Discussion Questions

Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine
by Damon Tweedy

Publication Date: Sep 06, 2016
List Price: $15.04 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Nonfiction
Page Count: 304
ISBN13: 9781250105042
Imprint: Picador
Publisher: Macmillan
Parent Company: Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck

Read More About This Book

  1. For the person(s) who chose (voted for) this book: What made you want to read it? What made you suggest it to the group for discussion? Did it live up to your expectations? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think motivated Tweedy to share his life story? How did you respond to his “voice”?
  3. What is Tweedy’s most admirable quality? Is this someone you would want to know?
  4. Compare this book to other memoirs/autobiographies that you/your group has read. Is it similar to any of them? Did you like Black Man in a White Coat more or less than other books you’ve read? What do you think will be your lasting impression of the book?
  5. Were you glad you read this book? Would you recommend it to a friend/ a younger person considering med school?
  6. What was the purpose of Did you like Black Man in a White Coat (eg. To teach, to entertain, to bring to light an issue)? If there was, did it make you/the group more aware and knowledgeable about the particular issue?
  7. If this book was intended to teach the reader something, did it succeed? Was something learned from reading Did you like Black Man in a White Coat, if so what? If not, why did the book fail as a teaching tool?
  8. Was there a specific passage (or incident) that left an impression, good or bad? Share the passage and its effect.
  9. The way a non-fiction book is written can impact a reader’s enjoyment and understanding of it. Was Did you like Black Man in a White Coat written in a way that was easily accessible?
  10. Was there something especially surprising about Tweedy’s story? What was it and why?
  11. Was there a lesson that could be taken away from Tweedy’s life? What was it and why is it important?
  12. Why do you think Tweedy organized Did you like Black Man in a White Coat the way he did (medical school years, internship and psychiatric training and clinical practice)?
  13. Have you had similar experience that Tweedy cited (being mistaken for the maintenance person [p. 12], responding to health issues with lifestyle changes [pp. 71 – 73], dealing with someone who initially did not want to deal with you because of race/gender [p. 192 – 202], receiving medical treatment [p. 147 – 150])?
  14. In terms of the issues raised – will they affect your life directly or more generally? Now or sometime in the future?
  15. What did you think of his analysis of the current situation for health care disparities (p. 236 – 237) – system based disparities that limit access to medical care (more interns than long term doctors); doctor-patient relationships/attitudes and behaviors; unhealthy lifestyles?
  16. Did you learn something new reading this book about a societal issue? About another culture/region of the country?
  17. Tweedy cites other memoirs/autobiographies (The Big Picture – Ben Carson (p.124), Brothers and Keepers – John Edgar Wideman [p.131], references The Other Wes Moore [p.132], Brain Surgeon – Keith Black [p. 25], Gifted Hands – Ben Carson’s first memoir [p. 25-6]). Are there other works that his story evokes?
  18. Tweedy is in his early 40s. It is not uncommon for follow-up memoirs/autobiographies to be written. Would you want to read a follow-up on the next chapter of his life?
  19. What did you like/dislike about the book that has not already been discussed/covered?

Tweedy’s was selected by Folktales Black Women’s Literary Society for their reading list.