A Memphis woman is furious at her dermatologist over what she claims was a racially motivated humiliation when he addressed to her as “Aunt Jemima”, the longtime fictional figure that is a brand name for Quaker Oats products including pancake mix and syrup.
The woman has said that she was severely traumatized by the references which she believes are racist in nature and states that since the incident, that she has been unable to sleep.
The physician has not denied the accusations, claiming that it was a “mistaken blunder” but has apologized although that isn’t likely to prevent him from being sued.
— WMC Action News 5 (@WMCActionNews5) July 14, 2017
According to Memphis NBC affiliate WMC 5 Action News “Doctor: Calling black patient ‘Aunt Jemima’ was a ‘misspoken blunder’”:
A Memphis woman said her doctor greeted her with an insulting racial term during her visit on July 11.
Lexi Carter said her doctor, Dr. James Turner, came into the room and said, “Hi Aunt Jemima.”
“I haven’t slept. I haven’t–I haven’t really been able to deal with this,” Carter said. “It’s just the most horrible feeling really and I try to understand it and I don’t understand it.”
“I was just sitting there waiting to be seen and he walked in,” Carter said. “He had a young girl, physician’s assistant trainee, a student with him and he looked at me and he goes ‘Hi Aunt Jemima.'”
Carter said the doctor did not apologize for the remark at the time. She also said he used the term more than once.
“It was an insult, racial ethnic insult, a joke. It’s putting me on a level of someone who is subservient with a smile–kind of step and fetch it. It was very derogatory, very demeaning. Especially for someone who prides myself in being none of that,” Carter said.
Aunt Jemima is a brand of breakfast foods owned by the Quaker Oats Company. It debuted in 1889 with a stereotypical image of an African-American servant woman.
The woman does have a point here. Whether or not she actually resembles Aunt Jemima, the doctor should have been far more attuned to the sensitive nature of such a reference.