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ClinSoc stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Student experiences of racism

The Black Lives Matter movement has highlighted just how profound an impact racism can have on a person. Ranging from comments about hair texture to overt racism by patients. We would like to collect student accounts of racism they have experienced within clinical environments (including the clinical school), which will be anonymised to collate onto an ‘experiences’ page on the ClinSoc website. We hope that experiences in the context of teaching and work environments that we all recognise, will make us all more aware of the insidious ways in which racism and racial inequalities can manifest in the clinical school. We welcome any and as many experiences as possible. If you have not been subject to, but have witnessed, racism please also share this (we will keep these responses separate).

The stories displayed below are the result of an ongoing call for students to share their experiences of racism and prejudice in the Clinical School and clinical practice. If you have an experience to share, please use this form or get in touch with any member of the Committee.

Once, I was asked by a patient whose blood I'd been asked to take: 'should you be here?' When I asked him to elaborate, he said 'you don't belong here.' When I corrected him that I was a medical student, soon to become a doctor with the ability and power to treat people like him, he scoffed and told me he didn't believe me. At the time I took it in my jovial yet defensive stride (because how else can you sustainably cope with repeated comments like these?), but these things really do stick with you.

Being told 'your English is very good!' on multiple occasions, as if I should take it as a compliment, rather than an ignorant comment formed on poor assumptions. I often respond with 'yes, it's because I was born and raised here', and hope that settles the conversation.

Being asked 'where are you from?' on multiple occasions, and when given the answer of 'Devon', them responding with 'no no, where are you ACTUALLY from?', a question phrased to reveal their ignorance. Sometimes, this comes with 'oh, I have a friend from China!' I've found this to be degrading on many occasions, where the feeling is that you are being treated as a novel object, as someone whose identity can be judged based on their race, rather than another multifaceted human being. Sometimes, people are just curious and looking for open discussions; but it's hard not to immediately become defensive with such an opening question.