A psychiatrist shares further reflections on the most recent Court decisions...
I continue to reflect on the recent Supreme Court’s ruling regarding affirmative action with a heavy heart. I have benefited from affirmative action throughout my life. I didn’t get accepted to one of the best medical schools in the nation with a scholarship because of my melanin. They did not just “let me in.” I was a qualified applicant who was viewed through a holistic lens. Lived experience as a Black man matters just as it would for individuals with a disability, those experiencing acculturation, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, individuals from rural area, those growing up in poverty, first generation college students, etc.
Based on the most recent Supreme Court ruling, we as nation our now saying that colorblindness is the way toward diversity. We are emboldening institutions to look through the lens of race neutrality, which, in my opinion, is absurd and dangerous. If race is neutral, then why are people of color disproportionately represented in the penal system? If race is neutral, why hasn’t the racial caste system been dismantled? If race is neutral, why as a Black psychiatrist do I only make up 2% of the psychiatric workforce when 13% of the population is Black? If race is neutral, why do marginalized/minoritized communities continue to be disparaged? If race is neutral, why was there a disparity in sentencing regarding users of crack versus cocaine? We are regressing as a nation who honors the words of trailblazers like MLK with their lips but not with their actions.
I was unaware that the cones of our retinas would neutralize racism.
I was unaware that racial neutrality would ostensibly follow us in our daily encounters.
I was unaware that racial neutrality is like a piano with colorless keys played by non melanated hands.
I was unaware that the human mind is now neutralized to see only white.
I was unaware that the majority has the supreme authority to tell us that race is irrelevant.
I was unaware that racial neutrality would extinguish the flames of pervasive gaslighting.
I am aware that America is bathing in hemorrhagic sins.
I am aware that our nation is in a pre-contemplative stage.
I am aware that the country I love has not always loved me.
Dr Clark is an outpatient psychiatrist at Prisma Health-Upstate and clinical associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville. He served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry, and he currently serves as the Diversity and Inclusion section editor and advisory board member for Psychiatric TimesTM.