Doc McStuffins and the Impact of Black Doctors in New Orleans

By: Kelly Harris, Founder and Editor

During my mother’s most recent visit, she stumbled upon the Disney cartoon hit, “Doc McStuffins.” Excited to see a black girl character, she called her granddaughter, Naomi, from her pile of toys, “Look Nay Nay!”  Translation: “Naomi, look at this black girl doctor on TV.”

In case  you didn’t know, Doc McStuffins is a six-year-old brown girl with a magical stethoscope who fixes toys. She gives them proper medical attention. The cartoon has been praised for providing positive images for young black girls. By the way, Doc McStuffins’ mom is a doctor too.

My daughter’s pediatrician, Dr. Brown, is a black woman. She walks into the exam room in her white coat with a stethoscope around her neck and greets my daughter with a smile and small board books. Although Naomi is too young to appreciate the presence of black women in the medical field (my OB/GYN was a Black woman too), I don’t underestimate the potential impact it could have on her seeing professional faces that look like hers.  I personally know at least five African-American doctors in New Orleans. I’ve been treated by more African-American doctors in New Orleans than any time prior in my life.

I wanted to be a pediatrician when I was young, even though I don’t ever recall having a black doctor as a child. By high school, when I did have a woman of color doctor, I had already changed my career dream.

I don’t regret the path I’ve chosen, but I wish Doc McStuffins had been an option when my siblings and I watched cartoons on the floor-model television in our living room.

I watch my daughter dance to the Doc McStuffins’ theme song. I hope she sees endless possibilities for herself in a city where Black women doctors thrive.  When I think of all the women of color studying to be doctors at Xavier University and other universities across the country, I am confident there are more real-life McStuffinses to come.

 

Kelly Harris is a poet and the founder/editor of BrassyBrown.com

 

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