If You Like Your Surgeons With A ‘Sense Of Urgency,’ That’s ‘White Supremacy Culture,’ This Medical School Says

"This plan reflects the School of Medicine’s goals."
(Getty Images)

If you like your doctors and nurses to show a “sense of urgency” when caring for you and your loved ones, you might just be part of “white supremacy culture,” according to one prominent medical school.

Duke University School of Medicine released a strategic plan in recent years claiming that having a “sense of urgency” is part of “white supremacy culture” and suggesting that forcing this expectation on people of color is “discriminatory.”

“In the workplace, white supremacy culture explicitly and implicitly privileges whiteness and discriminates against non-Western and non-white professionalism standards related to dress code, speech, work style, and timeliness,” the document reads.

“Some identifiable characteristics of this culture includes perfectionism, belief that there’s only one right way, power hoarding, individualism, sense of urgency and defensiveness,” the document adds.

The 2021 guide, which Fox News reported on Tuesday, defines white supremacy culture as the “idea (ideology) that White people and the ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions of white people are superior to People of Color and their ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and actions.”

Titled “Dismantling Racism And Advancing Equity, Diversity And Inclusion in the School of Medicine,” the document says the goal of the plan is to “catalyze anti-racist practice through education of our current and future workforce.”

The dean of Duke Medical School, Dr. Mary Klotman, praised the plan at the time of its unveiling.

“This plan reflects the School of Medicine’s goals, priorities and strategies relative to the path we have been on, the path we are currently on, and the path forward,” Klotman wrote in a message accompanying the document.

“We are proud of our longstanding commitment to diversity and excellence and yet we acknowledge that there is much more work to do,” she said.

The document also included a definition of “white fragility,” which it says refers to “feelings of discomfort a white person experiences when they witness or engage in discussions around racial inequality and injustice.”

The idea that timeliness is a value of “white” culture has been around for at least the past several years.

“In a world driven by capitalism, professionalism … centers productivity over people, values time commitments, accomplishes tasks in a linear fashion, and often favors individuals who are white and Western,” reads a 2019 article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “In contrast, polychronic cultures, while still able to get tasks completed, prioritize socialization and familial connections over economic labor.”

Other professional expectations that have been criticized as too “white” are speaking “white standard English” and keeping anger in check at work.

Meanwhile, equity advocates have pushed for medical schools to stop requiring the MCAT in recent years, alarming critics who worry that schools could end up graduating less qualified doctors, putting patients at risk.

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