You can't be what you don't see. I didn't think about being a doctor. I didn't even think about being a clerk in a store—I'd never seen a black clerk in a clothing store.
Joycelyn Elders (b. 1933), U.S. pediatrician and educator; first woman (and second African American) Surgeon General of the United States. As quoted in the New York Times Magazine, p. 18 (January 30, 1994).
Elders, who was the U. S. Surgeon General at the time, was noting the importance of professional role models for African American children. Explaining why, growing up African American in Arkansas, she wanted to be a lab technician, she said: "That was the only thing I'd ever heard about." Eventually, she met Dr. Edith Irby Jones, the first African American woman to study at the University of Arizona Medical School, and was inspired to become a physician.
Adapted from Dictionary.com - Quotes