultural difference, a racial one, or just complete freaking coincidence, but whenever I have gone to an Indian doctor (I have a mixed variety bag myself) I’ve always felt like I was taken more seriously when I have a problem, especially one I’m having trouble verbalizing. They were more likely to take notes, ask questions, and look me in the eye.

      I suppose if there was a racist element, it would be one against those of my own country. Most of the time, and this has been male and female American-born doctors in a variety of shades, shapes and races, I see this look on their face that just seems to say “what can I tell or prescribe this person to get them out of here fastest?” They are barely listening, in a hurry, checking their watch, their phone or beeper and distracted. They probably could not tell me the color of my hair, let alone anything I said. Not all, of course, but enough of a majority it becomes pretty standard experience.

      However, that tells me it has less to do with any race or culture, but a shitty way Americans relate to one another. We just don’t slow down enough to try to give a crap.

      Mind you that’s just personal experience and an average at that. My most “spiritual” doctor would actually be my chiropractor and he’s as stereotypical white male American as it gets.

      1. Well said. I currently have a Sri Lankan-born female family doctor and she is by far the sweetest, smiley-ist warm family doctor I’ve had. She’s also the first to inquire on the “bigger picture” at home, taking into account my mental health issues and actually writing things I say into her computer so she can refer back to my life’s details to better serve my health needs.

        Just a thought: Indian people traditionally value the family/ extended family as opposed to placing more value on the individual. Maybe your Indian doctors have approached their practice as more of an “extended family”.

        Food for thought. Great post πŸ™‚

  2. Ohhhhhh that’s such a tricky subject. Outside of dictionary definitions, racialism and racism are often used as discrete terms (racialism = believing that races have specific characteristics and are therefore separate from each other; racism = acting on that belief/theory). And then people start discussing positive and negative racism and affirmative action and whether positive racism is okay or not and the dialogue continues until everyone’s head explodes.

    (I live in South Africa, where race is still always under discussion and dissection.)

    So, one could argue your example either way. My advice? Unless you actively want a discussion about racism, step riiiiiiight away from it. Positive racism as good or bad, is a concept that is unlikely to ever achieve resolution. Either that, or adopt a slightly outraged facial expression and say, “Racism?! No way, it’s affirmative action!” (That is the official terms for some populations where redress is being made for past bigotry and prejudice.) (You probably know all this anyway, I just can’t help myself … *grin*)

    Either way, you’re doing something that most of us do, with zero malice aforethought.

    1. ugh BP, I think the South and SA have quite a bit in common in regard to racism, we still have quite a bit of the same here. πŸ™‚

      Though “affirmative action” has gotten to be a dirty word here referring “mostly” to fastlaning specifically women into positions usually dominated by men to instill a more even spread.

      I hate affirmative action… I get and understand what’s it trying to do and I’m glad we’ve all acknowledged we suck about being equal in job placement, I just think its a very bad method of going about it. All too often, someone just completely unqualified is pushed into a position they cannot handle yet. It’s like setting them up for failure. Or those who are qualified are treated like the spoiled princess because no one will acknowledge they actually earned it. It’s a double-edged sword of bad idea, I guess.

    2. LOL Excellent point with a whopping side order of excellent advice! Waving the affirmative action flag. I will have to humbly accept the term by dictionary standards, and wave the protest flag for the fact that I also have excellent doctors who are not from India who I like, and have equal respect for the way they run their practices. Slippery slope indeed! So if I decide to go out for dinner, and I express my preference for a certain ethnic food according to the dictionary I am being a racist.(Grinning) Well that’s certainly food for thought. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for weighing in on the subject I think you are spot on and as always I value your opinion! G-uno

      1. Ih well now LOL … you can say “I feel like some Thai food,” but not, “Thai food is better than all other food that originates from specific national or cultural populations.” I know it’ll be tough to avoid making the latter statement, but just do your best. And if you REALLY want to shut someone up, a withering look and, “well of course the unpacking of white privilege is an ongoing thing, with many unseen ramifications.” There is actually no comeback if you declare that sort of thing. So intellectual. So evolved. So boring after the 100th time you have the conversation.

        It does interest me to some extent, both here and in the UK. Brits (and I am one) are incredibly loath to admit to any prejudice at all, ever.

        Blah blah blahhhhhh … I’ll stfu on the subject now *grin*

      2. yeah, I was about to say, Thai food IS the best ever when made my G-uno’s mom. She is epic incarnate. πŸ™‚

        heh, I like BP’s methods… unfortunately in the worst cases, I would also have to carry a thesaurus to explain anything over two syllables. Education and racism seem to be BFF’s still.

        That diversity class I mentioned, we had a student who utilized the Token Ethnic Friend anytime she wanted to make a really stupid point. I… was…. well, let’s just say my classmates kind of watched the proceedings like a most watch tennis. She even tried to have me booted from class more than once for harassing her. I got an A, she failed πŸ™‚

  3. Ahem. I lied. Just one more thing … your friend would also need a comprehensive breakdown of medical professionals and their origins in your area, plus a nice pie chart. No point getting pissy about preferences without being able to back it up.

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