Problems of Minorities at Majority Institutions: A Student’s Perspective

  • Woodrow A. Myers


The hardest burden that a minority student at a majority institution has to bear is the alienation felt when one realizes that few share one’s point of view. It is not the academic competition that one faces, since one also competes with the brightest students in the country when enrolled at Howard or Meharry; rather it is that of being different and misunderstood It is that self-esteem and self-respect are repeatedly challenged on a racial basis, as well as on a personal basis. There is repeated challenge in all conceivable situations from the first day of med school, when your white lab partner wonders aloud whether one has to keep the same partner throughout the year, until graduation when one sees fewer black classmates than were there on the first day. The challenge is internal as well as external. One is forced into a long “Are you who you think you are?” period and there is little help around to see you through. Many times in the process you want to give up and say that you tried, but more often, fortunately, you try harder and keep going.


Medical Student Minority Student Black Student White Coat American Medical College 


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  1. Association of American Medical Colleges, Division of Students Studies., First-year U.S. minority and foreign student enrollments, 1974.Google Scholar
  2. Association of American Medical Colleges. Fall enrollment questionnaire: Students in 114 U.S. medical schools, 1975.Google Scholar
  3. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1975, 234, 1339.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Woodrow A. Myers
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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