A black women in Memphis is claiming that her doctor called her “Aunt Jemima,” using the derogatory label when she showed up for her doctor’s appointment.
Lexi Carter was in the office of Memphis-based Dr. James Turner last week, when he greeted herwith the words, “Hi Aunt Jemima,” according to WMC Action News.
“I was just sitting there waiting to be seen and he walked in,” Carter said. “He had a young girl, physician’s assistant trainee, a student with him and he looked at me and he goes ‘Hi Aunt Jemima.'”
He also called her the term more than once.
Aunt Jemima was a brand of foods, owned by the Quaker Oats Company, that uses a stereotypical image of a black servant woman as its mascot. The image has been used since the brand debuted in the late 1800s.Today, it is considered a racist and derogatory term.
“It was an insult, racial ethnic insult, a joke. It’s putting me on a level of someone who is subservient with a smile—kind of step and fetch it. It was very derogatory, very demeaning. Especially for someone who prides myself in being none of that.
Turner released a statement addressing the incident: “Ms. Carter is one of our very dear patients and has been for years,” he wrote. “She is one of many African American patients and I count it a privilege to be their doctor. Anything I said that tarnishes that image and my respect for her was a misspoken blunder on my part and was not intended to show disrespect for Ms. Carter. I am very sorry for that misunderstanding.”
They both dispute whether or not Turner apologized in the moment.
Carter, who says she has been emotionally impacted by the incident, plans to file a formal complaint with the state medical board.