I cannot recall the number of times my academic accomplishments have been attributed to the color of my skin, completely discounting my hard work and academic excellence. This has often led me to experience imposter syndrome in positions that are predominately filled by white people. I was accepted to 10 medical schools and people often told me they weren’t surprised because “the schools have quotas they need to fill”. Most recently, while applying to residency in Psychiatry, a classmate told me “I wonder if you would 100% match to University of Washington if you ranked it first” and backed this claim up with saying that UW has done a poor job of recruiting African American doctors in the past and that I probably have “a higher chance” of matching at this program.
My response to this microaggression:
No, I did not match at UW because I’m black and they need more diversity. I matched at UW Psychiatry because I am qualified, academically exceptional and have the attributes to excel in their program. I worked hard for this. I earned this.
- Elizabeth Richards, MD