Monday, January 28, 2008

names

i finally picked out a new dentist. you might remember several posts ago i talked about a new, black dentist who had taken the place of my old dentist. i thought about it long and hard. yeah, i had some funky issues about a successful black dentist digging around in my mouth, but i decided that mainly it was about wanting someone with more experience. i may have chosen to go with the black dentist if he had more experience, but he didn't.

why should i feel guilty or, like i'm not giving a brother a chance? it's strictly business. my first inclination was to feel guilty. but i'm not going to, because i have the right to have a dentist with more experience.

so, i hope this doesn't sound bad. i called the dental office last week to schedule an appointment, as i had much needed work to be done on my teeth. i explained that i didn't really want the replacement, because i wanted someone with more experience. the receptionist named off two dentists. one of which had the last name of Nguyen. my first thought - and i hope this isn't too terrible- was that i wanted to go with the asian dentist. simply because almost all the asians i've known in my life seemed like perfectionists and also seemed smart.

and that's how i made my choice. isn't that a huge stereotype? that all asians are smart? is that offensive to an asian to say that i assumed they were smart simply by being asian? i thought about that for a while. it's a generalization, but isn't it a good generalization?? i have to be honest and say that if the stereotype for black people was that we were all say, hardworking and honest, even if it weren't true for everyone, i don't think i'd be offended by it.

i went to an online open forum that i frequent and asked the same question because i kinda surprised myself about the way i chose the dentist. when i called the office, i was just ready to take any ol' dentist with more experience -until i heard the last name.

27 comments:

Annabelle Blue said...

I usually identify with a lot that you say, but I just don't get this whole dentist thing. If it had been a WHITE new dentist with little experience, would you feel the same way? I am personally kind of offended by you feeling weird about having a black dentist. I'm SURE you feel awkward about Obama then!

Weird, I had a young, black dental hygienist clean my teeth in April and I never thought he didn't know what he was doing. The thought never crossed my mind. It was a very unpleasant experience because he talked the whole time and was preaching to me about being black and how I was very privileged. For those reasons, I never wanted him to come near me ever again, but it had little to do with his race. And yes, that was the first black male dentist/assistant I'd ever encountered.

Your stereotype about Asians is a popular one, but I would tell you that you're in for a rude awakening if you think they won't fuck up because you think all Asians are perfectionists. I kind of hope Nguyen does fuck up on your teeth just so you'll learn a lesson.

All this self-hatred that you have towards yourself is disturbing to me.

Golden Silence said...

I am baffled beyond belief.

Why does the race of the dentist matter? When I need a cleaning, or a cavity filled or a sealant, I'm not thinking about whether or not the person's Black, I'm thinking about whether or not they're qualified for the job!

And even if it is someone just starting out, as I said in my previous response to your first post on this, they've all gotta start somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Did you ask how much years of experience this Nguyen Dentist have over the Black Dentist? It may be a year or a couple months. And your stereotype isn't very general, I have seen alot of asians that are not perfectionist. They are sometimes worst than many black people. From reading yuor posts it seems like you just want anybody besides a black person even if they have over 10 years of experience they still wont be good for you. What was the other name? some other common black name like norman or something that could hint it was black? You need help.

Lee said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chandy said...

You're funny, really!

I can't say though I share your stereotype of Asians. Perhaps only in the U.S. is this generalisation actual.

What I can admit to is that I too hold rather strong prejudices towards certain peoples, like Americans with their dodgy certificates. Given the choice of an experienced U.S. dentist or one, say, from Switzerland, I'd definitely go with the Swiss......

Anonymous said...

To get to the bottom of Asian "perfection," go have a bunch of manicures by them. You'll find that they can be just as lousy at it as anyone. And there are plenty of them practicing the trade! They are like anyone else - some are great and some are lousy.

lisablisa said...

If your previous dentist was so experienced and so wonderful why do you need to have so much work done on your teeth so soon after his departure? Sounds like he jacked up your teeth and left a mess for someone else to fix.

Reasonably Happy Gal said...

lisablisa makes a pretty good point.

I am directly opposite of you, TBG. If I have the opportunity to have a black person - or any person of color - do any service for/on me, I always give the black person the first shot. And if I can't get a black doctor, I try to get a woman.

I have found that black doctors/dentists/whoever are usually more empathetic (willing to listen to my medical issues) than white doctors are with me.

My current doctor is Asian. He was the only doctor who took my form of insurance. He's great. But he's my doctor based on the fact that he was the one who took the insurance card, not his race or how much experience I feel he has.

Fate happened to work out for me this time. And that might have happened with you had you given young, black dentist a chance.

Natalie said...

There is no such thing as a good stereotype. It is still a generalization based on racial/gender/socioeconomic characteristics and not truth.

queenkim said...

i kind of understand the whole 'black dentist'.
im the same but i dont really let it bother me as much as you, in regards to doctors/dentist i prefer asians, not because of the whole 'asians are smarter' stigma, i just do.
i think it has more to do with what your used to - all my life ive had asian doctors/dentist so i feel more comfortable discuss medical/personal things with them.
but that being said, i was enquiring about registering to m uncles dentist who he told me was black to which my response was 'what, a black dentist? it's ok' and it was never mentioned again.
its up to you in the end because you do have to be extremly comfortable with your doctor or dentist.

cardiowhore said...

TBG
The majority of people beleive in stereotypes! Good or Bad. I would take peoples opinion with a grain of salt. We all have some presumptions about people all the time. I dont think you need to beat yourself up about it. As I have said before, I admire the fact that you are honest with your feelings. Because there are many people that think along the same lines as you, but the do not have the gumption to admit it. I am not saying if you are right or wrong. I am simply saying that while you read the post of people here, including mine, wonder if they admit to their own presumptions or stereotypes.

Annabelle Blue said...

Well, I like intelligent, kind and understanding doctors who LISTEN to me. They can be purple for all I care. And that's what it should be about. Who the eff cares what race they are?

Keigh said...

You should do some searches on the "model minority" myth.

No stereotype is a good stereotype.

Anonymous said...

Picking the Asian dentist was definitely based on a stereotype. I started reading your blog a few months ago and a lot of the things you say just take me by surprise but this post by far has really got me thinking. I wonder if you would've grown up around more black people or people of other races if you would still think the way you do.
Your comment at the end of your post about being ready to just pick any 'ol dentist..how would you know that you weren't picking another black dentist. Then what would you have done? You can't assume by last names what race/ethnicity someone is.

DDS chica said...

I am a black female dental student and reading this blog entry was a shock to me! It is quite disturbing to think that in a few years I may be encountering people who share your views in my practice. As a future dentist, and a young black female, I am saddened that you dismissed the black dentist mainly because of his race and justified your actions by saying he is inexperienced. I think if the new dentist were white---or even asian-- the question of experience wouldn't even be an issue. Maybe I am naive but I never thought someone would regard me as being incompetent because of my skin unless they were racist, & never once have a thought that a fellow black person would have those thoughts. In my opinion, the dental profession has a very very very small percentage of blacks. Dental schools only take the BEST minorities (black or otherwise) to fill only a few spots because they are so competitive to get into. So it is very possible that the "green" black dentist could have graduated at the top of his class or could have been one of the smartest in his class. Give people a chance before you look at their skin color. This is why discrimination still exists today.

TBG said...

dds chica, the part about him being black and me not wanting to go to him was NOT because i felt he was incompetent, the way a racist white person would assume. it had everything to do with feeling insecure about him being this professional, ideal black man, looking inside my imperfect mouth and feeling like him as a black man might look down on me and not see me as the person i want people to perceive me to be. i actually love the idea of having a black doctor, dentist, etc.

Anonymous said...

First time I have been on this site and I read about discrimination to the fullest. Great. You are something else, and I don't mean that as a compliment!

Marg said...

"the way a racist white person would assume"--btw, before you read this I'm white. I have to say, firstly, that not all white people think like this. I don't know if you've ever heard of a concept called affirmative action, but generally, universities, professional schools, and places of employment have diversity goals(similar to quotas) which they are supposed to meet. If they do not meet them, they can expect to lose a good chunk/all of their federal funding. Ideally affirmative action is supposed to be used to differentiate between 2 equally qualified candidates and to take the "minority" one. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, this doesn't always happen. Thus, for example, in Medical School they may take a black person with a 32 MCat as opposed to a white guy with a 34. This process then repeats itself whenever that person has any hiring opportunities, admission to competitive areas, etc.
This used to be my justification for not going to a black dentist or doctor. Not that they would be "worse" doctors/dentists, but that their academic credentials would be worse. Which, statistically, they often are--(not by a lot hopefully, but there is always some slight difference). In respect to the Asian doctor, you can argue that white people are affirmative actioned in compared to Asians, but that's a diff area all by itself. However, while the average black doctor from harvard probably won't have the stats of an average asian/white guy from Harvard he will still be better that asian/white people at some no-name schools. Really at this point,you can argue that a black person receiving a 38 on their MCATS, and a white guy getting a 40 isn't too statistically different to worry about. It's at the lower levels where people worry about, at the lowest tiered schools where these small differences make a difference. Its the diff between a 100 and 130 iq, and a 100 and 70. It's the same numerical difference, but depending where on the scale it is utulized makes a huge difference.
(Oh, and sorry for all the MCAT references- I'm a little obsessed with that test-just so you have some idea what I'm talking about-it's in a way the SAT of medical school-average score is 25-a good score for a highly competitive school is 35- and harvard's average is around a 37? not sure)
So, looking at what I said before, your black dentist might have gone to a Harvard quality dental school, and that Asian dude could have gone to a "bad" school. Acting on stereotypes isn't the greatest idea. I try to act on facts- I look up what school the doctors I plan to go to have gone to, what residencies they matched with, and the year of graduation, and their high school record if it is available as well. Then if they're a minority I consider them slightly academicall underqualified, white-qualified, asian over-qualified. H/e, academic qualification isn't everything, and sometimes its better to have a slightly less qualified doctor with a better bedside manner/relates to you better.etc. End of rant. XD

Anonymous said...

I have to say I disagree with you, tbg. The term 'model minority' comes to mind when you speak of the stereotype that all Asians are smart. The stereotype can be detrimental to Asians who feel pressured to be perfect and discover they're not. This can cause low self esteem because they don't live up to the 'model minority' tag they've been labeled with beforehand.

Anonymous said...

marg...

You beliefs are completly disgusting. How can you judge whether or not someone is qualified or not by the color of their skin? It's nice to know that beacuse I am black people like you will shave 'points' of my achievements. If you would do your research the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action are...WHITE women. Yes...WHITE WOMEN. Racist people like yourself always assume that a blak person who has gotten to a position did so because of affirmative action. You cannot possibly fathom in your tiny mind that a black person, worked just as hard or even harder than their white counterparts. Guess what? When is comes to admissions, a white person with an MCAT of 34 can be beaten by another white person with a score of 32 and vise versa, along with any racial and gener combination you can think of. As a white person, you give white skin way too much value. Being white doesnt automatically make you more qualified...and in a way isnt that a form of affirmative action. I bet when confronted with a white doctor, you do not think they got through life because of nepotism orlegacy like many white do. Look at George W Bush for God's sake he is an idiot and white like you voted for him twice. He got through life by his own form of affirmative action, help form his daddy and his privilelged upbringing and white skin didnt hurt either. Do you attribute his incompetance to his race? No i bet not! If he was black you and millions of people would and hell he would ver have had a chance at the white house. So next time you see a white woman prfessional, assume that she is where she is because of affirmative action, because it has probably helped her and YOU more than any other 'minority'. Sorry but that is the truth. A black person who has gotten into a good profession did so because they deserved it and in this racist society it is a great feat because of people like you so I know they are superstars!

tbg said...

for the record, i was NOT saying that the dentist was incompetent because he's black. that was not the point of the post. i guess my earlier post on the subject explains it more.

Anonymous said...

marg...

You really are ignorant!! I was laughing soooo hard when I read your post. Contrary to popular belief...not every black person in medical or dental school got lower than the white kids in their class. As a matter of fact, most of them got the same scores or higher. You really are an idiot for thinking that most black ppl they accept have lower credentials than the white kids. I guess it is a scary thing to think that OH MY GOD that BLACK kid could have worked hard and gotten higher score! Well guess what? Wake up an smell the damn roses. I am Black, I'm in dental school and I have one of the highest DAT scores among the applicants in my class. I find it hilarious when ppl blame their poor test grades on affirmative action to sleep better at night.

Anonymous said...

You are a piece of work! It your mouth so you can have anyone you want,but It's people like you who don't up lift people of color, because you are a black racist. That's right you are a RACIST and you know you are and you don't even give a damn! You need to wake the hell up because the same people that you put down and discredit looks a lot like you just might be the same people that you might have to ask for help.

Florida Girl said...

You have a mind thats has some serious stereotypical issues. People assume that because I'm Jamaican I listen to Marley and my white mainland friends all listen to Incubus and black ones listen to 50 cent. People come in all personalities that don't have anything to do with race! Some Asian people I know aren't that smart. I have known smart Philipino people. Why do you assume things you can't prove unless you have met many people from many different backgrounds and races.

gloomgurl said...

ha ha. ghetto girls make me cringe too. they always gave me a hard time in high school, because i talked proper english and dressed in goth clothes. i was kind of scared of them in high school, but now i'm just disgusted by them. but i guess you wouldn't like the way i dress either. i'm in my twenties and i dress like a emo/punk teenager sometimes, and sometimes i dress prep/glam. But i do hate those ghetto fabulous girls. whenever i go to the mall or walmart, i see them traveling in packs! it's kind of gross.

Anonymous said...

I think you can never judge a person by the color of their skin. In looking for a good dentist you should look at their credentials, experience, and not by just their race. I actually don;t think that Asians are stereotyped as "smart" they are rather stereotyped as being good at math, science, and economics.You have to really see people for people. I would suggest you may connect with different types of people of different races and study different cultures. Take a break from Portland :)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more, comrade! You and gloomgurl are a dying breed in this world that's becoming further godless. I hope to see you two out at rallies, waving the red, black and white flag of freedom!