A Tennessee woman claims that she walked into her doctor’s office seeking treatment and walked out of her doctor’s office a victim of racism after he flippantly called her “Aunt Jemima,” a reference to the stereotypical pancake personage.
According to Lexi Carter, who is black, she had an appointment on July 11 with Dr. James Turner, who Is white. Upon walking into the room to greet her, Turner allegedly said, “Hi Aunt Jemima!”
“I haven’t slept,” Carter told WMC. “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. I was just sitting there waiting to be seen and he walked in.”
“He had a young girl, physician’s assistant trainee, a student with him and he looked at me and goes ‘Hi Aunt Jemima,’” she recalled, claiming that Turner did not apologize for the remark at the time and went on to refer to her as “Aunt Jemima” multiple times.
“It was an insult, racial ethnic insult, a joke,” Carter said. “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.”
In a statement, Turner apologized for using the term and claimed that he immediately expressed his regrets to Carter after he blurted it out.
“Ms. Carter is one of our very dear patients and has been for years,” the statement read. “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.”
Despite the apology, Carter intends to file a complaint with the state medical board.