Transracial Parenting »

Is there a Black doctor in the house?



A friend of mine said when she was in college, the teacher asked the class how many had had a healthcare provider who was African American while they were growing up. My friend was shocked at how few hands went up in a multiracial class.

Tin’s doctor was selected even before he was adopted because all of my friends went to her (Elizabeth Milvid, MD), so I thought the same would go for the choice of which dentist to use; I didn’t take into consideration that neither are African American.

However, I quickly became aware of the need for my son to have the experience of seeing someone nearer to his skin color as a medical professional. And that is how we came to drive to another town to see a dentist. A friend had recommended her family dentist and so we got in the car and drove a half hour to see her and when she walked in the room, I noticed that Tin smiled. Worth the trip! I thought.

There used to be a joke, I forget how it goes, where you are asked a question that involves three people and somehow the trick, or the hook, was you were supposed to know the attending emergency room physician was a woman, but no one would guess and so they’d get tripped up. This is an old joke and probably wouldn’t work today. Although there are many excellent African American physicians and dentists, when I was looking for one among my friends, I started to get tripped up. This is puzzling for a city with a majority of nonwhites.

All of my healthcare providers are white. I don’t know how this happened, is it because most health care providers in this city are mostly white? Or is it I gravitate towards white medical professionals? I’m not sure. And I may have never noticed had I not gone looking for a person of color to be Tin’s dentist.

After we left the dentist’s office, Tin said, “I’m going to be a doctor!” I asked him if he’d rather be a doctor or a dentist, and he said, “Actually, I want to be a doctor.”

I’m sure there is a dentist for Tin that might have been closer, but the drive to see Cleopatra Thompson, DDS was well worth going out of our way.



by Rachel Dangermond


April 8, 2013 - 1:30 am

Rachel - Nutrition is so important and so much more easily learned as a child than getting to be an adult and trying to figure it out. Good luck and glad to hear you are nourishing their bodies.

April 7, 2013 - 7:17 pm

Galina - Boy oh boy do I hear ya… I have two in my household who are right at that age when they know it all. LOL Hey, wanetd to tell you that I’ve been thinking of your intended acts of parenting with your children post. This is something that has been in my heart lately as well. I’ve been putting an effort to making sure my kido’s are eating more healthy. After your post, I’ve found myself getting up a bit earlier to make them a warm breakfast before school. My body would rather stay in bed that extra hour before Levi gets up but I know it means a lot to spend that time with them as they are getting ready for school. Thanks for the post and the reminder that even the smallest of efforts makes a huge impact on their lives.

March 25, 2013 - 5:01 pm

Rachel - Thanks Susan – it’s not often with parenting that you see an immediate response to an intention, but when Tin said he wanted to be a doctor, I thought I would drive to Atlanta if I had to!

March 25, 2013 - 4:51 pm

Susan - Love it! I had an African Am ENT before Katrina. I only went once. I can’t remember her name but I loved her!
I love your mindfulness.

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