A woman in Memphis claims that when she showed up at her doctor’s on July 11, he greeted her with an offensive racial term.
Lexi Carter says that her doctor, Dr. James Turner, walked into the room and said, “Hi Aunt Jemima.”
“I haven’t slept. I haven’t–I haven’t really been able to deal with this,” Carter stated. “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,” Carter went on. “He had a young girl, physician’s assistant trainee, a student with him and he looked at me and he goes ‘Hi Aunt Jemima.'”
According to her, the doctor did not apologize at the time and repeated the name repeatedly.
“It was an insult, racial ethnic insult, a joke. 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,” Carter said.
Aunt Jemima is a brand of breakfast foods owned by Quaker. It started in 1889 with a stereotypical image of a black servant.
The term Aunt Jemima is thought to be derogatory, demeaning as well as racist as it refers to a servile acting black woman who works for whites.
The doctor has admitted he said the words but also says that he apologized to Carter immediately.
“Ms. Carter is one of our very dear patients and has been for years. 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.”
Carter says the apology is too late in coming and she will be filing a formal complaint with the state medical board.