Posted by: scribe9 | September 6, 2010

What color is your prejudice?

The cover story on a major monthly is “Why white boys aren’t making it in medicine: The changing face of our doctors.” It seems to have been instigated by a handful of surgeons who were upset (which is probably putting it mildly) that their sons didn’t make it into medical school, although they would have in the past. Of course a large percentage of each medical school class is white and male; the classes just aren’t as overwhelmingly white and male as they used to be

There’s the usual finger-pointing at Asians, who do so much better academically because their parents push them so hard (while the white boys are distracted by sports and drinking), but gosh, they just don’t have the cultural skills to deal with Maori. And then there are the older patients, who will always look to the white male in the group around the bed, even if he’s just a medical student and all the others are at least medical school graduates.

I was in conversation recentlywith a couple of English immigrants who bewailed the obesity of Maori, which is a serious problem. When I mentioned that it’s also a major problem among Pakeha (whites), talk was quickly steered in a different direction.

A few months ago, a well-known racist was quoted as saying he didn’t see the big deal about Nelson Mandela; New Zealand could just as well pull a long-incarcerated Maori out of jail and put him at the head of the government.

So racism is, unfortunately, just as much a problem here as at home.


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