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The Comfort We Had Is Not Here III of III: You Can’t Give Yourself a Pass

after Anand Swaminathan, MD [ June 16, 2020 ]

Looking back, I think I missed opportunities 
to protect people, times I was passively racist 
if such a thing exists. I heard other people say things, 
and I didn’t correct what I knew was wrong, whether 
it was about race or gender identity or homosexuality. 
I don’t think I ever said anything to a patient, 
but did I treat a patient differently, subconsciously? 
Of course, I did. I don’t want to dwell on it. I want to do 
better, but at the same time, you have to dwell on it. 
You can’t give yourself a pass. I have to take into account
the situation in front of me and the system that created 
that situation, because although I can’t change the situation
in front of me in the moment, there are things that I can do
outside of my clinical time that can help to change that.

There is hope. My eleven-year old knows more 
than I would have at his age. If anything, my friends
are becoming more progressive, that’s hopeful. 
If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d say I was progressive, 
but now I feel like I was living in a bubble.  
The comfort that we had three months ago is not here 
about anything. And this one is much deeper 
because its’s not a disease that will disappear 
in six months or a year, it’s something that’s been here 
forever that will take a lot of work to move past. 
It’s very likely that I will see the end of COVID, 
very unlikely, if not impossible, that I will see 
the end of structural racism. I can live 
another 40 or 50 years and not see the end of it. 
I think that is difficult for all of us.


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