Discussing Race Really Touched a Nerve

Written by Clay Smith

CRT, CRRT, What?!

Yesterday’s post seemed to elicit some powerful emotions. We got several emails and a not so nice comment on the post (comment deleted*). It was a pretty sad day. Emergency medicine is a family. We are there for each other and for our patients 24/7/365. We are a team. Remember, the authors of the Annals of Emergency Medicine article are your colleagues and friends. Also, Eriny and I are your colleagues and friends. We are all on the same team. As I read the article linked above, it was clear that some of our EM team members are really hurting. When one part suffers, we all feel it. The commenter and several emails I received indicated that some readers thought critical race theory (CRT) was the motive behind the post yesterday, which is super funny! Both Eriny and I had to look up CRT. Was it like Continuous Renal replacement Therapy, Clinical Research Trial, Clay’s Really Thickheaded? I chose the editorial because I found it to be helpful and thought you would too. Eriny’s summary was thoughtful and amazing. In short, we thought it would benefit the readers of JF.

Important or not?

I think it’s more productive to just deal with what was said in the post rather than adding a variably-defined label like CRT to the mix.

The commenter on yesterday’s post said the following, which I found to be very sad:

“I can think of few less important things to do than the ‘advice’ in this article.”

What was the advice in yesterday’s post?  Was it important?  You decide.

Eight ways to be helpful

Here is my Spoon Feed version of yesterday’s post.

  • Educate yourself on race and racism.

  • Armed with understanding, humbly ask questions with the goal of being helpful.

  • Seek to help in constructive ways, with consent, when you see discrimination in the workplace.

  • Work to make our institutions equitable.

  • Don’t put all the burden of time and effort to promote equity on minority colleagues.

  • Ensure qualified, underrepresented students and applicants are considered for positions.

  • Consider how equity efforts, like founding a community clinic vs scoring an R01, might warrant promotion.

  • Have a plan to manage law enforcement personnel in the ED and how to handle concerns over use of excessive force.

Let’s take care of each other

This seems like good advice to me.  It also seems important. I have now read several differing definitions of CRT, but the above suggestions don’t seem to fit any of them. Rather, these sound like good, common sense ways to love our neighbors and consider others as more important than ourselves.

I don’t know about CRT, but I am definitely interested in learning how my friends and colleagues, who are different from me, see and feel the world around them.  And I am interested in doing what I can to make things right in my sphere of influence. I wanted the title of yesterday’s JournalFeed blog post to emphasize that we are friends and colleagues, and we are already allies.  But we all have a lot to learn to do things better.

And now the hard part, putting these principles into practice…

Clay Smith


* Anyone is free to comment on these blog posts. But I delete comments that are not civil or are not respectful. Critical is great – then we all learn. Uncivil…not so much. But there’s always Twitter if you want to rant.

Scroll to Top