Oral Health Group

Blackness and the Benedict of the Doubt

August 13, 2020
by Dr. Peter Nkansah

Peter Nkansah DDS 9T3, 9T6 MSc Anaes is an assistant professor in the graduate specialty program in dental anaesthesia, as well as an instructor in the Faculty’s Continuing Education program. As well as running a successful private practice, he is also the dentist of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

Recently, I read an opinion piece by Dr. Zaneta Hamlin in the American Dental Association’s New Dentist News. Dr. Hamlin is a Black female dentist “with [dread]locks” practicing in Virginia. In her piece she expressed some outrage at her experiences with race-based microaggressions (“When is the doctor coming?”) and macroaggressions (e.g. being stopped by the police, ostensibly for no other reason than being Black and driving a nice car). To be a Black professional in North America means that these, or similar experiences, are nearly universal. This is a time for reflection and for change. The murder of George Floyd for all to see during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown created the “perfect storm” to re-ignite action against racism in general, and anti-Black racism in particular.

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