An Internal Proof
Yesterday, I operated on a beautiful African-American lady who underwent an abdominoplasty. As I was opening up her abdominal wall, I went back almost 20 years to a place and time that I will never forget. It was a busy night in Los Angeles, and I was the chief trauma resident at a level I trauma center in a busy urban medical center. We had patients coming in with grave blunt and penetrating injuries. The scene, as it was every night, was out of a scene from Bosnia or Syria. We all had to do our best to save lives. Although there was a significant graded responsibility, all residents in our team actively treated patients and tried, heroically, to save some of these injured. There was one instance of a patient who had a fairly “simple” gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was evaluated by one of the junior year residents, seen by an attending and taken to the operating room. I was in another operating room dealing with a catastrophic penetrating injury to the neck and chest. I was told that the resident had brought this patient up. I changed rooms while others were working on the chest injury patients to see if I can guide and help. The patient had already been brought up, his abdomen opened and repairs done. You have to understand that when and abdomen is open, all else is covered. You cannot see the patient. Even the skin is covered with a yellowish “saran wrap” type sticker that protects against infections. So, the abdomen was opened and all I could see were the internal organs. All went well and I let the junior residents close up. I told them that I will dictate the operation. I took my gown off and started dictating on the phone in the operating room about the procedure. I started by saying this was a “22 year Caucasian male….”. One of the residents interjected, and I shall never forget, said : “Boss, this guy is African-American”! All this time I was looking in the confines of this patient’s internal structures and I did not know if he was black or white or yellow or any other color.
Yesterday, I covered this patient’s skin and showed my nurses the insides of the wall structure of this patient. Beautiful anatomy. Clean and well preserved, and exactly the same as the next lady who was white. No difference whatsoever. The only difference was the color of the skin.
In a society burdened by the stupidity of racism and its unfathomable nonsense, I have had the privilege of seeing the insides of all races. They are all the same. Same blood, same fatty tissue, same muscle walls, same intestines, same liver, same pancreas, and the list goes on. Racism is an arbitrary and poorly designed exercise in negligent human ignorance. It has no basis.
This simple observation of the sameness of our structures is so powerful to me that it overshadows all other proofs and arguments for unity of races and the reality of our oneness as humans. Only if we could convey this simple proof to all who doubt that as humans we have the same mind, soul, body and existence. We should have the same rights and opportunities and should not ever allow the color of skin, accent, national origin, religious belief come in the way of our just and unified co-existence.
A simple message…about an internal proof.