Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine, a memoir by Dr. Damon Tweedy, reveals the harsh realities facing black doctors and black patients. Following Tweedy’s matriculation from medical school student to practicing physician, Black Man in a White Coat shines light on dire medical issues in the black community.
Tweedy attributes health disparities to the perpetuation of cultural biases in the medical setting. After being conditioned by professors to believe “being black is bad for your health,” Tweedy manifests a cultural shift in the medical field by becoming a culturally sensitive doctor and agent of social change.
As a black men, Tweedy is greeted with bigotry from his patients and colleagues. Should a black doctor change his ways of practice when a white patient deplores the doctor’s identity? Tweedy shows that it shouldn’t. In fact, he combats racial insensitivities with respect and dignity. He believes doctors should be capable of treating patients from diverse backgrounds. Chester, a white patient, deems Dr. Tweedy incompetent because of his race. He combats bigotry with diligent and competent care, dismantles stereotypes surrounding African-Americans, and gains respect from Chester’s Confederate flag dressed family, despite Chester’s passing.
Dr. Tweedy encompasses everything I wish to be as a doctor. He foreshadowed disparities that will appear as I matriculate into a physician. More importantly, he taught me that health disparities and social injustices can be cured through medicine.