A black doctor is challenging perceptions with a viral TikTok video calling for people to treat him with respect — no matter how he’s attired.
Dr. Emeka Okorocha, 27, an emergency room physician from London, wanted to show how clothing disproportionately affects how people of color are treated amid nationwide upheaval following the killings of George Floyd and several other black Americans.
“If you respect me in my scrubs, respect me in my hoodie,” reads the caption of the timely clip, which has been viewed more than 835,000 times on TikTok. “No to racism. No to discrimination.”
In the clip uploaded June 4, Okorocha can be seen changing from a pair of blue medical scrubs into a black Nike hoodie while Childish Gambino’s racially charged “This Is America” blares in the background.
“It shows the contrast of how people see us in society,” the doc-turned-political commentator tells the Daily Mail, adding that he came up with the idea after seeing another video of a black lawyer being asked to be celebrated sans uniform. Okorocha decided to make his own TikTok version after joining a chat group of mostly black doctors who had also experienced dress-based discrimination.
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♬ Childish Gambino – This Is America / Post Malone – Congratulations – carneyval_
Okorocha says the social commentary is particularly resonant as the public praises emergency responders on the front line of the coronavirus fight amid simultaneous Black Lives Matter protests spawned by the deaths of black Americans in police custody.
He alluded to the phenomenon in an Instagram repost of the clip which has garnered another 14,000 views: “I don’t want to be clapped for and celebrated when I have my scrubs and PPE on only to see myself and others who look just like me racially profiled for wearing a simple hoodie,” the same garment worn by Trayvon Martin when he was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, in 2012.
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