Tuesday, November 13, 2007


i went to the dentist a few days ago. when i made the appointment over the phone, the office failed to tell me that my dentist no longer worked there. i know it's a little thing in the grand scheme of things, but i was furious. i adored my dentist. and i don't like going to the dentist anyways. i had gotten used to him and i considered myself loyal, since he "knows" my mouth.

the staff apologized for forgetting to tell me, and asked if i wanted to at least meet the new replacement dentist. i debated it for a few minutes and finally, decided that i would. they told me that he was 'really nice', just out of dental school (literally) and i'd probably like him. um, okay.

so, i'm sitting in the chair, and here comes this young, BLACK man. a black dentist! here in portland? this was a first for me. times must be changing because in the last 3 months i've had a black doctor and now a black dentist for the first time in my life. wow. i was stunned and impressed. i think it would be way too weird to have a black dentist.

actually, it was awkward. although i was impressed that he was a black dentist, i didn't really want him digging around in my mouth. mainly because he was so green. but also because....well, we're both black, and i just felt kind of embarassed to have another professional black person looking around in my mouth (and a black man, at that). i think i had such a high regard for him because of being a black professional and i was so in awe. i know he's a dentist and that's what he does, but still.

plus, i just really liked my previous dentist.

i think whenever i've gone to white dentists during my life, i didn't care much about what they thought about the state of my mouth and teeth. i mean, don't white people (and dentists too) already subconsciously think negatively about black people anyway?

so, i felt so conflicted. do i give this young, black dentist a chance? or stay loyal to my previous dentist? i didn't want to because he was so green. but i also felt like i should give this new, young dentist a shot BECAUSE he's black and i want to support a black professional. would he think less of me once he saw all the fillings in my mouth? i think that's what i was most afraid of.

so, he heard through the office "grapevine" that i was apprehensive about him working on my mouth because i didn't know him. he sat down and started to tell me about himself. he was so young. i told him a little bit about myself, too. i honestly didn't think he cared at all. why should he? yet i wanted to know about him. was he from portland? did he have kids? i explained to him, that i wanted to reschedule. i told him that it wasn't anything personal, it was just that i hadn't planned on a brand new dentist today and it was a lot to take in. he said that was fine.

i left the office and told them i'd call them to reschedule once i had a chance to look at my calendar. it's been almost a week and i haven't called back. i want my old dentist. i keep trying to justify it in my head with the fact that he's so green.


Anonymous said...

You blog about race, yet you're the biggest racist around... "i mean, don't white people (and dentists too) already subconsciously think negatively about black people anyway?"

Why is it ok for you to make a big generalization based on race, but wrong when a white person does it?

Golden Silence said...

"i didn't really want him digging around in my mouth. mainly because he was so green. but also because....well, we're both black, and i just felt kind of embarassed to have another professional black person looking around in my mouth (and a black man, at that)."

I can understand being apprehensive because he's new, but why does his being Black come into the picture? What does his race have to do with his credentials?

But regardless of his being new, I'd give him a chance. I used to go to dental schools and I thought those students did a great job on my teeth. Besides, everyone has to start somewhere.

another anon said...

I agree with Golden Silence. You need to give him a chance; your previous Dentist was once a green young intern (or whatever they are called in America) and people gave him the opportunity to develop his skills, understanding that for a while he may come across as unsure - knowing that this was perfectly normal and in time he would gain confidence.
I'll tell you another thing - when you give a health professional or any professional for that matter a hard time - they discuss it with each other and with other staff members - secretaries, nurses etc - so unless that dentist is incompetent or unpleasant, all these people are usually overwhelmingly on his side. This means they may resent you and tag you as "that difficult/problematic/slot in an appropriate adjective" - client. Sure there will be polite smiles and civility when you show up but you may not get the top notch service you deserve.
Also lok at it this way - change can be a good thing.
I rather suspect that you might not have an affinity for black people - not sure if it is unconcious or delibrate. What are your thoughts?

JD said...

This seems like one of those situations where you might think race has something to do with it just because the races between the dentists differ. However, if my dentist moved, I'd be moving right along with her. I have a lot of anxiety about the dentist because of childhood experiences, and because my family has hereditary dental probs. I went more than 5 years without going to the dentist because I had so much anxiety about it. When I found my current dentist I knew I'd stick with her until she retires. If I walked in and a black dentist had replaced her, I might try to stay BECAUSE I wanted to give them a chance, but if was another white dentist, I'd be right out the door looking for my old dentist! So I think that's what you have to ask yourself. If a white guy of your previous dentist's age and credential had walked in, would you just stay, or would you try to find your old dentist?

Anonymous said...

If you don't give him chance then what example are you setting for white people and other races to give him a chance. Its almost as if your putting "anotha brotha" out of his profession. While I understand that you prefer your other dentist but I agree with what the other post said, he/she was also green and had to practice on someone else to gain the experience to deal with you. At least the new dentist deserve that.

Natalie said...

I think the biggest question is when he sat down and told you about himself did that make you comfortable? Did you like him as a person? If the answer is no go to your old dentist. If the answer is yes then give him a try.

Lee said...

You make me sick.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think its' because he is black that you are having second thoughts! someone else stated that If it were a white person making the comment generally you would be pissed about it! So why should you get to do it? You keep using the term "green " to justify your feelings! You sound afraid because you dont think he is good enough! I am not mad at you for feeling the way you do, this is just not one of my hangups!

Anonymous said...

Remember folks, she insists on her being apprehensive because he's so green. But it's clear in all of her posts that her main concern was: He's so black.

Black girl sees nothing but color in all of her daily interactions. Based on what I've read so far it seems that RACE comes first. White is right. And Black is beautiful as long as it's light. tsk

jasmine said...

Omg lady, you have serious problems!

You're no better than a racist white person. For me, the idea of him being black would have melted away seconds after meeting him. I really don't understand your logic about it being "embarrassing". It's YOUR MOUTH for God's sake and he's a DENTIST. What the hell do you think he's gonna do?!

You're just labeling him "black dentist" - instead of getting to know him just like so many people (unbeknownst to YOU) label you "black woman" and don't even give you a chance to know them.

You're really messed up. And though that sounds harsh, it's quite true. Just stop blogging please because I think it's making you even worse.

And what's *WORSE* is that you've criticized black men in the past - for the way they talk, their approach, what they wear - and then when there isn't one that meets those past criticisms, you have something to say about *him* as well!

I can't help but feel really, truly bad for you.

Sparkle said...

Black people have to stick together. Don't help put "a professional brotha" out of work.

Anonymous said...

Well, hopefully for him, his other (new) patients don't have the same reservations.

It's up to you, and whether you feel he's doing a good job.

If it were me, I'd give him a chance.

But imagine if all people on the planet acted like you... there would be no successful black people. Including you yourself. All human interaction involves some level of trust.

If he's incompetent (with something quantifiable or solid, not just conjecture or twisted wishful thinking), then by all means, ask for another dentist.

amazedlife said...

Wow, people can be rude. I appreciate your honesty. Please keep writing!

: JustaDog said...

I chose my dentist because he gives me options and I make the choices. Other dentists I've tried seem to want to force treatments - without a choice of the patient (customer).

I chose my dentist because of dental skills, experience, and recognition of my power of choice, not by any racial criteria.

Anonymous said...

Hey TBG! I agree with what amazedlife posted! I appreciate your honesty as well but I still beleeive that it is because the dentist is black as to why you have an issue!

Aly Cat 121 said...

*smiling to self* Ummm I'ma go out on a limb here but was ol' cute, attractive, handsome? LOL. I sorta get that feeling that he may have been quite attractive, thus you feeling funny about him looking around your mouth. It's kinda like looking good on the outside but being embarrassed about not "meetin expectations" on your part, cuz I'm sure he didn't care.

But I could just be tripping and reading too much into your post.

lisablisa@gmail.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lisablisa said...

It sounds like this young dentist might intimidate you; perhaps he challenges everything you’ve come to believe about black men. For example he’s probably younger than you, he’s more educated and holds a higher status considering his advanced degree(s). Maybe you’re afraid that he will judge you based on the condition of your teeth and think that you’re “less than.” I think you should think deeply about what it is about this young black dentist that really bothers you and his being “green” sounds like a cop out IMO. Unless your teeth are seriously jacked up I’m confident that he has the training and experience to provide you with excellent dental care. Also did you mention in a blog way back that your “old” dentist was married to a woman of color? If that’s the case perhaps this is another reason you felt more comfortable with the old guy. I say give the new guy a chance or at the very least encourage friends/relatives to seek him out and report back to you; hopefully good reviews from people you trust will make you feel better about supporting his practice.

15/11/07 4:51 PM

Julia said...

I've been reading this blog for a minute, and I have to say you can't have it both ways. You can't complain about the negative stereotypes surrounding and suffocating black folk, then turn around and not give a chance to a brother who's *trying* to break them down. If he seemed unprofessional and too green for you, that's one thing. But from what I read in this entry, that doesn't seem to be the case. I think what I'm trying to understand is what *do* you want out of black people?

Golden Silence said...

"I think what I'm trying to understand is what *do* you want out of black people?"

That is a really good question. I still question whether having this blog is a good idea. I feel as if tbg is stuck in the same circular rut, and this blog is not the panacea to her real-life problems. I think she should log off and get help in the real world.

I'm wondering if there's therapy (group or individual) for people with race-related and racial identity issues. That'd be a good start in the right direction.

another anon said...

I have just reread your initial post TBG; I guess the first time I read it all that leaped out at me was - why did you not want to give him a chance - was it because he was black or newly qualified or both? Now that I have looked over your post again I am struck by some other stuff..
"I just really like my previous dentist". Fair enough, you had a good relationship with him, his wife was black etc but the overriding issue here is - You are more comfortable with whites than blacks. I beleive what may have thrown you about this balck dentist was - here is this young black man, well educated, successful, has achieved a lot- and you simply did not know how to process these realities. Your mind is filled with "ghetto" or "hood " stereotypes which you have labelled so many blacks, comforting images for you as they help you to feel superior - unfortunately for you along comes one who does not fit those stereotypes and bang goes all your carefully constructed images and ideas. The bottom line is you prefer whites and are ashamed of and refuse to deal in a humane way with blacks - this has allowed you to feel that you are somehow better than they, these blacks you despise...these dark skinned women, scarf wearing (and therefore unkempt) women, the man who accosts you outside the store asking for your support, those who envy you (in your fevered imagination)for your white trophy husband, your biracial kids, etc. Now you are confronted with one whom you cannot feel superior to who is in fact already of higher status than your self AND your husband and even worse there is no READY box to slot him into - so you baulk..and talk about his being "so green" and how you are so impressed with him.
HOW PATRONIZING. You. Impressed with a black man don' good. How .....WHITE of you TBG. For is it not from a white person that black people sometimes hear rubbish such as "you're so articulate" and so forth. And just like a white person you might be "impressed" with this black man don' good but that sure ain't enough for you to let some n***a mess with your mouth. And speaking of mouths - this dentist - all dentists in fact (and doctors for that matter) have seen scores upon scores of bodies, teeth, mouths whatever. They are used to these images; if your former dentist has been doing such a great job on your teeth then you should be perfectly happy to allow another dentist to look in there. The bottom line is - even if your teeth were rotting and falling out - it would not shock or horrify a DENTIST not only have they seen much worse but it is their JOB to deal with it. Heck if we all had good teeth all the time they would soon be put of business. Another poor excuse TBG. Another smokescreen.
And another thing - you had no right to question this man about his home or family life. That was completely unprofessional as it has no bearing on his credentials or skills. Your main and ONLY focus should be his ability to get the job done not where he grew up. With time as a relationship builds clients and their doctors do get to know more about each other but at that stage it was intrusive and more of a "fact finding mission". You were simply trying to get a "FIX" on this man so that you could label or box him into a prepared slot, in the process making yourself feel better and reasserting your sense of superiority.
For by marrying white you attempted to escape the "shame and stigma" of being born black; now that you are an honorary white you aim to prove yourself better than other blacks who have not been so "lucky" as yourself..but when you are confronted with the reality of a highly achieving black under your very nose you realise that there are other ways for blacks to better themselves and this knowledge diminishes your own "achievements".
And you do not feel comfortable with that do you, TBG.
This is your first post since "trophy" of which I feel ashamed of you mixed with pity... For a long while I tried to place myself in your shoes, to see things as you did, to try to understand you but this is another incident I CANNOT relate to on any level.
Seek the truth about yourself TBG and take appropriate action. Blogging is a poor mans form of therapy. NOONE here is qualified to give you real help, sure we point out your missteps and chastise you frequently, occasionally we may offer support but ultimately this public forum is not the answer. Talk to someone who is trained to offer help. Seriously.

Sandra said...

I'm just glad I'm not as hung up on race as you are. I thought maybe you were joking on this first post - how could you be serious? I guess I'm just lucky. Hope you keep working it all out and that this blog is a part of that, rather than just exacerbating your issue with black people, and your being black.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, another anon. You nailed. it. TBG, I feel for you. Pity, probably, but I want you to feel better about yourself. Maybe a professional can help you with that. This -- not my post, not others' -- can't actually change your thinking and that's what seems necessary to get you to a place where you can accept yourself AND others, all in the same breath, without judging people in relationship to your tiny personal experience.

Anonymous said...

You're very brave to write about things so many people seem very touchy and intense about. You write in an honest calm way about difficult matters, and I think that's the way of intelligence.

Delux said...

I grew up with three doctors in my (very) Black American family. Negro medical professionals do happen.

Anonymous said...

I'm 40 years old and all the doctor's i had growing up were black americans. I think that you just have a negative attitude toward black professionals and that you would have felt more comfortable if the dentist was white. Don't get me wrong it's your mouth so do has you please,but if you don't show your support to another black professional...what do that make you?

Annabelle Blue said...


I cannot stop laughing at this post.

blackbarbie. said...

that almost sounds racist.
im just saying.

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