Dr. Tamika Cross, who is an OBGYN in Houston, posted on Facebook last weekend that a Delta flight attendant rejected her offer to help a sick patient and questioned whether she was really a doctor. Dr. Cross is young and black. Another doctor on board was allowed to help. He was older and white. It seems that the world cannot believe that there is a such thing as black women doctors.
I saw this story in my Face Book timeline over the weekend and it just added to my mental fatigue over the continuous racist assaults. No, this hasn’t happened to me personally, but it has still happened to me. Racism affects every person of color. We feel the pain like ripples in the water, wave after wave of injustice stemming from one person to us all. This is why, I Hear That Girl! has committed to empowering our young girls and women. We believe that by showing the diversity of possibilities in Black Women, showing the various perspectives, careers, and beings; the rest of the world will cease marginalizing who we are, what we do, and what we can be.
“You can’t be what you can’t see.” – Dr. Joycelyn Elders
Dr. Cross’ experience highlights a major problem in our society. Currently, only 2% of all physicians are black women. This sobering statistic has real-life implications for the health of our country. Women like Dr. Cross have persevered in medical fields in part by overcoming barriers linked to race and gender. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the first African-American Surgeon General, told me, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”