When Jackson, Tennessee woman Terry Ragland went to see Dr. Timothy D. Sweo for her lower back pain last Spring, he gave her a diagnosis far worse than she imagined.
She told Memphis TV station WREG last week: “He said, ‘I know what the problem is. It’s ‘ghetto booty.’”
Surprised by his use of a racially charged phrase, Ragland, who is black, tried to clarify his diagnosis, but Sweo, a white doctor, reiterated the term “ghetto booty” and told her there was no cure for that condition. “Ghetto booty” was his way of explaining that she had lumbar lordosis, a curve in the spine that makes the buttocks protrude more.
Sweo’s way of making a term less technical didn’t go well with Ragland, who complained to the medical office about his offensive behavior and took his use of “ghetto booty” as a racial slur. Despite the doctor’s apologies for using the term, she has filed a complaint to the Tennessee Department of Health and spoken to local television and newspaper outlets about her ordeal.
Since local news outlets in the Memphis area interviewed Ragland about her complaint against Sweo’s “ghetto booty” diagnosis, the racially charged phrase and story has since gone viral worldwide. The Jackson Sun reported that the term “ghetto booty” on Google brought up an entire first page of stories about Ragland and her diagnosis.
She told the Sun: “In all my 55 years, nothing like this has ever happened to me. I never knew I’d be in the limelight like this, ever.”
See Ragland’s interview with a local TV station about her doctor’s “ghetto booty” diagnosis in the YouTube video above.
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