The Story of OJ by Jay-Z speaks to so many issues that it is difficult to touch on it all in one paper. The idea that stood out to me most was the idea that no matter what you do, how much affluency or status you gain, you will still just be considered a “nigga” to the outside world. Another lyrically interesting thing is that he discussed the issue of creating and maintaining generational wealth within the Black community. The lyrics read: “You wanna know what’s more important than throwin’ away money at a strip club? Credit. You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it. Financial freedom my only hope. F*ck livin’ rich and dyin’ broke…”

Interestingly enough, I’ve heard these narratives my entire life. My parents are both older, from Alabama and North Carolina, states where they both experienced racism and even attended segregated schools. As I grew up, my parents were constantly getting new promotions or starting their own business. Along with the success they had, my parents had the “still nigga” talk and how to properly manage money because “black people blow it all on non-essential things unlike our white counterparts” talk often. They shared with me their “still nigga” moments on the job when white counterparts attempted to undermine my mother’s authority as their boss because of her skin color, or when my father tells me that he irons and starches his white coat every night because he has to look 100 times better just to command the same level of respect.

As prepare to enter the medical field, there have been countless times that I’ve encountered situations where I was the only black female at a conference, or the only black healthcare intern on a case management team of a poor black child living in poverty, but because I was only an intern my voice was seen as inferior to those who already held degrees. But what I had that the degreed individuals did not have was the Black experience, knowing the limitations and boundaries that affect this family on a daily basis. Experiences like these show me the great responsibility that comes with being an African American doctor. Many people say Race in America has progressed, but in actuality it has just taken on a different mask than the one worn in my parents generation. Moving forward as a future physician, it is interesting and almost ironic to see the systematic racism I will have to fight on behalf of my patients, while still encountering and fighting those very same issues for myself, regardless of the Dr. that sits in front of my name that so many people think provides immunity to the Black experience in America. I realize that my most important contributions will not necessarily be in a hospital room, but out in the communities pouring into the young black minds and showing them a different narrative than the usual picture of African Americans perpetuated by society.

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Camrie Hendking

Camrie Hendking

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