As a urology resident, I spend up to 70 hours a week at the hospital. I wear scrubs to the operating room and through long hospital shifts. And, of course, I wear a gown and other personal protective equipment over my scrubs when caring for patients with covid-19 in Brooklyn.

Even when I’m not there, though, I wear my medical scrubs everywhere. I wear scrubs and a mask when I’m shopping at the grocery store, rollerblading home from work and even meeting up with friends, always seeking to preemptively exonerate my blackness with my professional garb.

It’s about protecting myself. Like many black Americans, I’ve been followed by security personnel through department stores without cause and pulled over by police officers at night for no reason.

When I’m in scrubs, all of that happens less often.