Author: TZ

What is professionalism to the young Black Pharm.D bound teen from Chicago?

Better yet, what is professionalism to the young Black queer?

I hate kissing ass. I have never been down with that. Yet, going to a university has me thinking about my ways and if they should change. I have always been true to myself, it’s innate.

Not even my own grandmother could stop me from being myself. Then, why do I even think about changing for the sake of professionalism? What is professionalism?

This term has been thrown into my face since late August 2013. “As you are being molded into a health care professional, you must exercise professionalism by all means.”

“Professionalism points will be deducted if you are not dressed accordingly.”

And I could actually write a book filled with quotes from faculty and staff about professionalism and how that’s what I need to be the best health care professional I can be.

This all seems miniscule, everyone has to be professional in their field of study, why are you complaining?

Have you ever heard of respectability politics? That’s what all of this sounds like to me.

The little Black queer from over east can’t really rock with this, I was raised to be true to myself and I’m an active member of the f*ck12 movement. I will not allow myself to be policed, by any means necessary.

Back to respectability politics though, here are a few articles/blog posts for you to refresh your memory

To me, professionalism embodies respectability politics by way of tying my intellect to the way I dress and carry myself. No, I will not talk to patients the way I talk to my friends, but I also refuse to use confusing scientific jargon that I know they won’t understand, because I barely understand it.

It also baffles me that many Black health care professionals succumb to these ‘rules’ and ‘regulations’. We all need jobs, and I understand that completely. You have to eat to live. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad even wrote a series about how to do so. However, I can’t fathom losing myself in exchange for money. I know it sounds ridiculous and maybe I’m just saying it right now, but I can’t live that life in exchange for money. I would go crazy. I am going crazy right now actually.

To think that I have to wake up every morning and head to work in clothes that I might not be comfortable in, and be Black, and be queer (probably really non-binary in appearance), as well as overly aware and hypersensitive to all that is going on around me… Count me out.

My thoughts are all over the place, let me bring it back.

  • I’m not going to wear a suit to work every day, y’all got me messed up.
  • Black people, elders, auntie ‘nem, don’t police me, I get enough of that from those of European descent.
  • If I can pass the tests wearing my Asics and some Nudies, with a V-neck, I think I can just throw the white coat over that and treat the patient just as well.

I’m aware of how the world works, I participate in code-switching, and we are all problematic in some way.

But where you really become problematic is when you lose yourself in the okie-doke. Stay true to yourself and think about those first two questions I asked, in relation to your identity.

Have a great October.

One thought on “Professionalism

  1. Once again. Glo crazy. Refusing to conform and making society bend to you and your mindset is what you pay 50,000 dollars for and deal with all the BS of the outside world for. It’s exactly what the “powers that be” to quote Murdock do in their lives and which is why they succeed and create societal standards.


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