You Don’t Get Me

cross cultural communication, friendship, impact, intent, internship, Micro Aggression

Stacie Walton MD

We live in a world that includes conflict and
misunderstanding. Often these
misunderstandings occur with friends.
Frequently, understanding the “intent” behind the misconception
and its “impact” diffuses the
conflict. Resolving the discord requires leaning into discomfort by embracing a
courageous conversation regarding the impact.
Racism and internalized oppression complicate the relationship between
“intent” and “impact.”

In the spring of 1988, as an intern at a Children’s Hospital in a major urban city, I worked 100 hours a week, which included at least two sleepless nights. As the only African American resident in the program, the isolation could be profound. I found solace in the relationships formed with black ancillary and janitorial staff, and many of my Pediatric patients and families.

I met Jennifer, my closest fellow intern, for lunch. As we talked about the patients admitted to the hospital the night before, a comment from Jennifer filtered in from nowhere…

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