4/17 Poem “We Wear the Mask” and Tweedy

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    brookeni
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    The poem “We Wear the Mask” mentioned in lecture reminded me of the 5th chapter of Tweedy’s book titled “Confronting Hate”. In this chapter, Tweedy has to treat a man named Chester that he knows has made very racist comments about not wanting to be treated by a black doctor. Tweedy has to put on this mask to cover up how offensive this is to him and treat Chester anyway even though Tweedy is hurt and scared of what else may happen while treating him. He knows that he could try to switch Chester off to other doctors but he does not let this patient define him. He later starts to bond a little with Chester and his family members but this does not take away from the Chester’s initially racist comments when he first arrived at the hospital. Tweedy describes how much tension he felt when treating Chester – which I call the mask- and how only a little bit of this tension left him when the family started to bond with him instead of not having to have any tension at all in the first place. In this chapter, Tweedy also encounters an African American man who does not want to be treated by him at first. The man stated “‘I didn’t come all the way to Duke to see no black doctors unless he’s some kinda expert’…Robert saying that black doctors were incompetent, and that I was his latest example” (Tweedy, 123). Again, Tweedy must wear a mask and act like it is okay for someone to be saying this to him and he chooses to just show them how good of a doctor he really is. Both of these experiences really hurt him though because these people assumed he was nothing just because of the color of his skin and this view even came from another African American gentleman. Tweedy is afraid that he will be known as being too racially sensitive so he wears his masks and treats these patients the ways that he knows he can and proves them wrong.

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