A Black woman came out of surgery with more braids than before. Here's why that matters.
India Marshall

A woman's story of how a surgeon handled her braids during a head surgery has gone viral, not just for the thoughtful actions of the doctor, but for what it shows about the importance of representation in medicine.

India Marshall posted her heartwarming story on Twitter:

"So y'all know how I said I woke up from surgery w/more braids in my head than I came in w/and I thought it was the black nurses? I found out today at my post op appt that the surgeon (he's black) did it," she wrote. "He said he has 3 little girls & they have wash day... I almost cried."


"While removing my staples he said, 'Your braids look better than mine, I hope I didn't do too bad,' and I was like excuse me??? YOU did my hair???..." she continued. "You could tell he was so proud to tell me too lol."

"He also said he used staples to close my incisions instead of stitches to avoid cutting my hair when removing stitches," she added.

Marshall explained that she'd had a rare condition of bone growths in her forehead region and the surgery to have them removed meant three incisions behind her hairline. "The surgeon parted and braided my hair to create clean incisions without shaving," she wrote.

On her way home from surgery.India Marshall

"Thinking about this black man braiding my hair to prepare to cut my head open is hilarious and endearing at the same time," she added. "Also the fact that he's that active in helping his wife with their girls, I love it. Moral of the story: find black doctors."

People loved the story—the consideration of the surgeon, the image of him doing his own daughters' hair, and the difference it makes to have a doctor who has personal experience with a patient's culture.

As one person pointed out, "THIS is among the millions upon millions of reasons why we need diversity in medicine. There is a level of care that only people who have walked in your shoes... even just a little bit... can provide."

"This is why the world needs more Black & Brown folks at every level," wrote another person. "Reminds me of Peruvian Indigenous women who showed scientists how they do a specific weave unique to them that taught the medical AI how to stitch skin so that the patient has a quicker recovery time." [The person clarified in a later tweet it was Bolivian, not Peruvian Indigenous women.]

"This experience was meaningful to me because this simple gesture showed I was being cared for by a surgeon that saw me," Marshall told Welcometoterranova. "He saw me as a black woman that would appreciate extra precaution taken with her hair. Not only did he understand this as a black man, but he had the ability and took the time to braid my hair himself."

India Marshall

Marshall added that since she's the oldest of four girls herself, it was extra special to hear that he did the same for his own daughters.

This is why diversity in medicine, as well as other fields, matters. It isn't just about equal opportunity or making a nod to inclusive values. Representation can make a direct, marked difference in people's experiences, and the value of being seen and having a need understood—without having to explicitly explain it—is priceless.

True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

Keep Reading Show less
True

In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

1 / 12

Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

I worked as a substitute teacher in my early 20s, almost exclusively in middle schools and high schools—my age of specialty. Once, I accepted a two-day subbing assignment in a first grade classroom. Only once. Halfway through the first day, as the kids ate lunch in the cafeteria, I sat at the teacher's desk in an exhausted daze. Teaching little kids was a completely different animal than teaching big kids. While adorable, they had so many needs and so little attention span. It was like herding a bunch of flies that constantly needed to go potty.

Trying to herd those flies virtually during a pandemic is too much to even fathom.

So the real-time story that mom and writer Stephanie Lucianovic shared on Twitter of what happened when her son's second grade teacher dropped from the class Zoom call was not the least bit surprising. Hilariously entertaining, but not surprising.

Keep Reading Show less
Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

Keep Reading Show less