Memphis Woman Claims White Doctor Called Her ‘Aunt Jemima’
OW Staff Writer | 7/17/2017, 3:52 p.m.
An African-American Memphis woman claims that her doctor recently used an offensive racial slur when he greeted her in his office.
According to WMC Action News, Lexi Carter says that on July 11 her doctor, Dr. James Turner, walked in and allegedly said to her, “Hi Aunt Jemima.”
“I was just sitting there waiting to be seen and he walked in,” Carter told the news outlet. “He had a young girl, physician’s assistant trainee, a student with him and he looked at me and he goes ‘Hi Aunt Jemima.’”
Shocked and offended, Carter says that Turner didn’t apologize for his problematic comments. And to make matters even worse: She claims that he said it to her a second time.
Carter stressed to WMC that what Turner said was racist and insulting.
“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 also shared how his words have affected her.
“I haven’t slept. I haven’t–I haven’t really been able to deal with this. It’s just the most horrible feeling really and I try to understand it and I don’t understand it.”
Turner admitted to the news outlet that he did indeed call Carter “Aunt Jemima,” but denies that he never apologized. In a statement, Turner wrote:
“Ms. Carter is one of our very dear patients and has been for years. She is one of many African American patients and I count it a privilege to be their doctor. Anything I said that tarnishes that image and my respect for her was a misspoken blunder on my part and was not intended to show disrespect for Ms. Carter. I am very sorry for that misunderstanding.”
Look: To call someone “Aunt Jemima” at all—let alone twice—isn’t “mispeaking,” nor is it a “misunderstanding.” It’s 2017, and we all should understand the racial implications of this stereotypical slave character and how it degrades Black women.
It seems that Carter isn’t trying to hear his “late” apology either and has plans to file a formal complaint with the state medical board.