It’s Black History Month: Let’s Get Real

Marilyn M. Singleton, MD, JD

I knew we were turning the corner on Covidmania when I walked by two little girls, one black, one white, playing on their front lawn. They had cheerful, mask-free glowing smiles. They proudly showed me the twisty little creatures they made with pipe cleaners. What a welcomed sight!

As Covid fear was waning, unnerved by the thought that we might regain our happy lives, the government-media complex blared that our society is systemically infected with racism and white people must repent.

The deafening drumbeat of race, racism, and more race is leaving its mark. New York City is using race as a criterion allocating Covid-19 treatments. That will certainly erode trust in the medical system. President Biden is undermining the legitimacy of the Supreme Court by pledging to fill a vacancy, not the best person, but a black female. The issue is not that black female bright legal scholars do not exist, but that the only stated criteria were gender and skin color.

Of course, it didn’t matter that Bush nominee former California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown was a black female when her confirmation for the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. was delayed for two years for the crime of not supporting affirmative action.

To prove their anti-racist creds schools, corporations, and government entities instituted diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) “training.” Is that like house-breaking a dog? Are white people to be figuratively rapped on the nose with an old newspaper? And if obedience school is unsuccessful, we can tax them into submission.

California’s year-old, “first-of-its-kind” Reparations Task Force has determined that reparations should be limited to descendants of slaves who were “kidnapped from their homeland.” Black immigrants are excluded because they have a country to which they can return if they are unhappy with the racist United States. Missing the irony, California’s black female slave descendant Secretary of State posited that Barack Obama had the gumption to run for president only because he was not a descendant of slaves. Thus, he was not—these many generations later—“stunted” by the psychological impact of slavery that left slaves with only enough energy to merely survive. Moreover, Obama did not have limitations “drilled in his psyche.” Exactly who is doing the drilling today? California elected officials? Television shows with black stars? Teachers? Homeboys in the ‘hood? Absentee Parents?

Madame C. J. Walker

Wow! So black people can’t aspire to greatness if they had a slave as an ancestor. Talk about the bigotry of low expectations. Show me the excuse for the success of slave descendant entrepreneur and philanthropist Madame C.J. Walker, considered the first female millionaire in the United States in 1910. And James Derham who went from slave to physician and treated patients of all colors in Louisiana in the 1700s.  

Mr. Antiracism himself, Henry Rogers (aka Ibram X. Kendi) may have bamboozled corporate America into spreading the toxic instruction to find racism in every action and thought in every minute of one’s waking hours. Disturbingly, the American Medical Association as part of its Health Equity Plan aims to “excise the myth of meritocracy.”

With big money at stake, professional football players are chosen for their ability, not their skin color. Is winning games more important than saving patients’ lives? Should we  not be teaching our students to be scientifically curious, compassionate, and have the health of individual patients as their prime concern. Should physicians not attain knowledge at the highest level possible?

Now it seems that political agendas, not patients have taken precedence. A medical school group called White Coats for Black Lives is making the rounds at medical schools. Its stated goals are (1) to “dismantle dominant, exploitative systems in the United States, which are largely reliant on anti-Black racism, colonialism, cisheteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and capitalism;” and (2) to rebuild a healthy future for marginalized communities by abolishing prisons, establishing federal universal health care, ensuring reproductive and environmental justice, and “queer and trans liberation.” Many of us want to improve health care for those who have poor access—black, white, and otherwise. But let’s not sacrifice quality care for individual patients for a broad political movement.

After two years of manufactured fear, negativity, and learned helplessness courtesy of loudmouthed ideologues fomenting unrest, we need a dose of reality. White people are not stamped with the mark of the devil. Every friendly gesture is not a feeble attempt at reparations. It’s just a fellow human being cheerful. Plenty of black and other persons of color have intelligence, strength and ingenuity. We are able to do more than merely survive.

As Ezra Pound said, “a slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.” Don’t wait. Free yourselves.

Marilyn Singleton, M.D. J.D.

About the author: Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is past President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School. Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at UCSF, then her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and administrative law. She interned at the National Health Law Project and practiced insurance and health law. She teaches classes in the recognition of elder abuse and constitutional law for non-lawyers. She lives in Oakland, Ca. Website:; Twitter: @MSingletonMDJD. AAPS.

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