'Don't mix race with the specialty': interviewing South Asian overseas-trained geriatricians'

Bornat, Joanna; Henry, Leroi and Raghuram, Parvati (2009). 'Don't mix race with the specialty': interviewing South Asian overseas-trained geriatricians'. Oral History, 37(1) pp. 74–84.

URL: http://www.ohs.org.uk/journals/journal_indexes/37....


The words quoted in the title, ‘Don’t mix with race with the specialty’ were used by a senior South Asian geriatrician, one of over thirty South Asian overseas doctors interviewed during a research project on the experiences of South Asian geriatricians in the UK. These words present us with a quandary: how to under- stand accounts of career progression that ascribe the limitations to their status as elite migrants to the discipline in which they specialised rather than the much vaunted issue of racism within the NHS. This variation from what we expected to hear poses a challenge to analysis of oral history data. The article deals with the quandary in three ways. First it looks at the experience of the multiplicity of differences which this group of migrant doctors recounts. It then shifts to focus on how, within their interviews the experience of racism, is recounted and to what extent it is identified, silenced or subsumed. Finally, the article offers a three-layered analysis of the ways in which these interviews provide insights into how the dilemma presented by a sensitive topic such as race is managed and indeed created in the interview dialogue by migrantsoccupying an elite status.

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