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True Life: My Doctor Made Derogatory Remarks About My Natural Hair — Twice

Avatar • May 7, 2014

gamergirl
By Taisha Feldhaus

When you go to the doctor you expect many things: sitting in a waiting room thumbing through old magazines, getting your blood pressure taken, maybe having to put on one of those hideous gowns. But you probably don’t expect to have your doctor make fun of your hair. However, last year this happened to me.

I was wearing a braid‐out, one of my normal go‐to styles, when I went to see my rheumatologist. Nothing earth‐shattering or especially risqué. My doctor came in, looked at my hair, and made a comment about me looking like I was struck by lightning. I certainly felt like I had been because I was so taken aback that he would say something like that.

You may wonder what scathing denunciation I came up with to make him wish he hadn’t opened his mouth, but unfortunately I was so shocked by his behavior that I just sat there like an idiot. My mind went completely blank and I spent the rest of the appointment uncomfortable and feeling more and more insulted by the second.

There aren’t very many rheumatologists in my area (at least ones who are good at their jobs) so I was faced with several choices: leaving my condition untreated, putting up with his behavior, or saying something to him about it.

Weeks later, before I’d figured out what to do, I had another follow‐up appointment and I’m ashamed to say that I put my hair in a ponytail as a stalling tactic so he would have nothing to comment on and I would have more time to come up with something as a response in case it happened again. And I was wrong. He again made fun of my hair. Apparently ponytails are targets for derision as well. I was pissed now, really pissed, which is exactly why I didn’t react at that moment. Responding in anger and without forethought would have made me look bad, not him. So I was still facing the same decision minus one option: there was no way I could keeping going to him and letting him get away with it.

So what happened? The story isn’t over yet because I haven’t had another appointment. But it’s inevitable and now I don’t want to avoid it because I feel strongly that he needs to know that his behavior has been way out of line.
I’ve tried out various replies in my head, but it seems like this is a time to come up with a thoughtful answer. I don’t mean thoughtful as in considerate, I mean thoughtful as in what I say will matter and may affect how he sees black hair in the future.

My last pretend conversation with him has me saying “Do you have a problem with African‐American hair?” and letting him respond. Because I’ve been going to him for several years I have a feeling that he honestly doesn’t know how offensive he’s being. He thinks he’s being funny (he’s not). It’s my hope that saying something to let him know that his comments about my hair texture are racist will wake him up to pay attention to his attitude and his words. If it doesn’t, I have decided that I will have to search for treatment options elsewhere.

So, what would you say if your doctor made a derogatory comment about your hair out of left field?

Taisha Feldhaus is a natural hair and gaming enthusiast. You can find her on Instagram @naturalgamergirl.

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Dananana
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Dananana

OOOHHHH! I felt my blood boiling before I even finished the article. If it were me, I’d have a terrible time not responding immediately out of anger, so kudos to the author for keeping her cool. If it were me, and by some miracle I could respond calmly, I’d probably say something like this: “The past few times I’ve come to visit you, you’ve made remarks about my hair. I found them offensive, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that other patients in my demographic would as well. Please avoid any further commentary on my appearance. I’m here… Read more »

Taisha
Guest

Hi, this is why posting articles like this is so helpful, you came up with a much better response than I would have thought of on my own! The wording is clear, concise and mature. I really like it. Maybe I’ll just print this out and read it. 😉

Dananana
Guest
Dananana

I’m so glad I could help! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I really feel like these kinds of issues–the day to day discomforts and rude microaggressions that we all deal with (and are told to ignore), really should be discussed more.

Ebonydoll1973
Guest

I’m assuming that your Dr is NOT Black, nor has he been around too many Blacks. I’m sure your Dr was trying (failing miserably) to be friendly or break the ice. I’m sure he wasn’t being malicious—-he’s clearly ignorant when it comes to our hair. I find that many people that are of other races don’t know what to say to Blacks at first meeting. I know. They should treat us like any other person. But understand, many are nervous around Blacks, and will often blurt out stupidity in the guise of being friendly. Years ago, one of my co‐workers… Read more »

Deb
Guest
Deb

here we go making excuses for non black people being a‐holes to us.…your reply is disturbing.

Ebonydoll1973
Guest

I’m sorry we disagree on this subject. But sometimes “we” can be waay too sensitive about the smallest things. We want to kick up a fuss about every little comment or glance from non‐Blacks. And we wonder why Blacks have the highest percentage of high blood pressure than any other race. Black are far too reactionary. We are constantly ready for battle — even when its unnecessary. Was he unkind to her? Did he make racial slurs? What would her reaction be if the Dr was Black? Would she be as upset about the comment if the Dr was Black?… Read more »

flouncingtart
Guest
flouncingtart

Please stop telling people that their feelings aren’t valid and that they’re overreacting in potentially racial‐charged situations. Even if the doctor didn’t understand why what he said was out of order, it’s still wrong. This is exactly why Taisha was afraid to say anything to her doctor. I’m not even sure why you’re talking about black people overreacting when the problem here is that she didn’t react; she kept her feelings inside because that’s what we’re told to do lest we come off as angry black stereotypes. Taisha wrote about her problem because she wanted advice about how to handle… Read more »

ziggy
Guest
ziggy

@Ebonydoll1973: Yes, there are some people that are too combative. They often act on emotions while all rational, logic or reason are thrown out the window. But this author not seem to be one of those people so let’s focus on helping her deal with the situation since it is obviously plaguing her mind. Now, let’s entertain this idea of yours regarding the this doctor being a comic? Does this make his actions acceptable? Especially if it becomes a continuous thing for him? I think he should be put in his place but in a diplomatic manner rather than attacking… Read more »

steph
Guest
steph

I understand your point but I don’t think she should let it go. Differences are not something to be laughed at and pointed out as if we are children on the playground. We are adults, with manners and the ability to have tact. He is a medical professional and doesn’t realize that his “bedside manner” is inappropriate. He apparently has a fascination with her hair, since it doesn’t matter what she does to it. So this is the perfect educational opportunity.

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

That is incredibly rude, he clearly hasn’t taken a refresher course on bedside manner. I definitely support you bringing his out‐of‐line comments to his attention and not just asking but *telling* him to keep them to himself, whether he thinks they’re funny or not. Certainly the comment above has a good suggestion for response if you’re still working out the wording for yourself.

Nina
Guest
Nina

You can simply state ” my hair is none of your business”. It’s simple and to the point.

nylse
Guest

Unlike the author I would have asked, why are do you say that? the first time and listen to his response. I never assume ignorance until you open your mouth and make it clear. Depending on the response, I would then school him gently, hopefully eliminating the comment about my ponytail on the 2nd visit. Now all this stuff is going through your head. It may not be as big a deal as you anticipate. No need to plan a response, but also no need to be angry until you hear what he really thinks. You’re not representing the natural… Read more »

Lindsey
Guest
Lindsey

He’s already confirmed his ignorance twice by making any sort of comment on her appearance given that their relationship is a professional one, not personal. Moreover, he is an educated adult–he does not need gentle schooling like a child who has made an error. If she chooses to confront him, she should not have to handle him with kid gloves because he is a grown man, with the mental capacity to receive a medical degree no less. She already gave him a social cue that how he approached her was inappropriate by her lack of laughter or agreement the first… Read more »

Ivicoco
Guest
Ivicoco

I don’t know..I think if I had comments like that I would simply laugh it off, unless I was having a reeeally bad day..then I would snap, or point something out about them that seemed “odd”. But I don’t tend to take offence when it comes to my natural hair, I like it and it’s someone elses problem if they don’t.

Belle
Guest
Belle

You can tell him in a calm manner how the comments he made during your last two visits made you feel. Be very calm with your approach, I usually find that the person who gets angry is usually seen as the aggressor even if they are the offended party. Be very firm and tell him that you would rather he doesn’t comment on your hair or anything personal when it comes to you. This is a business relationship and you would appreciate it staying like that. Don’t let this obviously socially incompetent person get you out of character and angry.

Taisha
Guest

Hi Belle,

I agree with your approach as well, because it’s been said that making “I” statements saying how you feel instead of “you” statements like ‘you did this etc’ tend to be heard better. My goal would be for a positive outcome and to be heard and understood so that the professional relationship can proceed in a better place if possible. Thanks for your ideas.

momofIV
Guest
momofIV

Aside from his ignorant comments, if you still enjoy going to him, then I think you should let him know how his remarks make you feel. His remarks are very unprofessional and he obviously doesn’t understand tact or proper bedside manner. If his behavior continues, then report him to the medical board for his racist and derogatory comments. For myself, I wouldn’t mind driving an extra distance to see a doctor if it meant having a good rapport with him/her during visits.
Best wishes to you and God bless

Taisha
Guest

Thank you so much for the good wishes!

Joanne
Guest
Joanne

I am a doctor who has natural hair. I have had several instances in the past where patients have made comments like: oh you look like Lauren hill! or you remind me of that girl from Pirates from the Caribbean. I wish I said that I replied with something sharp and informative but I didn’t. You should write a letter. Concise. Informative and without anger that expresses to him you feelings. That will take the stress out of confronting him in person. All medical offices should have a complaint process. If he values you as his patient, he would feel… Read more »

Taisha
Guest

Hi Joanne,

Wow your perspective as a doctor is extremely helpful! And it’s eye‐opening for me to read that you experience patients making comments about your hair. I hate confrontation and the fact that I need someone in his specialty made it more complicated than dealing with the average person. I really appreciate your advice to write a letter as I would not have thought of that. Thank you again.

Midwestnija
Guest
Midwestnija

He knows exactly what he’s saying; some people believe that they can say whatever they want when they are in certain positions. My suggestion is that if he says anything again, just repeat what he says back to him. For instance: Him: You look like you just got struck by lightening. You: I’m sorry, what? (looking offended and incredulous) Him: You look like you just got struck by lightening. (because you know he’d repeat himself) You: I look like I just got struck by lightening? (Still looking at him like he’s insulted you, and a little like he’s an idiot)… Read more »

Taisha
Guest

You had me laughing because I could absolutely see this conversation playing out in real life. 🙂 You have a good method of using repeating in order to get someone to really hear what they’re saying. So many good ideas here! Thank you.

Midwestnija
Guest
Midwestnija

*lightning, not lightening. (Lol)

Queen
Guest
Queen

Yeah at this point I’d probably ask him if I’m at a hair salon instead of a doctor’s office, because that’s where I’d go if I felt I *needed* any hair advice. Or if I was at a comedy club, since he thinks his “jokes” are so funny. SMH On top of that, it isn’t the style he has a problem with, like you said, it’s the texture itself, because he made remarks even when it was in a different style, which is even more troubling. I hope you are able to find another doctor in your area who will… Read more »

that girl
Guest
that girl

The heck, that doctor is a disgrace. I have no idea how you were able to remain calm but i commend you greatly. I also believe the first comment gives a great suggestion for how to respond. hmph. horrible.

now… i’m not sure if this is the right time to ask *cough…but… i love your hair O_O also because it’s the same texture as mine :O and im not sure what hair type it is >< soo if you dont mind, could you share your hair typing knowledge w/ me? i’d be soo grateful
m(._.)m

Taisha
Guest

Hi, Thank you for the compliment! I was so, so nervous to even to put this story out there, it’s so kind of you to say something nice about my controversial (haha just kidding)hair. I’m not sure if you’re looking at just the picture with the article or if you’ve gone to my instagram pictures, because the picture with this article is showing a braid‐out (similar to what I had at the dr.‘s office, so it’s stretched). But if it helps at all I’m a 4A. My hair is really, really thick and thankfully it’s forgiving when I’m not as… Read more »

Jane
Guest
Jane

I usually will put people back in their place immediately with a simple “That was rude and tactless” phrase, or something of that variation. That’s pretty much my go‐to line anytime some stranger steps out of line verbally with me since it’s very brief and straightforward. I also don’t wait until several infractions later to say something, as that does absolutely nothing to help the situation.

JenniD
Guest
JenniD

I personally would just ignore him for the most part. If he keeps saying something I would just say “you must love my hair as your always making comments about it”. I would be sure to refresh his mind on what he said each time and add “jokingly” are you trying to give me a complex?

Dimples
Guest
Dimples

We’ll, you have let it stand for this long. The second time you should have made it clear. At this point it is harder to comment with out it seeming like you have an attitude. The best way would be to use someone else all together because you continue to use him allowing him to disrespect you and your paying him. I am not saying you should go out your way but once you give it to him straight how comfortable would you be? If he is offended what level of service do you think you will recieve. I only… Read more »

ericca
Guest
ericca

I would ask in a dry tone, do you find that funny after he asked me something about my hair.

Tai
Guest
Tai

In my experience written complaints to Office Management are most effective. Good Luck with future medical treatment.

JazzWife
Guest

Going for his jugular, I would say: “During my previous two visits, you have made derisive comments about my hair. As a black woman, I’m actually surprised that a professional of your caliber, could be so racially insensitive. Have I done something to you that would make you feel that I warrant such mistreatment?” Saying something like this makes clear how he made you feel. It also puts him on notice. The open ended question requires him to explain himself (he may dig the hole he’s already created deeper) while also sending a message. You asked him a question to… Read more »

Asia
Guest
Asia

I think this would be the perfect opportunity to 1.express how to him how he made you feel but more importantly educate him on African American hair. Sometimes we’re so quick to defend and we fail to realize that some individuals just DONT KNOW. I’ve been trying to work on seeing the positive in situations like these because like many people I was quick to be on the defense also. Once I responded that was that and I didn’t care how the person felt afterwards. Neither could I take back what I had said. It’s honestly not the best way… Read more »

Guest
Guest
Guest

I am also a physician with natural hair. I get constant stares, dirty looks (from Caucasians) and comments about my hair (from Black Americans/Haitians). Parents of the patient will constantly look at my hair as opposed to my face when I talk to them. I get constant comments such as : is that a wig, is your hair fake, is that YOUR hair (while their weave tracks are exposed and falling from their heads). The worst comment I feel that I get: LOOK , IT’S DOC MC STUFFINS!. On the contrary, none of my other colleagues receive that treatment. It… Read more »

lauryn
Guest
lauryn

All I can say is, be encouraged, my sister! You are a professional black woman in a world that is still struggling to see us as equals, but YOU are the REASON why the tide will change! Also, next time someone makes a Doc McStuffins comment, you just tell the person, “Thank you for the compliment — Doc McStuffins is such an amazing role model for young girls! Don’t you agree?” and keep it moving.

Deb
Guest
Deb

Amen and AMEN!

Guest
Guest
Guest

You can look at it that way. Yet when it is done in a mocking tone (pointing and laughing), I think it is disrespectful. If my other colleagues were referred to as cartoon characters, then I would not feel as offended. The issue here is respect for the professional. These parents have more respect for my other colleagues (none of whom are of African descent/Black). My other colleagues have never been referred to as Doc McStuffins or any other cartoon character.

So pleased
Guest
So pleased

.… Sometimes, quickly saying, “Excuse me ?”, sharply and looking him dead in the eye, waiting for him to actually answer you, might let him know that YOU know he has crossed the line. Don’t smile when you say it, don’t look sad or disappointed, just look at him like he smells of having stepped in some s**t. If he acts dismissive get up, get your things and walk out. He knows he’s wrong and being demeaned and disrespected is not part of the price for healthcare. His comments are extremely unprofessional and very inappropriate and you do not have… Read more »

Angela
Guest
Angela

I work as an engineer with several white middle aged conservatives that still believe that I should be cleaning their homes and not working as their equal. That being said, I’d like to share that my direct supervisor (who has absolutely no tact) one day said I looked like I just stuck my finger in an electric socket. I’m really self conscious about my hair journey and am 14 months transitioning so there are days when I’m still trying to figure my hair out. I too was taken aback and was speechless but he didn’t think he said anything wrong.… Read more »

Taisha
Guest

Oh Angela! I’m so sorry that happened to you! That is beyond unacceptable. I remember the feeling of being self‐conscious after I big chopped so I feel for you so much. I’ve been natural for 3 years and I’m still feeling my way. People are rude, sometimes ignorant, but I don’t have to see you to know your hair is beautiful. It’s automatically beautiful because it’s yours.

Tiffany
Guest

Sometimes you have to educate people. I like to give people the benefit of doubt and while it’s a shame that they don’t know better, it’s your responsibility to set them straight if they hurt your feelings. If they don’t know what their saying is offensive,then let them know. Tell them it made you uncomfortable and WHY it’s unacceptable. You can’t expect someones behavior to change if they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. However, if it happens again after you’ve had that talk, then that’s when legal action should be taken.

Deb
Guest
Deb

You should have asked him to repeat himself and then asked him to explain what he meant calmly? I bet the idiot would have actually had time to think twice about what he said.

flouncingtart
Guest
flouncingtart

It’s not that they’ve “forgotten how to be kind,” it’s that they have no respect for women, especially women of colour. People are socialised to treat us like we don’t matter or like they can say anything about us without consequence (…even when their looks are nothing to write home about and their hair is as limp as a wet dog’s or they have no hair).

Jo
Guest
Jo

Record his rude comments next time and replay it to his supervisor.

To be honest, if I were in said situation, i’d have to stop myself from getting too angry, thus turning into the Incredible Hulk and throwing his expensive (or not) car into the Nile river.

Taisha
Guest

You all are so wonderful for helping me with the many suggestions and advice. Thank you so much!

I honestly wasn’t sure what reaction this piece would get and it feels really good to see that my feelings aren’t just my own. You’re all amazing! I’m reading every comment, it just seemed more timely to write a quick thank you. 🙂

mary
Guest
mary

Y’all better start telling these people off. I had to defend a student at school last month when the receptionist told him he needed to comb his hair because it was nappy. After he told her that was the style, I let her know in no uncertain terms that this is how OUR hair grows and that she should not say that to him. Take it up with God.

Saundra
Guest
Saundra

Taisha

I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with an inappropriate doctor. Like Jo said, record the incidents and tell the patient’s advocate/supervisor. Though I didn’t get comments about my hair, I’ve had a doctor shove her religious beliefs about premarital sex down my throat while she was giving me my very first pap exam. I immediately contacted the patient’s advocate for the clinic. She’s no longer working their thank goodness. Just know that you do not need to suffer in silence. Some doctors take advantage of the fact that they are in a position of power over their patients.

Cassenorp
Guest
Cassenorp

If you really want to make waves, put it in writing in the form of a letter and/or email. If it continues, send him another letter and/or email and cc the state medical board. That will really get his attention. Note: You should only cc the state medical board once you have decided to find another specialist.

Pat
Guest

I would have said that it’s great how lovely GOD created this hair of mine!! Any complaints about this hair should be taken up with the Creator himself.

LA
Guest
LA

Some commentators have tried to make it an “us vs. them” situation aka black vs. white, and I believe everyone’s stories, but we all know most of us have experienced derisive remarks, looks, and laughs from those who look like us and are uncomfortable with self‐esteem issues which extends to those on television (e.g. Sheryl Underwood‐gate). Many of us, including myself, grew up at least for most of my childhood in a predominantly black town where you could count the number of non‐blacks on one hand. Most blacks I could assume (and anyone can combat me statistically, I have no… Read more »

flouncingtart
Guest
flouncingtart

This sounds an awful lot like “not all white people” when it’s actually… a lot of white people. A lot of white people are ignorant and say ignorant things that are racial microaggressions. The stigma surrounding afro‐textured hair isn’t the same as other types of derisive remarks aimed at white people for whatever reason, for example. Afro‐textured hair is politicised (and racialised) in a way that…“white person with freckles” isn’t. Self‐hate isn’t the same thing as racism either. Black people can’t oppress themselves, especially since they have neither the power or privilege to do so. Self hate stems from eurocentric… Read more »

LA
Guest
LA

And I mentioned the demographic of where I grew up because I unfortunately dealt with many derogatory comments about my braids or lack of a relaxer growing up, but I have to say, I was lucky enough to have some snappy responses up my sleeve at the time. I was amazed to see when suddenly braids became wide‐spread with the rise of African braiding salons and pretty much normalized. It gives me hope for the future that in general, also with natural hair, it will only take a decade for continued “normalization” to take place as we now see many… Read more »

ida voyder
Guest
ida voyder

Don’t agree with your comment at all — “it give me hope for the future that in general, also with natural hair, it will only take a decade for continued “normalization” to take place as we now see many naturals…“we as a people have too many issues — still seeing too many women with weaves “really bad bad bad weaves showing we have very deep issues. Just yesterday I saw this thirteen year old with a glued on lace front wig on almost down to her eyebrows, going to school. Talk about embarrassment! the wig was red and blond —… Read more »

Dionne
Guest
Dionne

The doctor is ignorant,as educated and intelligent as he is,he should know better then to make any comments which could cause offense,
It’s hard to say anything thing else because you have not stated what he said,but you could ask him why he says it,if anything people regardless of their profession will say stuff but sometimes in life you have to pass it off,otherwise you will forever be arguing with just about everyone

Dee
Guest
Dee

I have experienced a situation like this with a slightly different twist. The person who insulted me was my BLACK professor in my Social Statistics class. I had locs at the time that were almost waist length. He told me that I was a smart girl but I would never make it in the corporate world with my hair that way. I, like you, was shocked! However, I did not keep silent. I’m a little spit fire honestly. My friends and associates alike tend to call me ‘nice nasty’. I simply said, “Well, you’ve made it so I’m sure there… Read more »

Jc
Guest

I have found that the vast majority of people are actually open to dialogue. My advice would be to bring up the subject before he does at the next appointment. Without being overly emotive, you could explain to him that his previous comments at the two past appointments were offensive to you. Explain that your hair grows naturally out of your head like this and it is essentially the same as you asking him why is his hair so straight. Some of you will be surprised but there are a great number of white people who actually think that black… Read more »

Elle
Guest
Elle

How many WHITE MEN stifle their justifiable reactions to ridicule, humiliation, shame and unprofessional behavior for fear of coming off as an ‘Angry White Man’? How many JEWS are CHIDED into passivity and submission by other Jews, out of a hysterical community fear of WHAT OTHERS MAY PERCEIVE, when they have an emotional response to being shamed by another? Answer: none! How many ‘angry Black women’ actually exist to justify the disdain of this apparently fearsome and loathsome phenomenon? Yeah, yeah TV — which is *surely* a representation of the best society has to offer, and the random crazy woman… Read more »

Candace
Guest
Candace

It really depends on the result you want to achieve. You have to decide if you want to make the doctor understand that his comments are impacting your ability to be as open with him as you need to be OR if you want to get revenge on him for hurting your feelings. If you want revenge, then you can go the “angry” confrontational route by asking if he has a problem with African American hair, calling in patient advocates, and threatening him wit the medical board. He surely won’t ever mention a patient’s hair again. He will also likely… Read more »

dee
Guest
dee

I think you should tell him, in as direct and non‐confrontational a manner as possible, that his comments are insulting and ask him to stop his unsolicited comments.

Rehs Sllew
Guest
Rehs Sllew

WOW! I wish that it wouldn’t have to take a third appointment for you to speak up about how offended you felt. I would just simply let him know that his comments about my hair offends me and ask him to stop. I would mention that I am just there for his medical services and that’s it. I would also mention that I understand that my wonderful hair may make some people uncomfortable but please keep his comments to himself. FYI: sometimes no matter how nice you say thing people can always twist them into a negative so don’t be… Read more »

ja
Guest
ja

My white brother‐in‐law said the same thing to my mixed 10yo daughter when she had a beautiful, moisturized, defined braid out “you look like you stuck your finger in a light socket!”. I got really angry and pulled him aside to say that was a hurtful thing to say and he acted shocked that it was offensive! Is that possible?!

Dionne
Guest
Dionne

You have to remember that seeing a women’s hair no matter what race in a braid out state to whites would be deemed unkept because their hair is flatter and a person who does indeed get electrocuted would have their hair left in that unkempt state. I generally feel that not all white people who say this are saying it in regards to race but anyone with such hair,in fact there are blacks that have used this line about other blacks,because we are in a society that shows the norm to be the exact opposite to what a black persons… Read more »

Nia
Guest
Nia

I already can’t stand white folk and when they comment or look at my hair funny I give them a look that says “I dare you”.…

I used to sit back in amazement and not have anything to say, but now I feel TOO confident in my skin and I’ll be damned if somebody anybody makes me feel less than.

Nia
Guest
Nia

I already can’t stand white folk and when they comment or look at my hair funny I give them a look that says “I dare you”.…

I used to sit back in amazement and not have anything to say, but now I feel TOO confident in my skin and I’ll be damned if somebody anybody makes me feel less than.

anonymous
Guest
anonymous

I would record his comments and report it to the AMA (American Medical Association)…then I’d find a lawyer and sue him for racial harrassment. That would show the A‐hole to keep his idiot trap shut!!

Princess
Guest
Princess

I feel your pain Taisha. Yesterday 3 weave wearing, eyelash extensioned young ladies thought they could laugh at my cornrows. I shot them dirty looks and I had a long think about why this irked me and I realised it’s because I’m proud of my hair and expect others to feel the same. However, the truth is they don’t and I can’t waste my time being annoyed by other people’s lack of knowledge. It’s either an opportunity for me to educate or let it go. How you feel about your hair is what’s important not anyone else. If your doctor… Read more »

Julz
Guest
Julz

Sometimes it is better to deal with situations your not happy with straight away but I think most of us are in shock when it happens . I had an Indian doctor say to me that I spoke better English than him . He obviously judged me on my skin colour because I was born in the Uk. People will judge no matter where they are from. But we do not have to tolerate derogatory remarks . I am sure that they would be apologetic once they know that they have done wrong or have hurt a persons feelings .… Read more »

Vala
Guest
Vala

I had a woman in Walmart make remarks about a young girl I babysit. My daughter is mixed with black and Mexican but the little girl I keep is fully black. The cashier first said that she was beautiful and asked how I keep her hair moisterized. Then she followed with, “from the color of her skin you would think she’d have that dry, nasty stuff. Well I guess is really oily huh? Its got to be one way or the other… Lucky she has a pretty face.” I, like you was completely dumbfounded and shosced into silence. I just… Read more »

Deb
Guest
Deb

My god…I really want people to speak up to this mess but it’s not easy when you are truly speechless and dumbfounded in thru moment… people should know this type of crap is not ok!!! I have to practice on figuring out what to say because I know I will be facing a similar microaggression eventually.

Latoya
Guest
Latoya

Wow! That ignorant heifer said that in front of the little girl? If so, she’s wrong for that mess!! Sometimes grown‐ups act like ignorant children!

Emma J B W
Guest
Emma J B W

Let me start by saying this is wrong. The rheumatologist in question is bang out of order. Like you, I sometimes have that problem where I can’t think of the right thing to say at the time of insult. However, I like to make myself heard when it comes to dealing with people. Please can I suggest you find out who their manager or governing body is, then write a letter detailing how his behaviour had been inappropriate and how it has made you feel. You might want to make it clear that you do you want to end treatment,… Read more »

Emma J B W
Guest
Emma J B W

Sorry, *make it clear you do not want to end treatment

Deedeemaha
Guest
Deedeemaha

I will give you my first thought when I read the first insult: And you look like every joint, muscle, and bone in your body has been crushed, I bet that hurts about as bad as the comment you just made to me. You have been noting but professional with me, what’s changed? Is my choice of hair style a problem for you? I know myself so I know this what I would have said. I like to question people. Because then you can see there point of view. Where they are coming from. This made me think not about… Read more »

Zenith
Guest
Zenith

Send something to the Medical Board and ask that they forward it to him, if you do not want to confront him directly.

Kisha
Guest
Kisha

Plz the follow up to what happened. So sorry he made u feel this way with his ignorant comments.

Brittany.L
Guest

If it was me I would be shocked the first time also the second time. I probably would have been straight up and said ” stop talking about my hair it’s rude”. When I use to wear weave white people would comment on it all the time I HATED IT!!!

Is it real”
” How do they do it”
” can I see”
When I take out my weave they say
” Did you cut your hair” -__‐

Mad annoying man lol just leave it alone

Check out http://www.curlskinksfashion.com for fashion,style, and natural hair and follow us on Instagram

Zaza
Guest
Zaza

I’m truly sorry that this has happened to you, Taisha. I think it shows the ignorance that some people have towards anything that is not “mainstream” i.e. eurocentric. Perhaps next time anything like this happens, it would be best to be equipped beforehand and have a word of wisdom tucked up your sleeve ready to whip out there and then and nip things like this in the bud. Maybe along the lines of a gentle word in someone’s ear if they seem receptive along the lines of, “Yes my hair is rather large and perhaps not what you are used… Read more »

Cass
Guest
Cass

I wish she has said something. That way he can reflect on himself and how he talks to people. I worked with a doctor who used to say the craziest things to his co workers to try to belittle them and show how intelligent he is. When one of us finally said something to him, he was embarrassed and learned to check himself

neide
Guest
neide

Snif his neck, scratch his chin. Do something realy weird to make him feel uncomfy. Thats gonna make u laugh.

tanyfaye
Guest
tanyfaye

LOOOOOOOOOL! ????????

ida voyder
Guest
ida voyder

I nip stuff like that in the bud — stuff like that happening and me not responding wouldn’t let me sleep at night — that’s just me. I can see my self saying — “well I didn’t come in here to get your opinion about my hair, how you feel about it doesn’t matter at least to me any way. I came in here about .….. I see people of all colours and some of them have hair that I don’t like, but I mind my business and I keep it moving.”

Denise
Guest
Denise

I appreciate you sharing your story. I have to say, that I am not shocked by your story. I believe many people think that it is appropriate for them to comment on people, issues, things are really not for them to comment. I applaud you for continuing to pay for this physicians’ services. I believe that I wouldn’t have said something untilt he second comment (many times I am caught off guard by insults), however, I don’t believe I would continue to use him. I look forward to reading your follow‐up post!

Melissa Jackson
Guest
Melissa Jackson

I hate that you had to experience that the first time but in after time after that becomes your fault. People are taught how to treat us by the way we accept their treatment of us as women and as women of coloredwho choose to marvel in the marvelouse texture of hair God has gifted to us. He was unprofessional and crass and should have been told that. My rule of thumb is people are allowed one strike to get it right (the first time is shame on them and any other time it is shame on me). Your “initial”… Read more »

Taisha
Guest

I’m not going to address every response that assumes I had a feeling or attitude that I did not have. The fact that I did not go home and proceed to obsess about it every second of every day for the few days until I saw him again does not bother me. I was seeing him because of pressing health concerns that took priority in my mind and I could deal with his ignorance later. I wasn’t concerned with how he viewed me, I don’t care about that. I do care about educating someone about their perspective in a thoughtful… Read more »

Anastasia
Guest

I appreciate that, Taisha!

If you truly feel that he thinks he is being funny, then perhaps you can respond to his next quip in that vein.

My mom has a white friend named Steve who once commented how black hair “fights you back” when it is combed, and he wasn’t being snide. His comment was accurate! So, that’s a phrase I tend to use when someone not so tactfully invites a discussion about my natural hair texture. It usually gets a nervous laugh, but softens the moment by disarming them.

Tabitha
Guest
Tabitha

So, being afraid of retaliation for a corrective response is slave mentality. It’s 2014, we’re not slaves. The fact that you let the doctor get away with commenting on your hair establishes a precedence. So now, when you do decide to confront the doctor 1) he recognizes his power over you 2) will most like dismiss your complaint as you having a problem rather then he being rude.

Eventually, he’s going to offend the wrong person, which he will then look at you and ask, “why didn’t you tell me?”

Taisha
Guest

You would be incorrect to assume that I was afraid of his response. I never stated that I was afraid. Being surprised and having your mind go blank is a human response not a slave response. I don’t care what he thinks, what I care about is addressing the issue in the best way possible so that he can learn because I’d rather give him the benefit of the doubt and think that he didn’t mean to be offensive. If he responds in a rude or uncaring way I’m leaving his practice as I stated in the article. I don’t… Read more »

Deedeemaha
Guest
Deedeemaha

I’m a little confused now where you coming from. I understand you went blank the first time, but you were thinking about it. Then you went back with a ponytail you gave thought to. You seem to find a quicker response here then with him. You say it very nicely, and you are quick to stand up for yourself. Why is that? I understand he is your doctor and you need him, I could be wrong. I just notice it was easy to tell the above lady, You are incorrect .…etc. you could just simply say Doctor you are incorrect.… Read more »

flouncingtart
Guest
flouncingtart

This is getting a little too close to victim‐blaming for my tastes. Sometimes you just don’t know how to respond to people who say microaggressive things; it’s a normal reaction to have, especially since women are socialised to be non‐confrontational (and people of colour even moreso because of stereotypes about us and fear of what people might do to us). Don’t make Taisha feel bad for having a very normal reaction.

Rae
Guest
Rae

If my doctor said something derogatory about my hair, I would remind him that we were currently in 21 century London so s/he’d better get used to all sorts coming through the door, I never came to him for cosmetology/beauty recommendations and to take his/her doctor’s licence and stick it where the sun didn’t shine.

Ms.J
Guest
Ms.J

Ask him what happened to HIS hair and why is it so limp.

cacey
Guest
cacey

if he even has hair

CJ
Guest
CJ

Maybe it’s his thing to make comments about his patient’s hair. He’s is completely wrong for his comments, but maybe it’s has nothing to do with you being black. It could just be something inappropriate he does to everyone.

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

I would start with saying “No more *jokes* about my hair, please. It is not funny… it’s hurtful.”

Check his reaction after that… If you think he thinks he is being funny, it will embarrass him that he is being hurtful and I am sure he will stop. Sometimes we do not need a quick comeback. To me, people listen more when calm because there is no room to get defensive.

Youngin girl
Guest
Youngin girl

When I read the topic, I was like,“Did she say ‘Doctor’?”. I’m not offended because I’m use to reading these types of incidents. You would think since He’s a doctor and he’s in a competitive field that He would address his patients in a professional way. With his remarks, you could teach him something like manners and respect. I think that your the better person. For me, I don’t know what I would say. It depends on how he said it and in the tone of his voice. I would say,“My hair is beautifully kempt and I have learned to… Read more »

LBell
Guest
LBell

Taisha, I’m sorry this happened to you. Yes, his comments were absolutely unprofessional. However, IMHO, and at this point, they are not worth bringing up to any higher authorities and they’re DEFINITELY not worth a lawsuit. I’ll explain why in a sec… Assuming you plan to go back to him (are there really no other rheumatologists in your neck of the woods?), see if he makes any side comments again about your hair or person. Then immediately let him know that they make you uncomfortable and that it’s the third time it’s happened in three visits. I wouldn’t even get… Read more »

Mochhalady
Guest
Mochhalady

It’s unfortunate that your physician made you feel uncomfortable about your hair. Would have been in your best interest to express yourself and ask for more sensitivity from your Dr. Just a simple response to say that you’d appreciate that negative comments were not made in reference to your hair as it’s a sensitive subject for you and the remark hurt your feelings. Anyways, I’m natural too and it just seems to me that even some black people have a hard time accepting natural hair texture. So we do have to take the time and educate folks on the subject… Read more »

Jeanine
Guest
Jeanine

I will be quite honest, I really grow tired of women of color trying to find reasonable ways to address people whom blatantly disrespect their ethnicity and culture. It is not out of ignorance or lack of knowledge of why other cultures find it acceptable to outright challenge us racially. Taking the high road and being practical has gotten us nothing but more subliminal disrespect and tolerance of blunt racism. Frankly, there is no nice way of dealing with someone like your doctor in a professional setting in that manner, if that was anyone of his ethnicity do you think… Read more »

flouncingtart
Guest
flouncingtart

Unfortunately, we’re taught not to fight back or that if we fight back, we’re just as bad as our aggressors. People even use Martin Luther King Jr.‘s less damning words against us, not realising that MLKJ was actually quite radical (which is why he was labeled a terrorist). It’s gross that we’re made to feel like we shouldn’t speak up and that we should just let people walk all over us because we “need to be the bigger person.” It’s such abusive logic.

Liz M.
Guest
Liz M.

This reminds me of when I showed a coworker (Indo‐Malaysian) my senior picture the other day. I had a braid out and let me tell you, it was POPPIN’ but to her, I looked “like a lion”. I was so damn shocked and you know what I did? I sat there like an idiot. How do you respond to that kind of statement? Do I let it slide because I’m just going to ASSUME that she’s never encountered a natural haired African‐American? I was so hurt and disappointed in her; that definitely killed any possible friendship. Must we continue to… Read more »

Brittany
Guest
Brittany

The lion is the king of the jungle and the only animal with a royal title. The lion’s mane is a like a crown and lions walk with authority. In the Book of Revelations, Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe Juda. I would rather have hair that resembles a lion than hair that resembles a horse.

Latoya
Guest
Latoya

LMAO!!! I heard that, girl!! : O

Dionne
Guest
Dionne

Really,
It depends on the individual..Horses are beautiful and their mane is lovey unlike a Lions character which is overbearing and boisterous.

Ericka
Guest
Ericka

Your hair looks very much like mine and I happen to think it’s gorgeous. I don’t think you are comfortable with a confrontational approach and that shouldn’t always be the go to response. The next time your are at an appointment and he comments I think you should respond by saying, “You know a woman’s hair is a very personal thing. I happen to be proud of my hair and I enjoy wearing it like this. I know you are probably joking but I don’t feel comfortable when you talk about it.” If after that point he responds in anything… Read more »

Cherry
Guest
Cherry

That’s a great suggestion, Liz!
I would’ve just gave him “a look” and said, “I don’t find that amusing. Please keep your opinions of my hair to yourself”. I probably would’ve worn an even bigger style next time just to make sure he learned his lesson the first time.

Cherry
Guest
Cherry

Sorry, Erica, not Liz <3

Majara Williams
Guest
Majara Williams

I’ve only been natural since January this year, so 5 months, and I don’t live near my dad so he hasn’t really seen how I style my hair. I went to visit him to get some tests done at the hospital he works at (he too is a doctor, a surgeon actually). He saw my hair which was a fresh braid out (I was still separating curls at the time) and he said “what’s that supposed to be? Some kind of boo boo dreads or something?” He went on listing other jibberish that all had the word boo boo in… Read more »

Tonya
Guest
Tonya

I would ask him what he meant by the comment to give yourself a moment to think, and him a chance to realize that his comment wasn’t appreciated. I’d then say that this was the third time he’s made a comment about your hair and you wonder if he makes comments about the hair of all of his female patients. Next I would say that I embrace my hair as it grows out of my head and I don’t feel a need to change it to make other comfortable and that if he has an issue with that, you need… Read more »

Julz
Guest
Julz

@ Liz M I think that lions are beautiful maybe your coworker thought that you looked beautiful too . On the other hand if it was said in a way that you perceived it to be derogatory or offensive that is another mater . Para verbals are about having awareness of how you communicate to others . It’s not what we say it’s how we say it then how the person receives it . Mindfulness & empathy can be learnt . Taisha your doctors prescription is for a dose of both take a deep breath the next time you see… Read more »

Racheal
Guest
Racheal

In my opinion the other races are not the only ones to blame for their ignorance when it comes to our hair type. We as a people still seem to be uncomfortable in our own skin and our hair type. Most negative remarks I’ve received from people about my hair and skin color seem to be from my own race. We as a people hardly ever support one another other than when angry. We need to educate these people as well as our own about the beauty of out tones and hair textures because we’ve tried to fit in with… Read more »

Deedeemaha
Guest
Deedeemaha

Take a little card write down the link to Your article. Then say, Dr. I wrote an article about your interesting comment on my hair. Its on a popular websites BGLH. I would love for you to read it and get your feedback because you were the highlight of over 100 responses.

Otherwise as they say, we just beating a dead dog.

So pleased
Guest
So pleased

Deededaha. I really like this idea. Might be a little enlightening.

Yas
Guest
Yas

Ok, this is not your friend. He’s not a long time family doctor who’s known you since you were a child (I am only suggesting that someone might feel comfortable enough in these cases to make comments such as these only if they have known you and seen your regularly for years). What this is is outright disrespect–whether is joking or not. It’s unprofessional. This a doctor performing a service for you and there is a certain amount of decorum required here. It’s is wholly inappropriate for these comments to be made. Please inform him (as kindly as you can… Read more »

Aliyah
Guest
Aliyah

I have been natural for three months now I’m use to the negative comments by my brothers so if a stranger says something I can take it . Most strangers usually just stare . My friends and the rest of my family love it , but Idc what a stranger says . When I first went natural , I went to the movies with my now ex boyfriend and this white girl was asking her friends if her hair looked good . Then she said let’s ask those people and pointed at us then she took one look at me… Read more »

BUtifullyhuman
Guest
BUtifullyhuman

I believe that you must approach this situation with tact and tactIC. As unfortunate as it is to have been mistreated like this, you now hold the responsibility of setting him straight (for any future little brown girls that may come into his office). Many of the demeaning comments that come out of folks mouths are from sheer ignorance. I had an assistant general manager AND an HR manager call me AuntJemaima (sp) when I wore my head wrap to work. Not only did I set the record straight face to face (gave them THEE ENTIRE run down of the… Read more »

Patricia Kayden
Guest
Patricia Kayden

Taisha,

Since you’ve been seeing this Doctor for years, I’m sure that you know he’s not racist (or perhaps I’m being too generous). I would gently state to him that you don’t appreciate his comments about your hair, even if he is just joking around. I’m sure that will be sufficient for him to stop making offensive comments although things may get a bit awkward between the two of you. If he’s a professional, he’ll apologize and limit his comments to your health condition.

Good luck.

Michelle M
Guest
Michelle M

I’m not saying the Dr. was acting professional when he made the comment. However, I feel deep down we have doubts about our hair, so when someone makes any comment we perceive as negative we over react. I get that all the time from a coworker when I go in with my curls, he would ask me if it was windy outside and my normal comeback from day one was “can you tell”. I am comfortable with me and my hair and we should not allow our insincerity cloud our judgement. That being said the next time you see the… Read more »

Cissy
Guest
Cissy

I find “I like my hair” to usually be sufficient enough to make people get off the subject. If they don’t get a clue, I suggest debating something else, like their choice in spouse, clothing, etc.

the gypsy life
Guest
the gypsy life

hm

pamelawhamela
Guest
pamelawhamela

All I can say is that you definitely have more self‐control than I do. I’m an Aries with a temper made of gunpowder on a short fuse, and what I would said to him the first time isn’t fit to print here. I look forward to reading what you ultimately decide, and hope to learn from it.

Dionne
Guest
Dionne

Do you think that attitude you have is anything to be proud of, we are trying to get away from the angry, black women stereotype but your answer and some of the other black women’s response here just reinforces that, they seem baffled that this black women didn’t react a certain way because they themselves are confrontational..you don’t always have to respond with such anger,black women like you tend to always be on attack and need to ask yourselves, why do you come across as aggressive as you do He,the doctor was around,but isn’t it down to ignorance and rudeness,why… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

to be fair,that’s a reaction any woman can have, no matter the race. Either way, she said she looks forward to seeing the other ladies’s response, so instead of making this an opportunity to wrist slap someone being “an angry black woman”, lets keep the focus where it should be.

Dionne
Guest
Dionne

It really isn’t,black women tend to react with the most aggression out of any race women hence the angry black women stereotype,and here you are trying to justify that response..sometimes you live and let live you don’t have to jump up about everything.

flouncingtart
Guest
flouncingtart

Do you by everything that this racist misogynistic society sells you about black women?

Dionne
Guest
Dionne

I think its a natural reaction for certain people of color to assume white people who say certain things are racist,but sometimes they mean well..you don’t know for fact hes racist,your presuming.

Dananana
Guest
Dananana

Agreed with Ugonna. You’re kidding, right? All the ills and pain in this world that specifically affects us (and the folks we love), and we don’t have a right to be angry? Screw that stupid stereotype. I’m passionate, and proud.

Jay
Guest
Jay

I’m in high school. When random white boys say rude things about my hair I usually just answer back saying “so because my hair doesn’t fall straight like a white girl it’s a problem?” And that usually leaves them speechless & later I might inform them about natural hair

Temi
Guest
Temi

WOW black americans are soooo sensitive. So he made a joke about your hair, big deal… Try living in Nigeria, where everyone from your mum, to the shop assistant, to your uncles will CONFIDENTLY tell you why they hate your hair. And the worst part is you cant say anything because we are taught to respect our elders, so you just have to sit there and smile. People make jokes, sometime they are offensive, it sucks, but thats life. If it isn’t about your hair, it’ll be something else. It is not your job to teach people how to behave,… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

how do you know it was a joke? Why are you so quick to give him excuses? Doesn’t sound like a joke to me, sounds like he had a problem wiht her hair. Also, why even make such a “joke”? Why not just do your damn job? Get out of here troll. Since comments are apparently now “moderated”, I can’t fathom how your comment was published.

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

oh, and as a Nigerian myself, their attitudes are RANK. But that has nothing to do with this story, other than for you to show off how “superior” and “tough” you are for being Nigerian apparently. Want a cookie?

ida voyder
Guest
ida voyder

Making “jokes” at someone’s expense isn’t funny. People in general just need to mind their own business and get on with their job. That’s why this system is in such a mess. everybody being intent on bullying someone. Can’t even fix their own mess, but intent on controlling other people.

Zenith
Guest
Zenith

Umm, do your REALLY want to start comparing the ‘rankness’ of cultural attitude??? Especially with the latest major international crisis going on in Nigeria?? Please don’t come out and insult black America, when your own house smells so very bad to the entire world right now.

Jacky
Guest
Jacky

I’m so sorry to hear that but you have to stand up for yourself if you don’t want to be bullied. I’m at a point where i love my natural hair and everything it does and get lots of compliments concerning it but it wasn’t always this easy. I used to try to style my hair in ways that would please others but it made me sad because i wasn’t giving my hair the chance to be itself. So i started letting it do its own thing ang loving what it does naturally through wash n go’s, braid outs, afros,… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

is there a reason you haven’t told him to keep his comments to himself and just do his job? Even if your hair was a mess, I can’t imagine why he felt he didn’t have to keep it to himself and just insult you.

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

keep in mind that maybe he just didn’t like the way you styled it, not the fact that its natural.

But even then it was inappropriate for him to bring it up. Its none of his business and you aren’t “close” like that.

Marie
Guest
Marie

I agree with the sentiment of some of the other comments made. Sometimes we are a little too sensitive in the black community. I’m assuming that this doctor is a middle age (perhaps older) white male. How versed do you think this man is on the baggage of natural hair and beauty issues within the black community? More than likely he doesn’t know that hair is a sensitive topic for a lot of natural women. So good or bad, he might have been teasing you or making a joke. But more than likely, he was not going out of his… Read more »

Patricia Kayden
Guest
Patricia Kayden

Your advice is good but I don’t agree that we are too sensitive in the Black community. Our history and experiences makes us sensitive when we perceive that we are being slighted because of our race. There’s nothing wrong with that.

I work in a multicultural environment and I’m super careful to make sure that I do not comment about people’s food, clothing, hair, accents, etc. I do not want to appear rude.

I’m sure this doctor doesn’t know that his comments are insensitive and hopefully will cease to make them once this is brought to his attention.

Kellee Blue
Guest
Kellee Blue

I do empathize, because many so‐called black women have found themselves in similar situations, not knowing what to say. At the end of the day, this fool doesn’t like or respect you. There is nothing you can say to re‐raise a grown ass person. However, you ARE essentially giving this clown your money and have been doing‐so for years. My advice would be TAKE YOUR MONEY ELSEWHERE. Hit him where he’ll feel it. You don’t come to the doctor to teach them how to respect you and what is appropriate or inappropriate. You’re not his mother nor his therapist. Find… Read more »

Kellee Blue
Guest
Kellee Blue

…and I’m not saying be a ‘b*tch’ by any means. I’m saying walk like a queen.

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

well, before she can do that she has to search for a new doctor. So while in the process of doing that she needs to demand respect from him.

bsbfankaren
Guest
bsbfankaren

Just out of curiosity, what is a “so‐called black woman” exactly?

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

I don’t think he meant to disrespect her. I think that he was ” Cool” enough with her to joke that way (HE SO WASN’T). If he is good at what he does then her little money isn’t going to matter, but I think that she needs to tell him that it wasn’t appropriate and that he needs to stick to the appointment. I never feel like that I have to put white people in there place, I must be the one of the lucky ones that deal with PC white people, BUT I will be quick to say something… Read more »

Veronica
Guest
Veronica

There have been times when people have made insulting remarks to me and I wasn’t expecting it so I just sat there in shock. The person may not have meant it to be malicious but it was insensitive nonetheless. Other times, I catch the remark immediately and get right with them. Everyone’s personality or defenses are different. In the doctor’s case, Taisha, it would be easy to simply write a one‐page letter (anything longer will make you look oversensitive) if there’s no reason to visit him further stating why his comment is inappropriate. Also, you have more time to think… Read more »

Decor
Guest
Decor

I have not read any of the previous comments yet, so I hope I am not repeating someone else. But NPR did a nice piece on comments like this. “Microaggression”. Making a statement that leaves the listener offended, insulted, disrespected or hurt. You absolutely have the right to set the record straight with him. Whether he feels entitled or is truly ignorant to his insensitive behavior, does not matter. But maintain your composure. He does not deserve having any control over your emotions.

boe
Guest
boe

She should have nipped that in the bud as soon as he made such a remark.
By not saying anything at all its letting him know it is ok to insult you. I have been in a similar situation and i politely explained the the comments made, I felt were rude and they quickly apologized.

Meliieboo
Guest
Meliieboo

Two questions to the doctor: 1) Pardon me, what did you just say? 2) Why would you say that? Turn the tables entirely and have him explain himself. Yes, you can have internal conversations with yourself, but the onus is really on HIM to explain himself. I assume the doctor is not black. I also assume that doctors come in, with some sort of joke or cheery comment to put patients at ease. I will also assume that he will be suitably mortified to know that his comments are hurtful to you, after all, he’s got away with it two… Read more »

shan
Guest
shan

He thinks he’s being funny. There’s a way to let him know that he’s not and you are not amused by asking if he always insult his patients or just you? Then quickly follow up the question with “Because this is the third time you’ve insulted me.”

Ppl these days open their mouth and say any and every without regard to what they are saying. Check’em! Most know not what they do! But after you check ’em, the start to recognize.

themanecaptain
Guest

they” just need to get used to our hair, A friend told me that a friend of hers had to wear wigs to work because a co‐worker told her that her fro looked like she got struck by lightening! plain ridiculous
http://www.themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

LA
Guest
LA

Hmm, seems to me we are still getting used to our own hair as well. See the newest “controversial” topic.

NativeNuYorker
Guest
NativeNuYorker

Now that you have had time to compose yourself and probably have thought about what you might have said put it in a letter. Remind him of his two insults and why they were insulting and inappropriate. Whether you continue to see him is up to you but he would be my ex doctor.

michelle whitton
Guest
michelle whitton

I believe I would’ve waited to talk to him at the end of the day and let him how offensive he is. Honestly, if he’s doing it to you he is doing it to someone else. Be a trailblazer and stop him in his tracks ASAP!!! Because if you change doctors that doesn’t stop him from hurting the next Afro‐Ameri man/woman. Please say something!

mae
Guest
mae

I would have said excuse me calmly with a straight face and when he laughed i would have said that is not funny, then i would have proceeded to talk about why i am there. That would have taught him a lesson. If it would have happened a second time I just would have never went back. You don’t need to explain anything to him, he obviously doesn’t have good patient communication.

Alicia1er
Guest
Alicia1er

My mistake. I thought I’d come to see my radiologist, not my hairdresser. Would you mind awfully sticking to the topic at hand? Thank you.

Helene
Guest
Helene

I walked into work today (I’m an OR Nurse) with a wash and go Afro and this lady said I need a headband because my hair looked unruly. Another one asked did I forget to flat iron my hair. They were both black. Yet the Asian ladies I worked with said it looked cute and made me look younger.
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/image-4.jpg[/img]

Clarice
Guest
Clarice

My goodness, I empathize with your feelings. I appreciate your approach towards your provider, however, being in the health care profession, his comments were unprofessional and were demeaning . I agree to handle with caution, but candor. You must first of all become confident in your own sense of style, because at the end of the day, you are beautiful and fabulous. An option, as many of my patients who are not pleased with their healthcare professionals-,they take to the pen. Find out the name of the medical director and or patient care services administrator. Call them and express your… Read more »

Tbetts
Guest
Tbetts

It would depend on all of her previous appointments with her doctor. If he is usually pleasant and patient, she should just say stop with the hair jokes and leave it at that. If he is usually not making jokes or kidding around then she should say something a bit more blunt. But either way she will have made her point.

Tabatha
Guest
Tabatha

Straight up I would say, “The last time I was in here you said that it looked like I was hit by lightening. That hurt my feelings and I don’t see how it had anything to do with my appointment”. “Get used to it because this is pretty much how I am wearing it from now on; and since you already made a comment about my hair, I would appreciate no more comparisons”. “If it continues I will take my business somewhere else.… i don’t want to, but I will”.

Margarette
Guest
Margarette

I am a doctor with natural hair. Being in the professional world and having my “Free the ‘Fro Fridays” I get a lot of comments. In an area where there is about 10–15% Black Americans and few have natural hair a lot of majority/White Americans have no experience with having our hair. I’ve gotten lots of “wow your hair is big,” “That’s a Wig, right,” and yes “Did you get struck by lightening.” Most of the time these are not said in malice but in ignorance or poor humor. They don’t realize that they are being offensive. This situation is… Read more »

Dee
Guest
Dee

I never let white folks get away with crap like that. If my doctor said anything like that, I can assure you, it will be the last. You have to teach people how to treat you. I would have said, “Dr. Jerk, you are a good doctor, but you obviously have no idea how racist you sound to me right now. You clearly don’t know much about black hair, so I’d appreciate if you would refrain from making comments about something you don’t understand and you respecting me as your patient. Thanks.”

Bubbles
Guest
Bubbles

someone said that to me when I was walking down the street. Sick minds, But he is a doctor (fist do no harm)guess he forgot the oath!

coilyrootz
Guest
coilyrootz

I am a Doctor! Who is natural! And love embracing the essence of how I was created! You need to embrace, love, become confident, secure and accept your reflection! Then and only then will others! This behavior is completely unacceptable! There are a lot of arrogant people in the world and sadly this profession has many! There are always better Doctors out there! Find one, don’t allow this to become another area in which you just settle! Much Love!

Maggie
Guest
Maggie

I am a doctor and I would tell you to tell him clearly and concisely that it was offensive what he said about your hair. And you may need to go further by explaining to him that this is the way it grows out of your head without chemical processing. And he wouldn’t want you to expose yourself to chemicals, would he? Doctors are not beyond getting educated too. If you are afraid to tell him in person, write him a letter or email–It will give both parties time to think.

Dolores
Guest
Dolores

I am so sorry to hear that there are no competent doctors in that specialty in your area. Unfortunately he is getting away with his poor bedside manner because of that. I am sure he regularly makes inappropriate comments to other patients without even thinking about it. Regardless of the racial implications of his remarks (troubling, needless to say), it is never appropriate to comment on a person’s appearance in a professional setting unless you are giving a compliment. Nonetheless, you have every right to prioritize your health over your hurt feelings. If you allow him to provoke you he… Read more »

Mistress Susan
Guest

Taisha, I have read a few of these comments and everyone is missing the point. The point is “Is a doctor who makes derogatory comments about your hair going to respect you enough to give you the best medical treatment?” No.

ellaarkin
Guest
ellaarkin

I am so sorry that happened to her. In many cases, that is why beautiful black women are afraid to go natural because of nasty and inappropriate remarks like that. I was in a similar situation but I am the wrong sista to joke with especially about my lovely locks. I couldn’t let it pass and I was very nice nasty and they never made another unwanted remark again. I will not let anyone say something about my natural hair or anything about my persons that is not asked for. It will be addressed on the spot.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

If I were you, I would report him to the medical board in the state in which you reside; these medical “professionals” seem to think that, because they have a few letters behind their name, they can say & do what they please; there are higher ups whose job is to make sure stuff like this does not happen.

In the meantime, say a prayer that God changes his heart, and that you be cured of what ails you…

deprogrammed
Guest
deprogrammed

Do not return to this doctor. If you can’t face him, write a letter. Did you comment on his hair? You don’t go to a doctor for his personal opinions, but his attitude would lead me to distrust him. And if you can’t trust your doctor, you don’t need him. People who make those kinds of snide, personal remarks are telling you they have no respect or regard for you.

Don’t keep getting him paid to insult you. Damn being used to my hair; unless you’re a trichologist it’s none of your business.

Sherry23
Guest
Sherry23

Just want to let you know your hair looks great in your photo and I’m feeling a little envy! This doctor is probably just trying to put you at ease by making a very bad joke. You are kind of caught in a no‐win situation — you are going to be uncomfortable in his presence whether you say something or not. The ideal thing would be to find another doctor, but if he’s the best option you have for the treatment of your condition, then ignore his comments. You know in advance he’s going to say something so just just… Read more »

Chandra
Guest

Wow! It sounds like he was just trying to be playful but it came off as rude and offensive. Saying that someone looked like they got struck by lighting is definitely not a compliment. I would be offended, but I wouldn’t necessarily think it was an attack on my kinky hair texture. I have seen natural hair “styles” that look like the person has stuck their finger in a light socket and they may like that style? I don’t care for it, and I am natural, have been for many years. So maybe it was more of a hair style… Read more »

ME
Guest
ME

~ Responding in anger and without forethought would have made me look bad, not him.~ I have a problem with this passive‐aggressive logic! If someone says something to you that offends you, WHY are you worried about how your response to the situation makes you look. The offender should have checked his mouth at the door. I tell you something: White ppl do not care how they look, because when you say something offensive to them, they let you know right then and there. Black ppl always worried about “how they look” (esp in mixed company) instead of setting ppl… Read more »

ShayMarie!
Guest
ShayMarie!

Yes! I agree. But I do believe the polite passive aggressive logic is a female thing not a race thing. White women often let even worse slide (Oprah had a show about it, how women get kidnapped and raped because we are too worried about offending someone to protect themselves or say no)

This is def something that I’ve struggled with as well but as I get older, I get better at speaking up for myself.

ME
Guest
ME

Maybe the white women you live around, but not the white women I live around. These chicks will get vicious and indignant. Maybe because they are the extreme majority in my area…but trust me. They are no shrinking violets. They do not care how they look. They don’t even try to be diplomatic. At least when dealing with black folks.

ME
Guest
ME

If and when you do decided to confront Doc Oc, please don’t use that tired lame excuse called RACISM. He offended your hair, not your race. He was obnoxious. Obnoxiousness does not equal racism.

ChelleBelle
Guest
ChelleBelle

I’m shocked you let him get away with that a second time. Frankly, I’m frustrated reading this story. Let us know what u finally do about this douchebag

Viv
Guest
Viv

Fire. His. Ass. Now.

NoMoreCandy4U
Guest
NoMoreCandy4U

I’m sorry but I’m a straight forward person and I know I would have said “WTF do u mean by that” and continued with the conversation about my hair and I would left looking for another Doctor.

Anfaani
Guest
Anfaani

Something as simple as: “Why are you saying that to me” would get a response. If you are not comfortable with speaking to him about it then You could write him a letter…and let him know that his statements were not appropriate. But someone made a good point: if he feels free to make insults then how good of a doctor is he for YOU? #ponder

Sibo
Guest
Sibo

He would have ceased to be called “my” doctor. Doctors are in a humane profession and they are taught how to know better. As a doctor you have to be sensitive to the person you are treating that is called good customer service which leads to good service delivery. I understand you when you say that that you did not want to use bad retort for the pain he caused you but honestly speaking I would have told him that what he said to me has caused me some pain and discomfort and I would appreciate it if he has… Read more »

Dani
Guest
Dani

Just tell him what u r thinking about telling him because he’s making the comments because u haven’t said anything about it so he thinks it’s ok. As soon as u let him know its not ok and please dont involve yelling or respond with anger because a calm voice or whisper turns away wrath. Tell him like u said “do u have a problem with African American hair?” And let him kno that u don’t appreciate it simple as that. Now if he doesn’t have the heart to respect u then report him to BBB (better business bureau) and… Read more »

Katherine Elizabeth
Guest
Katherine Elizabeth

I hate to say this but chances are this man is not intending to be racist or offensive and has no idea that you are taking his comments as anything but a joke. So before you label him as a horrible person (which he very well may be) its important that you respond to his past and future comments and not just let them eat away at you. Chances are you will end up blowing it out of proportion and not handling it well. Personally I think the next time you see him before he has any chance of making… Read more »

nappylove
Guest

Time for a new doctor. Your health is more important than anything else. I have to travel to see two of the doctors I see, because I feel valued and treated well for my conditions. A waiter at Starbucks making an off comment or a clerk at Sears doing the same would probably get a more immediate response. People tend to think someone like a doctor or boss is off limits when it comes to educating them or demanding the respect we all need. Again , drop the doc.

Adía
Guest
Adía

Good thing you’re a doctor not a beautician” would be a nice response.

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

I think he thinks he was being funny and doesn’t realize her was being offensive. Everyone is saying fire him, get another doctor she already said this type of doctor is rare in her area. How did he treat your medical condition do you feel he is competent and provides good care? If so I would encourage her to just simple make her feelings known succinctly, “I would prefer if you don’t comment on my hair” if he’s a professional he will respect her wishes and continue to do the job he’s been doing. Some of these comments seem super… Read more »

Aurora
Guest
Aurora

I say keep it simple. I do not find your joke funny, please do not repeat it. No eye contact needed if he chooses to respond because his response is not required, it is his action of not repeating the offensive joke is required.

ShayMarie!
Guest
ShayMarie!

This is a difficult dilemma because you need the medical care, and if he is good at his job and you don’t have many options then you don’t really have a choice rather or not to go back however… I do think either way he should not get away with his comments. If you do find another doctor you should write and thorough complaint and express how his comments made you feel and were racially charged and drove you to find another doctor. If you decide to keep him I think asking “Do you have a problem with African American… Read more »

ElleBella2011
Guest
ElleBella2011

Keep it simple. Find your signature response. Put on a big smile and say “I love it, it’s me” (with animation i.e. throw your hands in the air or give a playful shrug)”. Don’t play his game. Sometimes people want to see you at your worst, by getting your attention with their worst. Saying something empowers you. I have been there.

Sharon J.
Guest
Sharon J.

You have beautiful hair. The doctor sounds like he’s a racist and a bully. I have had many health problems through the years. I had to “fire” doctors on two occasion. I wound up with better ones in the process. Trust me, the doctor you have is not the only one who can treat your illness. When you do get rid of him, make sure you tell your health provider why.

KT
Guest
KT

I would say something like “its interesting you say that. That’s just what the europeans told african slaves to instill a feeling inferiority in them. I think my hair is beautiful, no it doesn’t lay down flat like yours but its not meant to. And that’s beautiful. Sorry you seem to have a problem with real black hair”.

laBouche
Guest
laBouche

While I agree with the meaning of how you’d relay it to the “good doctor”, I’m usually of the mind that reasonably aware white people are fairly cognizant of the basic historical and social contexts behind their words directed at us. I would think it sufficient to lightly smile, cock my head to the side quizzically and ask “what did you say about my hair again?” and watch him sputter and fumble with the ensuing qualifying CYA compliments that would follow.

Ariana
Guest
Ariana

I’m quick to tell people that I understand how they feel, but if they have a problem with my hair then they need to pray to God about it! Evidently He felt it was sufficient, and who am I to change it? I’d LOVE to hear a doctor’s response to that, since I’m certain he has a respect for the human body. Don’t be so offended, everybody doesn’t have to like your hair, it’s their right… I respect people who are bold enough to tell me, but I usually don’t care! If it’s someone who loves me I ask them… Read more »

CurlSense
Guest
CurlSense

Okay, I probably would have been like you the first time or maybe not. The second time I would have definitely said something, and it really depends on my mood and how much I’ve meditated that morning or what kind of day I’ve had. He had no right to make jokes about someone’s hair. My impression of him is that he’s an idiot and is totally lacking in the personality department and I wouldn’t want him examining me. I do hope you tell this character about himself because he just sounds so immature for his profession. I think it’s a… Read more »

angela
Guest
angela

Ask the SOB if he has the same problem with caucasian hair.
What you should do is file a complaint. Or write him a letter
about his inappropriate behavior.

Taisha
Guest

I wanted to again thank everyone for responding. The comments have been overwhelming supportive, informative, eye‐opening and sometimes funny. I’ve been trying to keep up with reading all the comments and if BGLH lets me in the future, after I see the doctor the next time (assuming he follows his new pattern), I will update everyone on what happens.

Jill.J
Guest
Jill.J

Please address this issue with this asshole immediately! And find another doctor asap.…If you’re uncomfortable speaking with him directly..write him a letter explaining his ignorance and send a copy to his medical board. Black women need to start addressing these inappropriate comments made by white folks. ..Im all for respectful communication and dialouge but when the passive approach doesn’t work DIRECTNESS DOES. …PLEASE HANDLE THIS!

Dee Dee
Guest
Dee Dee

I hear remarks my hair is curly/kinky but it came from Black males someone even left a comb on my desk to tell me to comb my hair! Again they were Black males. I was called a “She boon” behind my back by men in their 40’s and 50’s! They told me mixed hair is better or White women’s hair. Most of the Black males at my Company (Major company) always say White women or other races are better and how “Other women” are their preference. I don’t get it! They hate Weaves and fake hair but when Black women… Read more »

Dananana
Guest
Dananana

Lady, you have every right to be hurt by your coworkers’ behavior. It’s incredibly rude and inappropriate, and they’re wayyy out of line for saying those things to you. But please don’t discount Black men or group them all together. The ones behaving towards you like that have had the same self‐hate media bullshit shoved down our throats that we have all had; they grew up hearing that Black women were ugly and inferior to women of other demographics too. These men are just the same ilk as our sisters who think natural hair is ugly and unprofessional. In short,… Read more »

Megan
Guest
Megan

Talk to him in a language he knows. “Teach” him. “Well, the hair shaft of some humans is flat, as opposed to round. That’s what causes my hair to grow up, instead of down, like yours does. Not processing it is healthier for me and I like the way it looks.” Straight face, direct eye contact. I’d be tempted to ask him if he recommended putting lye on your scalp multiple times a year for the sake of appearances. I once had a dental hygienist remark at now much softer my hair was than “other” Black women’s. I let her… Read more »

Primmest Plum
Guest
Primmest Plum

I usually use my same go‐to quip that I use with racists. I play dumb and ask them to elaborate. For example: Doctor (or Offending Person): “Your hair looks like it was struck by lightning!” (Or any other insensitive comment) Me: “What do you mean?” D(oOP): “Well…You know.” At this point the person either elaborates and digs themselves further in the hole or they become sheepish, confused or defensive. Or all three. If they elaborate, just keep pressing them to explain why they found it so amusing. If they become sheepish, and this is VERY important, MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT WITH… Read more »

Primmest Plum
Guest
Primmest Plum

*I meant, you didn’t specify if your doctor was white

Cali Curlie
Guest
Cali Curlie

Yesssss. This works for me too!

I go all wide‐eyed and innocent, while keeping strong eye contract as I respond:

What is that you said?”
“What do you mean?”
[In your case] “Lightning?”

Just stay incredulous and they become a stuttering mess and move along. Meanwhile, the look on my face says I both pity and am slightly scared of their stupidity. Man down!

Primmest Plum
Guest
Primmest Plum

Exactly! I’m glad someone can vouch for me on this method. I swear by this to my friends and they just feel it’s not “direct” enough.

Jennifer
Guest
Jennifer

This is actually one of the most direct methods I’ve found to disengage people who make ignorant comments, as it forces them to think about what actually came out of their mouths. Moreover, it makes it quite clear that 1) I heard exactly what they said, 2) I would like clarification regarding exactly what they said, and 3) I’m not especially bothered by what they said, but simply curious as to what they meant.

That can be a very jarring experience for people who thought they would get away with being “smart butts.”

Cali Curlie
Guest
Cali Curlie

Taisha, I’m very concerned about this situation. I see a rheumatologist also, so I know it’s possible that you’re facing a long‐term health issue of some type. The issue here is deeper than hair. Your doctor -your health caretaker‐ has a serious level of disrespect for you. This disrespect could play itself out in his treatment of your condition. What other prejudices could he be acting upon as he examines you, prescribes meds (or chooses not to), decides on treatment options, etc.? I can only share what I truly believe: my doctors have to care about me as a person.… Read more »

Naturally Sweet 10
Guest
Naturally Sweet 10

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED your response! Great advice!
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/image-11.jpg[/img]

Jill.J
Guest
Jill.J

PREACH!!!

Raven
Guest

He needs to receive a complaint against him. That was VERY unprofessional. Not only did he say it once but twice! It is not as though the two of you are close friends and he is joking with you. His insults should be written down and you need to make a complaint. Change your doctor to someone who is skilled AND professional.

Keisha Gist
Guest
Keisha Gist

Hi Taisha,
Apologies for the hurtful comments from a supposedly medical professional. Please respond with love. It’s obvious that he is not aware of differences among ethnicities. God has given you a teaching moment to enlighten him in an informative and respectful way.
God Bless,
-K

maxine
Guest
maxine

Best and most sensible comment so far..verry wise words,not over-reactional,or confronatatio.

Kerie
Guest
Kerie

That’s sweet and very Christ‐like and as a woman of faith, I respect that BUT there is no way he got through medical school with out knowing the differences amomgst people of different origins. I’m sorry, they teach us that in undergrad. Maybe he just does not realize that he’s offending her…

Megan
Guest
Megan

I have to agree with Keerie on this. Responding with love doesn’t always mean being “nice”. You don’t have to be rude or disrespectful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be direct in addressing his chosen area of ignorance.

Margarette
Guest
Margarette

Actually yes you can make it through medical school without a good understanding of differences of other ethnicities. I’m a doctor I know for fact that if I had not been in some classes and places and have no concept of national hair. If you go to undergraduate where it’s mainly majority and you only take the premed classes it’s actually very easy not have a concept of what other cultures and ethnicities go through. The majority this not understand Black Women’s hair, the cultural significance of it, or history.

Bettina
Guest
Bettina

I’ve been going to my Rheumie for 8 years, we joke back and forth all the time so I can definitely hear him saying something like that to me and not meaning no harm at all. That man is many things but I don’t think racist is one of them. I would just laugh it off and say something like, ‘talk to God not me, he is the one that gave it to me’. But my Rheumie knows that I had to go natural because after I started Imuran for my condition I was losing hair like crazy. I even… Read more »

Denise
Guest
Denise

My main concern in all of this is the level of care this doctor is giving you. His disrespect is evident in what he has said to you TWICE, and it may also be coloring the treatment he provides. And here’s the kicker: it may all be subconscious and he doesn’t even realize that your care regimen is substandard. Get another doctor!

David
Guest
David

Just develop a thicker skin about comments. With the advent of social media people think that they can express themselves like they do on line. It was a proper thing to do to alert the doctor. Good doctors are hard to find and when you have a good doctor, bad personality or not it’s a good idea to stick with that doctor. After all it’s your health center stage here not a lovefest with your doctor.

Sharon J.
Guest
Sharon J.

I’m sorry, but I disagree that good doctors are hard to find. Her condition has been around for centuries. There a plenty of doctors who can treat it and have good bedside manners. No one should have to take abuse from someone he or she is paying.

Kerie
Guest
Kerie

I would first clarify as to whether or not he’s purposely trying to offend me or if he’s mistakenly thinking that he’s funny. His perceived racism may just be a poor sense of humor or he may have black women in his life that allow him to joke with them like that. Both Stem from ignorance so they my look a lot alike. Perhaps you should simply and forwardly ask, “when you make ‘jokes’ about my hair are you attempting to be humorous or do you really have a problem with my hair”? It may serve best to try and… Read more »

BBNWallace
Guest

Acts 10:34 […]truly understand that God is not partial[…] But man however…

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