Memphis woman sues doctor for twice calling her ‘Aunt Jemima’; says she was left traumatized

The doc said it was all a “misspoken blunder.”

A black Memphis, Tennessee woman is considering filing a complaint against her dermatologist for calling her “Aunt Jemima” — twice, according to local NBC affiliate WMC Action News 5.

WMC Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

Clip via WMC

Lexie Carter said that when Dr. James Turner came into her examination room, he greeted her by saying, “Hi, Aunt Jemima.”

Carter claimed that the incident left her traumatized.

“I haven’t slept. I haven’t–I haven’t really been able to deal with this,” Carter said, according to WMC. “It’s just the most horrible feeling really and I try to understand it and I don’t understand it.”

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She described the July 11 incident in a post to her Facebook page.

“Unbelievable. Today I went to see the doctor and he walked in the room and said ‘Hi Aunt Jamima (sic).’ Can you believe that? I have been sick to my stomach all day since then.. I still cant believe it”

Carter said that far from apologizing for the remark, the physician used it at least one more time during her visit.

“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,” she told the station.

Turner admitted that he did use the term to Carter, but told WMC that he’d immediately apologized to her after making it. He also offered this statement:

“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.” – Dr. James Turner


It was too little, too late according to Carter, who said she intends to file a complaint with the state medical board.

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