Accused of being racist - how to handle?

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    In caring for an African American child this morning, her father accused me of being both "racist" and "uppity." Apparently, while I was tending to his child, he asked me repeatedly how to make a long-distance phone call with a calling card. I gave him the instructions as I know them, but apparently he was still unable to place this call. His child was de-satting at the time, and had blood coming from the incisions in her mouth and secretions pouring from her trach. His phone call was not at the top of my priority list.

    So he asked me if "you have something against black people or something." I guess because I was tending to his child and not helping him place his important phone call, I'm now racist.

    I'm having a hard time because a) I feel very insulted and b) I'm supposed to teach him how to care for his child so she can go home today. How receptive to me is he going to be if he thinks I'm racist? And I'm not sure about dealing with my own feelings after being accused of being racist.

    I'm honestly not sure how he got that I'm racist just because I was occupied at the moment and couldn't help him place his phone call. In all honesty, I'm pretty ******. Any suggestions on how to handle this?
  2. 133 Comments so far...

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    Wow! I do not know exactly how to handle this except seek advice from CN, HN, or super before this situation gets worse. I do not think I would pproach this man without another person with me, no telling what he might say. I hope the daughter is recovering nicely and will obtain the care she needs at home.
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    Did he complain to a supervisor, or just make the comment to you? If just to you, I see nothing wrong with sitting down with him and asking him why he thinks you're racist, and explaining what was occupying you at that moment. This can be done with the charge nurse there or your nurse manager.
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    I would have said, look, I can't help you right now. My first priority is the child. Either you can wait for me to take care of the child or you can go to the information desk and get help there.
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    Quote from Susan9608
    Any suggestions on how to handle this?

    Yes, trade assignments with another nurse. It's his problem, don't let it become yours.
  7. 0
    Quote from Susan9608

    I'm having a hard time because a) I feel very insulted and b) I'm supposed to teach him how to care for his child so she can go home today. How receptive to me is he going to be if he thinks I'm racist? And I'm not sure about dealing with my own feelings after being accused of being racist.

    I'm honestly not sure how he got that I'm racist just because I was occupied at the moment and couldn't help him place his phone call. In all honesty, I'm pretty ******. Any suggestions on how to handle this?
    It's hard to deal with this sort of BS, isn't it? I know there is still plenty of racism here in the good ol' USA (on all sides of the color spectrum), but it's frustrating when a person screams "racist" when they are at fault. From my experiences, it's all too often used as an excuse, or a "cop-out" to avoid having to deal with reality.

    Much like discrimination - there are unfortunately people who will whine about being discriminated against for any perceived slight against them. It got so silly years ago when I was supervising a group of 30 employees, that I'd make sure to write up a male and a female for doing the same offense. I'd also try to write up employees in different job classifications for the same offense at the same time. You'd have to go through these hassles to cover your rear-end from the inevitable claims of discrimination. The "standing orders" of my fine union employees seemed to be to claim discrimination & harassment for everything under the sun.

    I don't mean to come across as too harsh, but it's idiots like this guy "crying wolf" who reduce the perceived seriousness of a real claim of discrimination or racism by somebody who truly is being screwed.:angryfire

    Document, document, document. Get your supervisor involved in discussions with this clown before you find yourself having to defend your "racist" actions against this poor "disenfranchised" individual. Documenting things now (and bringing your supervisor into the loop) may waste some of your time, but that's nothing compared to the kaka-storms that roll down hill if/when this gentleman complains to your facility's Customer Relations department.
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    Quote from CrufflerJJ
    Document, document, document. Get your supervisor involved in discussions with this clown before you find yourself having to defend your "racist" actions against this poor "disenfranchised" individual. Documenting things now (and bringing your supervisor into the loop) may waste some of your time, but that's nothing compared to the kaka-storms that roll down hill if/when this gentleman complains to your facility's Customer Relations department.

    This is overkill. Just trade with another nurse and don't give it too much attention.
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    I talked with my charge nurse and my supervisor. There is no one who can really switch assignments with me, so what we decided is that the charge nurse will go in and do all the teaching that needs to be done.

    One of my co-workers suggested that I document what he said, but I'm kind of hesitant to do that. is this the kind of thing that you document?
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    I would have said "No, do you have anything against white people?":trout:
    (BTW I'm an african-american) Don't let comments like this get to you PLEASE. I'm sure the guy didn't really think you were racist, he was probably ****** and just wanted to push your buttons, and it seems that he was successful.
  11. 1
    Quote from AnxiousStudent
    I would have said "No, do you have anything against white people?":trout:
    (BTW I'm an african-american) Don't let comments like this get to you PLEASE. I'm sure the guy didn't really think you were racist, he was probably ****** and just wanted to push your buttons, and it seems that he was successful.
    I am also an African-American nurse. This man probably was attempting to incite some anxiety within you and, apparently, he succeeded. He has full awareness that many Causasian people are horrendously fearful of being branded a 'racist' and, unfortunately, he played on that fear rather skillfully. Don't give him the anxious reaction, because you'll be playing into his hands.

    Additionally, we don't know the entire story. Some black people can sense 'undercover racism' through nonverbal communication (glances, facial expressions, intonation, gestures, etc). I am not saying you're racist by any means, but this man probably came to his conclusion based on what he saw.
    TaylorDeeLPN likes this.


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