Thursday, Global Grind posted the story of a Black doctor who was disrespected by a flight attendant after offering to help a fellow passenger in distress. A reader commented on our story to share a similar experience her husband faced in Alabama years ago. Global Grind asked Dr. Nicholson to share his story and invites others to speak out about #subtleracism in America, in hopes that we can spark the conversations needed to fix this issue for the millions #livingwithracism everyday.
As a doctor, I’ve always wondered, “If you see an accident on the side of the road, should you pull over to help?” About seven years ago, a state trooper in Selma, Alabama answered that question for me.
I was walking back towards the scene of the accident with my scrubs on when the trooper just abandoned the guy in the car and came running up the hill with his gun drawn saying, “Get back! Get back!”
I haven’t stopped to help at the scene of an accident since.
Yesterday, my wife told me about the Black female doctor who was disrespected on an airline while trying to help a fellow passenger. The flight attendants were condescending and asked her to provide her credentials until a White male volunteered. The Black woman was told her services weren’t needed. They eventually apologized and offered her free flight miles. Her story reminded me and my wife of the episode in Selma.
These things that are being done are inhumane.
When I was 16, me and my friends — all of us Black — were picked up for a purse snatching. One of us was put in the county jail, and the other three in juvenile detention. When the police picked us up, they just put us in the back of the paddy wagon, cuffed us and drove us back to the lady whose purse was snatched. They said, “Do these look like the guys who did it?” She said, “Yes.” They closed the door and off to juvenile detention we went.We were there for three days until the guy who actually did it came forward. Once people in the community found out why we were arrested, he found out and turned himself in.
When people say “All Lives Matter,” it takes away from these experiences.
But it makes people too uncomfortable. You can feel the tension on social media and at work. People want to ask questions, but they’re hesitant. Is it just because it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have? Well, however long it takes, it still needs to be had.
We’ve been saying this for many years.