(Getty/Cecilie Arcurs)

Racist mother's tirade in Canadian health clinic is a broader issue: official

The mother who demanded her son see a "white doctor" is part of a "bigger issue," a Canadian medical official says


Charlie May
June 22, 2017 7:22PM (UTC)

When a white woman demanded that her son receive treatment from a "white doctor" at a walk-in health clinic in Mississauga, Canada, it was not the first time an incident of this nature occurred and is a far more broad problem, the president-elect of the Ontario Medical Association told CBC Toronto.

The racist outburst took place at Rapid Access to Medical Specialists clinic and was recorded on video, according to CBC. A mother looking for treatment for her son's chest pains repeatedly insisted to staffers that her son was seen by "white doctor" who "doesn't have brown teeth." She also continued to see a doctor that spoke English. "I don't want to see a doctor who is not white" and does not "help her kid."

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"Oh my god, what type of horrible country do I live in?" the woman asked.

Nonwhite doctors — many of them immigrants — have experienced this type of behavior before. "A lot of physicians who are visible minorities or have accents that suggest that they're immigrants, they face this. They face incidents like this," Dr. Nadia Alam told CBC. Alam said she had been discriminated against throughout her career as well.

"You think that you're a Canadian, that this is your country, this is where you belong. And when someone accuses you that way or treats you that way, you feel like an alien," Alam said.

"I've seen it through medical school, I've seen it through residency, I've seen it on and off through my practice," she explained. "Sometimes it is openly like 'I'm not going to see you because you're this skin color or you have this accent. I want to see somebody else.

The video went viral on social media and was condemned by Premier Kathleen Wynne, a Canadian politician. "I was very shocked," she told CBC, after having seen the video. "There is no place for that kind of behaviour, that kind of racism and hatred, quite frankly, in our society."

One woman in the clinic had enough of the racist mother's tirade and spoke out against her. "Your child clearly has more issues with you being his mother than him needing to see a doctor. You are extremely rude and racist," she told the mother.

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"This is a bigger issue," Alam told CBC. "We need to deal with it not just as the medical community, but on a broader scale as a community in Ontario."


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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Canada Health Clinic Ontario Medical Association Racism

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