Although Aunt Jemima is often associated with pancakes or syrup, the name itself can be a harmful reminder of the bigotry and intolerance that exists in our country. For one woman from Memphis, the name became a harmful racial slur when it was used by her doctor during a Tuesday visit.
When Lexi Carter went to see her dermatologist, Dr. James Turner, she was speechless when he greeted her with, "Hi, Aunt Jemima."
"I haven't slept. I haven't — I haven't really been able to deal with this," Carter told WMC Action News 5. "It's just the most horrible feeling really and I try to understand it and I don't understand it."
"I was just sitting there waiting to be seen and he walked in," Carter told WWMC. "He had a young girl, physician's assistant trainee, a student with him and he looked at me and he goes, 'Hi, Aunt Jemima.'"
To make matters worse, Carter said Dr. Turner did not apologize for the remark at the time and he even used it more than once.
"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," Carter told WMC.
Dr. Turner released a statement to WMC Action News 5 wherein he apologized for using the term and called it a “misspoken blunder.”
"Ms. Carter is one of our very dear patients and has been for years. 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,” read Dr. James Turner’s statement.
However, Carter said the apology comes a little too late and she plans on filing a formal complaint with the state medical board.