Racism in the workplace - page 6

Not to be a downer or anything but I have noticed some harsh things said about patients and sometimes even co workers in my unit when they think no one else can hear them. Has anyone else dealt with... Read More

  1. by   madwife2002
    Quote from lizz
    That actually does happen. I grew up in Louisiana but, I don't sound "southern" so I was called names like that ... even though I actually was from there.

    I never fit into the south. I left many years ago.

    :typing
    You know I have had people talk to me slowly just in case I dont understand them I have said to them I am from the North I am not stupid I do speak English thank you very much :trout:
  2. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Tamar Jacoby, from the book, "Someone Else's House", discussing the 1965 book "Black Ghetto" by Integrationist and Psychologist Kenneth Clark:

    "Clark's central metaphor for segregation was a prison or concentration camp, and as he saw things, the long, enforced isolation had wreaked so much psychological havoc that many blacks had lost the capacity to seek their way out. Though careful not to blame the victim, he spared nothing in his description of this "racial damage": a combination of defeatism and impotent anger that, he said, made blacks suspicious, predatory, and continually resentful and left them ill-equipped to compete in the mainstream. Each individual was trapped by a "core of doubt" - a belief in his own inferiority and "the pervasive failure of his group." Many were so bitter that they would not even try to do well in the white world: to them, success seemed humiliating - a kind of betrayal to the race - because it meant seeking white approval and submitting to standards used in the past, to keep blacks back. Even his own accomplishments, Clark admitted, felt like treachery. What he feared was that, even when white resistance disappeared, the black man's "own inner anxieties" would hinder his movement into the mainstream."


    See, I like this book so far. The writer is suggesting that racial relationships is a sort of 'meeting in the middle'. But, the different groups, as a result of our social legacies, have difficulty reaching out to a common middle ground. We are, to put it bluntly, a dysfunctional family. And each of us has our own reasons for simply not talking.

    There's lots of emotional and social 'baggage' still lying around.

    So, just like the sister, or brother, or parent that so many haven't spoken with in 10 yrs, it's just easier to forget that there is even an issue to worry about. That doesn't make the hurt and the estrangement go away. It just means you don't have to deal with it for the moment.

    That moment has been the last 20, no 30, yrs in our history.

    The greatest accomplishment of the Civil Rights movement was to make bigotry ugly. It has been driven underground. The majority of whites might still hold residual bigotries, but most recognize them for what they are: undesirable and wrong.

    The next stage, if you ask me, has to be the same intolerance for black 'defeatism'. We must attack that just as equally and ferociously as we are bigotry. Calling a child 'oreo' for doing well in school is simply intolerable. Our next generation has to be taught differently then excelling in school is caving in to 'the man'.

    Most social scientists will say there is progress here: there is a growing black middle and upper class EXACTLY because many are surpassing these 'internal' boundaries. But, at the same time, many are being left behind, mired in a sub-culture that preaches that the only real successes are anti-educational: pro sports, music careers, and 'pimping'. Just listen to a rap song or two. It's an expression of anger, yes, but also a clear expression of the problem.

    If 'the system' holds no hope for someone, how will they EVER integrate into that system? We must dispel the notion that 'the system' is a white man's world. After all, MLK's biggest contribution was his insistence that 'the system' be colorblind, an equal avenue for all that could be equally accessed by all.

    The gulfs that still hinder us must and can only be closed by claiming and advocating for fostering the hope that lies in believing in 'equal access'. It's not enough to merely work to make it a reality; we have to work to make it believable - not just by those that have benefited from the successes of the past and handed down those social mores to their children - but for those that don't have those advantages, as well.

    The crux of the 'American Dream' is nothing more then the BELIEF in individual empowerment.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Aug 25, '06
  3. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from lizz
    I grew up in Louisiana but, I don't sound "southern" so I was called names like that ... even though I actually was from there.

    I never fit into the south. I left many years ago.
    I've recently moved to Texas after spending a short lifetime in California and people are always asking me, "Where are you from? You sound funny." I personally believe I am asked this question because I'm a black female who speaks proper English and, therefore, is 'white-sounding'. The locals around here expect all black people to have Southern drawls, which is not the case.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from Miss Mab
    I have been working in an inner-city ED for just about a year. I now think I am BECOMING racist. I don't need to give examples but the absolute worst stereotypes are being played out pretty much every shift.
    I work at a long-term care facility in a large metropolitan area in Texas and, yes, I see certain stereotypes ans statistics come to life with my CNAs. Virtually all of the CNAs are young, black unwed mothers with several children fathered by multiple men. Many collect food stamps because they have offered to sell them to me and the other nurses. They brag about the housing assistance they receive from the state. One of my former aides, a 29 year old woman, had five children and one grandchild.

    I'm a young black female who was born on the West Coast and raised with an open mind. I still have an open mind.
  5. by   luvkitties
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    I used to work with a (White) nurse who was not only openly racist towards Blacks and Hispanics, but she seemed to hate everybody who was not middle-class and WASP. She made comments all the time about "white trash", "junkie low-life" and she was borderline abusive to some of the elderly with dementia. She was so confident that she had a right to treat people any way she wanted that she bragged about it. Basically she was a bully who went after anyone she perceived as powerless. I got in her face after I caught her telling a little old lady to "shut up" and that she was disturbing the other patients with her constant moaning. I knew that the lady was mourning because she got the news while in the hospital that her adult daughter died of cancer. For my confrontational attitude, I got "angry nurse" label. What really upsets me is that she was allowed to retire a couple of years later at her leisure. Apparently everyone else gave her a pass. It happens.
    :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire
  6. by   ICRN2008
    One of the nurses who was precepting me this summer was pretty much openly racist towards African-Americans. She did not call them any names, but she treated her minority clients very differently than her white clients. She made a comment about the fact that one of her African-American patients was pregnant for the fifth time (why did that matter to her?), made reference to the fact that the patient would most likely be a complainer before she even went into the room, and finally made a comment to me and the HUC that "they are coming out here more and more, we don't want them, why don't they just go to St. ____ "(a hospital in the city).

    She also said to me and the HUC "Just guess, what percentage of them do you think are on Medicaid?" Luckily, the HUC wasn't going to give her a free pass on that one. He said "I'm not going to go there", meaning that he was not going to participate in that kind of conversation.

    When I asked this nurse why she thought this patient would be a complainer, she said "because they all are"! Boy did the nurse feel stupid when the patient responded "I feel much better, thank you" after being given pain medication.

    When I tried to bring this (and other behaviors I noticed on the floors) up to my clinical instructor, she said "well, you can't call that racism".

    I have noticed that people from my mother's generation (such as these two nurses) have the impression that its ok to make subtle racist remarks among themselves as long as they don't say them out in the open. Most of them are very defensive when you point out to them that their comments are of a prejudicial nature, and will swear up and down that they are not in fact racist.

    I think that there is some hope for my generation, but we still have a long way to go.
  7. by   MultipurposeRN
    - Too bad people forget that NONE of us are true americans- only American Indians can say "go back to where you came from".

    Even the Native Americans came over here from elsewhere.....
  8. by   mzkede
    Quote from Bala Shark
    You have to realize that a percentage of nurses who post here carry the same view and that they are racist..You cannot change them and it is just a fact of life..
    I WAS ALWAYS TOLD AN OPINION IS LIKE AN A**HOLE, EVERYONE HAS ONE. HOWEVER, WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO BEING DISRESPECTED, OR JUST PLAN IGNORANT. IT WOULD BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THAT INDIVIDUAL TO KEEP THEIR IGNORANT COMMENTS TO THEMSELVES. ONE NEVER KNOWS WHO THEY ARE TALKING TO, AND WHAT CAN COME FROM THOSE UGLY REMARKS. LORD HELP US ALL!
  9. by   madwife2002
    Dear All

    I realise that this is a very hot topic, but we are here to discuss it rationally and can we please refrain from personnal attacks as it is against the TOS of this web site and cannot be tolerated.
    Please keep calm
  10. by   NurseLatteDNP
    Quote from BSNDec06
    I have noticed that people from my mother's generation (such as these two nurses) have the impression that its ok to make subtle racist remarks among themselves as long as they don't say them out in the open. Most of them are very defensive when you point out to them that their comments are of a prejudicial nature, and will swear up and down that they are not in fact racist.
    I have seen that happen also. And they talk to me like I am a part of the 'insiders club' just because I am not black. But I always let those people know what I think about their remarks.
  11. by   Gods child
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I've recently moved to Texas after spending a short lifetime in California and people are always asking me, "Where are you from? You sound funny." I personally believe I am asked this question because I'm a black female who speaks proper English and, therefore, is 'white-sounding'. The locals around here expect all black people to have Southern drawls, which is not the case.

    I get that all the time. Although I am interracial, I am still considered "black" and people constantly tell me I sound white.
  12. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from Miss Mab
    I have a thought that's pretty much off-topic and yet related somehow. I was just talking to my BF about this today. Feel free to stone me because I already feel pretty bad about it but it "is what it is"

    Background--grew up a CA liberal/PC/schooled in diversity/supporter of social programs/education/blah, blah...

    I have been working in an inner-city ED for just about a year. I now think I am BECOMING racist. I don't need to give examples but the absolute worst stereotypes are being played out pretty much every shift. By all? No. But enough to where I just realized yesterday that I think I am getting resentful.

    I already know, time to change the scenery...I'm already burnt out---for my sake and my patients. Just wanted to throw that out.
    I think I know what you mean. I too have a liberal/PC/diversity supporter background and I too am sometimes shocked and ashamed at some of my thoughts. I once listened to an anthropology professor at my church discuss this very issue. She said something like, "stereotypes do in fact contain a kernal of truth." She went on to say that they do come from somewhere. But it would NEVER NEVER be fair to apply those stereotypes to individuals with assumptions. So it is fair and accurate to note that certain groups do have certain characteristics ON AVERAGE compared to other groups. But it's never fair to assume anything about any particular individual.

    I think the key is to maintain complexity. I think when we breakdown complexity with our thoughts and indulge in simplistic thinking - anger and frustration - that's when we begin these thoughts that shock and ashame us. It's ok to also change your beliefs/politics as time goes by, as long as you aren't maligning any particular race IMHO. For example, I no longer support affirmative action at the college level, but I do still support it in the workplace. Years back this would have been unthinkable to me, to change my mind on AA. Time passes and some of our views can change. Just never assume anything about any particular individual because of their race, and I think you are ok. Just my thoughts.
  13. by   Plagueis
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    The next stage, if you ask me, has to be the same intolerance for black 'defeatism'. We must attack that just as equally and ferociously as we are bigotry. Calling a child 'oreo' for doing well in school is simply intolerable. Our next generation has to be taught differently then excelling in school is caving in to 'the man'.

    Most social scientists will say there is progress here: there is a growing black middle and upper class EXACTLY because many are surpassing these 'internal' boundaries. But, at the same time, many are being left behind, mired in a sub-culture that preaches that the only real successes are anti-educational: pro sports, music careers, and 'pimping'. Just listen to a rap song or two. It's an expression of anger, yes, but also a clear expression of the problem.


    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    I have also heard about how some people, like author John McWhorter, believe that some African Americans still have the belief that blacks who get good grades and study hard are "acting white," and that this is why some blacks don't get ahead. I remember Bill Cosby got into some trouble when he made that speech a couple of years ago about why some African Americans aren't doing well in society. As far as the nursing field goes, I would like to see more African American nurses. In fact, I have actually seen more nurses who are male, who are considered a substantial minority in nursing, than I have seen nurses who are African American of either gender. I don't have exact figures of what percentage of nurses are African American, but I don't think it's a lot. Why aren't there more African American nurses?

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