AA hair care racist? - page 2

I was caring for a very sweet AA lady, w/ TKA and asked if there was anything special she wanted me to do for her hair. She got all upset and said I was a racist. I was shocked by this, as I was... Read More

  1. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Two threads with same subject matter merged for clarity and flow.

    Enjoy!
  2. by   Lovely_RN
    I wouldn't automatically assume the woman was a racist. It's more likely that she is hypersensitive and mis-interpreted the nurse's question.

    Many AA women, especially older women grew up hearing that AA type hair is "bad" or undesireable. They were told that they had to chemically straighten or press their hair with a hot comb to make it acceptable. I know AA who will not be seen in public with their natural hair type on display for the world because they have been raised to view it as being bad. So some AA women will feel terribly self-concious about a non-AA person saying anything about their hair.

    It was really a no win situation for the nurse but she shouldn't take it to heart. It's really one of those cultural issues that you have to be made aware of but you can't do much about.





    Quote from thedude
    She automatically assumed you were racist and all you were trying to do was give good care. I think we know who the real racist is here.
  3. by   TazziRN
    Quote from spacenurse
    I was curious as to the abbreviation "AA".
    I was thinking Alcoholics Anonymous or American Airlines. :chuckle
    I knew she had knee surgery.

    You received good advice. Always document direct quotes.
    African American
  4. by   shoegalRN
    As an African American woman, I can see why she would have "assumed" you were being racist. As one poster indicated, we are conditioned to see our natural hair as being "bad" if we do not relax it or wear it bone straight. I think she just got offended because she viewed your comment as looking at her hair being "bad" when in fact, you were just trying to help her. Our hair is considered a very sensitive subject for some of us and I can see why she would have taken offense. Don't make it right to call you a racist though. When I used to get my hair relaxed (now I'm a bonafide natural for life), I've seen some African American women go off on my hair dresser (and she is African American) because she stated she needed to use a super perm on their hair because it was more nappier than she is used to dealing with.

    I suggest not to take it personal. This woman has self issues with her hair and it's not your problem. Before I became a NATURAL, I had the same hair issues until I decided to break away from the LYE and start being true to myself.

    I would still have documented what she said word for word.
  5. by   Lovely_RN
    nurse2be09 the Internet is a smaller world than I suspected :spin:

    I am also a "napptural" for life.
  6. by   Indy
    Probably 90% of my elderly AA patients (yes the abbreviation threw me but it's convenient so I'll go with it) do have a scarf or sleep bonnet or something on their head and since they seem to have done something- as in put it on their head- I don't mention it. With my younger patients, I'll usually just comment on the sad state of hair product that comes in the admission kit; that lone little bottle of shampoo probably won't do much but make a mess on anyone's hair. They usually laugh and understand. If they are really having a hard time, as in it looks worse and they have nothing with them to fix it, I might ask if they want a surgical elastic hat to cover it with? People going for procedures get sensitive about being wheeled down the hall with all their hair sticking out funny.

    The surgical hat thing has been accepted by a few patients who seem to like it for the short term. I've never had anyone snap at me for trying to help them with a hair problem. I wouldn't have actually thought about the hat thing until I got a genuinely crazed little AA lady who threatened me if I didn't get her a hat. At the time I was thinking about the little "hat" that goes in the toilet to pee in, and wasn't in the mood to stick one on her head. It's a good possibility that I'd have been attacked if I had. Luckily someone else knew of a hat that might make her happy, and it did.
  7. by   shoegalRN
    Quote from Falon
    nurse2be09 the Internet is a smaller world than I suspected :spin:

    I am also a "napptural" for life.
    Glad to have found another "napptural"! I have a question, is there any problems with wearing your natural hair as a nurse? I've kinda wondered this because I have not seen too many natural nurses at the hospital where I attend school. I'm not referring to micro braids, but a twist out or a puff. PM me if you like.
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from TazziRN
    African American
    Thanks. I figured it out.
    Been told all my life I have "good hair".
  9. by   Thedreamer
    Hey I have an adopted african american brother. He complains about his hair, yet its NEVER messy. Always looks very clean shaven. MINE on the other hand is strawberry blond, about 6-7in long, and if a wind goes by it looks like I got into a fight with a racoon.

    Id love to have "nice hair" like one of those movie star guys lol. You know, the kind thats always perfect and always looks good?

    OK so i was totally off subject. >_> Just discount my post as a crazy late night coffee binge.
  10. by   Cherish
    I am black and hair is a VERY touchy subject when it comes to the black community. My parents are Caribbean (I'm Canadian) so when I was growing up everyone always said I had the 'good' hair because it was naturally long and soft. After coming to America in high school I relaxed my hair (straighten it) for the first time because people (blacks) made fun of my hair being in plaits.

    Its a cultural history that I wish would go away. Just like the issue of having lighter, fairer skin means your prettier than someone who is dark-skinned. This comes from back to the slavery and suffrage days when the lighter you were (more resembling white) the better off a slave you were treated as in being a house slave and not a field slave. Even in the 40's-60's the lighter skinned was seen as prettier and so was their hair. It wasn't until Grace Jones, Beverly Johnson and other black models started coming to the forefront that more blacks started appreciating their beauty. Before having luscious lips, curvy bodies, bigger butts and hips were considered to be ugly now its something people go to the plastic surgeon for.

    I know you weren't being racist but skin color and hair is a touchy subject for older blacks and still some young blacks.
  11. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from Falon
    I wouldn't automatically assume the woman was a racist. It's more likely that she is hypersensitive and mis-interpreted the nurse's question.

    Many AA women, especially older women grew up hearing that AA type hair is "bad" or undesireable. They were told that they had to chemically straighten or press their hair with a hot comb to make it acceptable. I know AA who will not be seen in public with their natural hair type on display for the world because they have been raised to view it as being bad. So some AA women will feel terribly self-concious about a non-AA person saying anything about their hair.

    It was really a no win situation for the nurse but she shouldn't take it to heart. It's really one of those cultural issues that you have to be made aware of but you can't do much about.
    Yeah, and if she hadn't asked she'd have gotten a complaint about that. Sometimes you can't win for losing. Sorry to the OP, your heart was in the right place. You were absolutely right to document, too. This is one of those stupid situations that blow up into a huge deal. Good for you for covering your back.
  12. by   I_am_Julia
    perfectly said.

    side note > you are a hair board person, i can tell.

    Quote from falon
    i wouldn't automatically assume the woman was a racist. it's more likely that she is hypersensitive and mis-interpreted the nurse's question.

    many aa women, especially older women grew up hearing that aa type hair is "bad" or undesireable. they were told that they had to chemically straighten or press their hair with a hot comb to make it acceptable. i know aa who will not be seen in public with their natural hair type on display for the world because they have been raised to view it as being bad. so some aa women will feel terribly self-concious about a non-aa person saying anything about their hair.

    it was really a no win situation for the nurse but she shouldn't take it to heart. it's really one of those cultural issues that you have to be made aware of but you can't do much about.
    Last edit by I_am_Julia on Apr 2, '07
  13. by   sunnyjohn
    Quote from nurse2be09
    Glad to have found another "napptural"! I have a question, is there any problems with wearing your natural hair as a nurse? I've kinda wondered this because I have not seen too many natural nurses at the hospital where I attend school. I'm not referring to micro braids, but a twist out or a puff. PM me if you like.
    Quote from nurse2be09
    As an African American woman, I can see why she would have "assumed" you were being racist. As one poster indicated, we are conditioned to see our natural hair as being "bad" if we do not relax it or wear it bone straight. I think she just got offended because she viewed your comment as looking at her hair being "bad" when in fact, you were just trying to help her. Our hair is considered a very sensitive subject for some of us and I can see why she would have taken offense. Don't make it right to call you a racist though. When I used to get my hair relaxed (now I'm a bonafide natural for life), I've seen some African American women go off on my hair dresser (and she is African American) because she stated she needed to use a super perm on their hair because it was more nappier than she is used to dealing with.

    I suggest not to take it personal. This woman has self issues with her hair and it's not your problem. Before I became a NATURAL, I had the same hair issues until I decided to break away from the LYE and start being true to myself.

    I would still have documented what she said word for word.
    Quote from Falon
    nurse2be09 the Internet is a smaller world than I suspected :spin:

    I am also a "napptural" for life.
    All these nappturals. WOOT! I'm napptural too! I wear a twist out or puff. Nappturality? LHCF? DGSC?

    Even as a young woman, it is still a touchy subject. It was wrong for her to call you racict though. Maybe if you go back to her with the info you got here, you can change a person for life.
    Last edit by sunnyjohn on Apr 2, '07

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