Post #1: Introduction
The recent murders of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor just up the road in Louisville have raised awareness of systemic racial injustice in our country. I believe it is important to comment on this topic and will use several upcoming posts to do so. I hope this generates some discussion and opportunities for continued learning and growth (starting with myself). First, some qualifiers:
- This is not a political statement. I want to focus on medicine and our programmatic response. However, any reasoned comment on this topic cannot ignore the role of policies in creating and maintaining structural racism.
- This represents my views and perspective. As program director, it also reflects our residency program, but I do not speak on behalf of my residents, faculty, departmental staff, or the broader university.
- Relatedly and most importantly, this represents the views and perspective of a cis gendered white man of high socioeconomic status. I am the beneficiary of race. I have no experiential knowledge of this topic, and while I have vetted these posts with several colleagues and peers, I am certain that parts of this will be insensitive and perhaps inaccurate. I apologize in advance, especially if this somehow adds to the pain of any Black or Brown readers. Please critique these posts harshly and contact me with comments.
Where do we go from here? That’s the biggest question I have for myself and our society, and while I clearly have no answer, there are others with ideas. Research from Movement Netlab, a social movement think tank, frames social movements in cycles: from rising anger, to a trigger moment, heroic phase, disillusionment, learning and reflection, and re-growth (and then repeat).
According to this model, it would appear we are or near the peak, suggesting a contraction is coming. If we want to realize some of the changes the current movement is demanding, it will require sustained efforts to fight through the upcoming waves; on their own, words, institutional statements, and blog posts accomplish very little. With that in mind, I want to orient the remainder of this conversation around three areas within our profession that are necessary for long-term change: learning, reflection, and action.