Dr. Subbio of Philadelphia, a prominent social media surgeon, had recently received a US trademark for his “character” called Tuck Daddy®. We couldn’t help but notice how much this satirical character resembled various black music artists and icons. Upon enquiry into the potential coincidence, Dr. Subbio confirmed it was no coincidence but rather “cultural borrowing”…
Although his response was intriguing, we noticed the collection of racially biased posts spattered amongst his account which did not demonstrate an “admiration” nor “appreciation.”
We’ve added a quick compilation below…
Anyone who put’s “stay weird” next to their “culture borrowing” is not honoring the culture but instead degrading it. But, this cultural denigration was not just limited to the “Tuck Daddy®” character or hip hop culture but black culture more generally. In his COVID video, he generally mocks “da fonk”; this relates to the 1970s Funk era of black music and he erroneously fuses “dat ass” to anything he associates with black culture (regardless of time span). 1970’s funk artists were by no means “ass” obsessed and neither were Run DMC a decade later. Why then is Dr. Subbio’s constantly making references to “Booty” and “Dat Ass” whilst co-opting black culture? Is this some repressed appreciation of black ASSets? OR just more straight up racism? Either way, it’s gross and getting your kid to quote “tuck that booty” before he can even string whole sentences together shows how nefarious intergenerational racism is. Mini Tuck won’t understand his future latent resentments and why he might not take black men and women seriously until he realizes that his little brain was pre-programmed against it.
Unfortunately, this type of bias is just as insidious within professional bodies as it is the family structure. By Dr. Subbio’s own admission, he “finds it hilarious that a surgeon (the most stiff, humorless, and bland of professions) has an alter-ego more akin to a pimped out rap/rock star. I just find it funny because the idea is so fucking stupid.” At no point does Subbio consider that his bastardized representation of an “alter-ego” may actually just represent culture for any of his doctor or professional colleagues. He makes it clear who he thinks fits the standard image of a “surgeon” and it definitely isn’t anyone who’s dress sense or cultural touch points are anything like his “character.” The big problem is that racial bias and hostility manifests itself professionally through hiring behavior, firing behavior, disciplinary action and general feelings towards a person’s qualifications. If a young medical student from Philadelphia (a city that is 40% black) with aspirations to become a famous plastic surgeon applied to shadow Subbio was seen wearing a track suit and gold chain would he get a fair shot against his “stiff, humorless, and bland” counterpart? A niggling feeling makes me think that Subbio might find that “so fucking stupid.”
In the US and UK doctors of Black and African descent face incredible barriers to entering the field of medicine and just as many barriers to staying and excelling within the profession. In the US, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges just 4% of practicing doctors are African-American. Within plastic surgery, just 3.7% of African American medical graduates are enrolled in plastic surgery residency programs. And even if you make it into your preferred specialty, Black and ethnic minority doctors continue to face discrimination and bias in how their work is assessed. In the UK, ethnic minority doctors are twice as likely to be referred to the GMC by their employers for fitness to practice concerns; as compared to their white counterparts. Fabrications like the Tuck Daddy® “character” further reinforce the issues of racial bias within the profession. Racial bias within medical workforce represents a massive issue and a dangerous precedent for a diverse public which entrusts it’s well-being into the hands of the brightest physicians.
Ultimately, it’s the 4% black doctors and black patients that will continue to have to “pay the debt” for the bias of prominent physicians like Dr. Subbio. Unfortunately, when droves of practitioners receive their Tuck Daddy® “merch” the bias will continue to spread like a cancer of the mind insidiously making more Mini Tucks in a system that can hardly afford any more. Until the profession has a serious cultural reckoning over who’s face “fits” it will remain “stiff, humorless, and bland” and black cultural references will continue to serve as the collective comic relief for medics who cant understand why issues of racism continue to persist within the industry.
PS. Maybe hire some black staff (should not be too tough in Philly) who might be able to advise you against trademarking your bias.
Hilary & Dr. Uche