Question of the Week: Are People of Color Victimized by the Dominant Culture?

Race relationships are better, though there is still plenty of room for improvement.

I don’t live in fear of being lynched, as did many before me, because their courage and deaths changed the law.

Victimization of Blacks



But I still live in fear for my boys because racism is alive and well. It has morphed and is now nuanced. What does that mean?

I never receive the benefit of the doubt like my white colleagues. If I did some of the things my white colleagues have done, I would lose my license. People choose to think the worst of me. I don’t get invited to many parties. I constantly have to prove that I have a functioning brain—let alone an intelligent one. At any moment, some uneducated low-life could call my children nigger, and they could end up falsely imprisoned. Sounds trivial, but imagine having those experiences on a chronic basis. How would you feel then?

Now, let’s add the daily, nuanced reminders of my inferior status. I can handle myself, but it takes a toll, in the form of chronic toxic stress, and it hurts deeply. It has just occurred to me that it is taking a toll on my children! (I need to go easier on them.)

Did you know the infant mortality rate for Michelle Obama’s daughters’ children (or rather successful black women) will be more than twice the infant mortality rate for poor, uneducated white females living on welfare (unless our culture of intolerance changes)? That is stunning and speaks to the deleterious effects of the racism on black women.

In our society, there is a common theme: Everything associated with the black culture is bad, and everything associated with the white culture is good and classy. This is victimization of the black culture, stripping us of social capital. Gaining social capital requires not being black!

“Everything bad is black and everything white is right.” BLACK-WHITE23

I hope my friends do not think they are included in this segment about race. I am simply verbalizing the thoughts and feelings of many racist white people, many of whom are very Liberal. Racism is a systemic, institutionalized problem. For many people of color, success and acceptance mean donning a mask that denigrates their culture.

Wearing that mask made me feel guilty speaking to another black person in public (how crazy is that?). If there were three or more of us, the stares made me feel dirty, as if we were planning some criminal activity.

Why do white people feel uncomfortable when three or more black people are in their midst, but at ease with a rowdy bunch of profane, white teenagers? White teenagers don’t get the stares or the clenching of handbags, nor do I see fear in the eyes of white passerbys. I guess that is white privilege!

Victimization of Blacks

Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

7 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Are People of Color Victimized by the Dominant Culture?

      1. Lynda, I wanted to share my experience in that ER and to really thank that the Security Guard who cared enough to plead with me not to sign out against medical advice (AMA). He went beyond the call of duty. One of my physican friend, who was in a foreign counrty at the time, also intervened. And her husband came in the early in hours of the morning to sit by my side and probably make sure I stayed. 😉 We changed the linen on my Gurney while those nurses watched. How often does that happen? When he left we were told I would be going to a room. Tweleve hours later I was still in the ER in pain.

        The ER was going to allow a head injury patient who required surgery with an untreated BP of 180/118 (and no prior history of high blood pressure) to sign out against medical advice AMA). Never mind that I was soaked in blood or that I was still actively bleeding or that I had no car (I came by ambulance). They didn’t even know if I had money to call a cab or how I was going to get home or where I was going. As long as I signed that AMA form they would be in the clear. But in reality if I had died…I don’t know because the chart would be doctored.

        I would never let a head injury patient leave the emergency room without a full evaluation, no matter how busy my night. To let a middle aged head injury patient with severe high blood pressure, and “confusion” sign out AMA is not the standard of care. They never entaintained the diagnosis of concussion along with my other injuries nor did they do an EKG or a neurologic exam despite the chart stating otherwise.

        Had that Security Guard whose name I don’t know not come to my assistance to plead with me to stay, I might have left before my friend called…I wonder how many people die at the hands of that ER crew ? With technology I hope we will be able to track those things some day.

        The residents and the nurses in the OR and on the floor were super! Unfortunately, they could never make up for the harm done in the ER.

  1. Angela, in my heart of hearts I would like to think you are not victimized by dominant culture. And yet…

    I have lived in Alabama for five years now and realize that although it is no longer in the avenues, nor in the spotlight, racism exists. I could be wrong, but I feel that many of the people that I meet are wearing the new:

    “Cultural Acceptance Mask.” ~Don’t leave home without it~

    But there is an undertone, and from time to time I get it thrown into my face and it shocks me. For instance:

    >>>Recently I went into the hospital for a outpatient procedure and was stunned when the male nurse gave me and another woman a warm blanket. We were freezing! Yet he completely ignored the woman in the bed across from me. Later, another nurse came by and very compassionately spoke to the woman while she covered her with a warm blanket. The nurse was black. This should never have happened. It made me sick to think that these types of scenarios play out every day, mostly unnoticed, because the people who could do something about it, simply don’t care.<<<

    Healing from this cultural rift will take more years than I may possibly see. I lived in California most of my life and believed that we had finally overcome this inequality. Then in collage to become an educator I found out about the different levels of society. I never learned about what it was like to be a child of color (any color other than white) in the 50s. I had to go back and relearn history as an adult. Blacks, Hispanics, Orientals, and even the "Oakies" who traveled into California from the dust bowl were treated as second class.

    We have journeyed so far, and yet there is so much further to go. God bless you for speaking out.

    1. Lynda, The hospital experience you described hits very close to home where I was treated like dirt, even as a doctor. It was the black security guard who saved my life..,
      Lynda., thank you! Sometimes I think I am making a fool of myself but then you or another blogger come along and provide the fuel I need to go on.

      I am glad you spoke out also!


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