Accused of being racist - how to handle? - page 8

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... Read More

  1. by   luv4nursing
    Quote from firstyearstudent
    Thanks for your honest post. It provides proof to me that racist thought is very much alive in the U.S. today, if not nutured by claims of white entitlement/supremacity than under absurd claims of reverse discrimination.

    yep, very much an eye opener.
  2. by   Susan9608
    Well, I certainly didn't intend for this to turn into a debate about which race is more racist ...

    I made my post yesterday during my shift, while caring for my patient. In some ways, I feel like my supervisor was very supportive, in that she didn't jump onto his side, she heard me out, and gave me suggestions for continuing to deal with him and my patient, and she didn't make me take that assignment today. On the other hand, they didn't try very hard to switch assignments yesterday, which I'm sure helped lead up to the climax of him cursing at me and blaming his child's continued hospitalization on me.

    I guess my main concern was in that situation, where I couldn't or wasn't allowed to change assignment, how do I continue to provide quality care, when part of that care includes teaching the parents (the ones who have the problem with me) how to care for their child?
  3. by   Sheri257
    Quote from TrudyRN
    As I said before,white oppression of blacks was wrong. Black oppression of whites is also wrong. And that is what we have today. Blacks are favored, whites are not.
    Here's a great irony that actually is contrary to what you are saying. In the past I've lost a couple of jobs to blacks due to affirmative action but ... it was a decision made by white managers.

    Now I work in a facility where most of my co-workers and supervisors are black. I'm actually in the minority since I'm white. But, recently, my supervisors were in a pinch and needed some help in an office job that was a mess and where nobody wanted to work. So I helped out and dived in without complaint.

    Apparently my supervisors were pleased with my work so, now they're giving me this job permanently. A month ago nobody wanted this job but now that I've been doing it and am OK with it ... others are complaining I'm being favored because it's an office job with good hours and overtime.

    The only reason I got this was because I was pretty much the only one willing to dive in and help when the supervisors were in a tough spot. Since I am white, I can only assume I got it due to merit.

    The funny thing is ... I'm actually being rewarded based on merit more with my black supervisors than I ever did with my white supervisors. So if whites are being oppressed by blacks, I'm not seeing it because they certainly could "oppress" me if they wanted to ... but they're not ... quite the contrary, in fact.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on May 26, '07
  4. by   NurseCherlove
    Wow! Where to start after reading this thread!

    Let me first say that the father sounds like a completely selfish jerk with zero emotional insight! I sympathize with the fact that he is quite stressed, but I just cannot excuse his actions towards the nurse, despite the apparent lack of emotional intelligence. Why? Because of his lack of concern about the possible consequences...this is her livelihood!!! What if this eventually led to her getting fired or something? Not to mention that such accusations are hurtful and presumptuous. Is he not even able to entertain the possibility that he might just be wrong??? I guess not. Instead, better to just react with raw, misdirected emotion and then who cares about the consequences it could have on the other person. I guess also, I am thinking from my own frame of reference...all of my life I have given people way too much of the benefit of the doubt (many times to my own detriment), even when they have been grossly wrong. I guess on a spiritual level, I feel like it is the right thing to do - not just rip people apart at the first chance. We're all human and we're all flawed. Sorry, I digress...He could have at least thoughtfully looked for some other confirming evidence of this notion before just reacting.

    If this guy sensed anything, he may have sensed (or at least he would have from me in this case) that the nurse was thinking that he was a total moron for saying/doing ANYTHING that would detract her attention from the acute situation at hand - let alone for something as trivial as how to use a ******* callling card!!! Are you retarded Man?!? And she is not the catch-all, customer service rep of the hospital. He should not have even been troubling the nurse with such a matter anyway - even if she wasn't tied up in that situation - she probably had some charting or something else to do - was she able to even take a lunch that day as so many nurses cannot????

    Sorry, I guess I just get sick of the scared, powerless nurse thing that so many perceive. Nurses need to be perceived with much more clout and authority than we have, i.e., you better be damn sure about what you're talking about before you go accusing a nurse of BS b/c she/he will likely get the benefit of the doubt! This fool would not have pulled this crap with the MD for sure!!

    I don't have time to get into it now, but I had situation a couple of weeks ago where an upset family member misdirected his grief onto me and tried to get me into trouble. I just cannot believe the selfishness of some people. Someone made the comment earlier about how these family members are stressed....and nurses are not??? These stressed family members need to open their eyes and see that hospitals are stressful places for everyone!

    Gotta go right now.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on May 26, '07 : Reason: Editing out offensive word for Term of Service language compliance
  5. by   Cherish
    Quote from TrudyRN

    As I said before,white oppression of blacks was wrong. Black oppression of whites is also wrong. And that is what we have today. Blacks are favored, whites are not. It's because of how the laws are.
    Do you actually read what you post? If you really feel this way I am very sorry for you. I do not see favoritism of blacks over whites.
  6. by   allantiques4me
    Quote from VIXEN007
    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.
    I agree .
  7. by   Ms.RN
    Quote from susan9608
    well, i guess my main concern was in that situation, where i couldn't or wasn't allowed to change assignment, how do i continue to provide quality care, when part of that care includes teaching the parents (the ones who have the problem with me) how to care for their child?
    \

    do nurses have a right to refuse an assignment? can nurses request to change patient with someone else? if a nurse refuses, can mangers still force her to keep her same assignment?
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    again, obviously this is a very heated topic. please keep the comments focused on the original post and helping the op if possible. clearly, in our country (usa) we have a very long way to go in improving race relations.
  9. by   Jennyw45013
    Wow this is a sad and heated discussion, but in my opinion it all boils to down to one peice of advice i got from a senior nurse when i had my first bad family experiance.

    THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO WILL NEVER BE PLEASED.

    Just imagine, you haven't slept, your child is sick, you are staying in a motel b/c you and your family are homeless. Unfortunalty this man is under a high level of stress and unfortunalty you were the easy target. it is so sad b/c it happens all the time. As nurses we are supposed to mend the sick, get the mom a coke, give a bath, direct them to the bathroom, hook them up with a social worker. Being a nurse is so many jobs and you kept your priorities in the right spot. I have been in similar situations where i was yelled at for being "unsympathetic to the smoker/minorities/drinkers/etc.........." you cannot please everyone. just kill them with kindness b/c at the end of the day, you know what kind of a nurse you are. If you really were an uppity racist *%#$* you probably wouldn't have your job anymore. I could give you so many examples and i am sure everyone on here can. The families can be way worse than the patients in a lot of instances. Just take a deep breath and know you did the right thing. It isn't running from the situation by not taking the assignment back. like someone else said, it is just bowing out gracefully. Just know he probably just doesn't know how to cope with the situation and is upset. sorry and i hope things get better!
  10. by   banditrn
    Quote from NoMoreStudying
    It used to bother me. It happens a lot in triage, for one.

    i always bring it back to fact in one short sentence, so we both know it's the end of that discussion. Nothing further needed and no more will be entertained. Works when anyone decides we're "not fair." B/c really, there's no arguing with people so we might as well discuss what's really appropriate. I've had to tell a few people that I won't be discussing anything besides their care from that point forward.

    "My priority is to assist your child at this moment."
    "I need to see the most acute patient first."
    "I was tied up with a complex patient but I will help you shortly."
    "I'm sorry, that person got a chair in the hall b/c they aren't vomiting like you. You would prefer a bed, correct?"
    "No, it's not b/c you're black. It's because you're drunk, sedated from your own drugs and so lethargic from that concussion that you don't need any more pain medication. You need a CT scan."

    I also really enjoy getting called racist or told that I don't give good care to minorities or the poor. B/c a) I'm Asian and b) I grew up dirt poor with intermittent housing and basic needs. It always makes me smile to myself. "You don't know what it's like to have nothing!" I'm sorry, did you come here secured in the bottom of a boat, too?

    Although, I'm always sympathetic unless people are ridiculous. Even then I can get by with some coffee in me.
    Kudos to you, my dear, for what you've overcome, and for not falling into the trap of self-pity!! I've also heard the statement many times 'You don't know what it's like!' How on earth can they look at me today, and realize what I've overcome to get there.
  11. by   EmerNurse
    Quote from banditrn
    Kudos to you, my dear, for what you've overcome, and for not falling into the trap of self-pity!! I've also heard the statement many times 'You don't know what it's like!' How on earth can they look at me today, and realize what I've overcome to get there.
    The very fact that these people DON'T know us, blunts their insults and cruel comments. In order to truly insult me, you have to KNOW me, otherwise it's just your assumptions coming out of your mouth.

    This guy lost any sympathy from me after the OPs update post where he went over the edge. Obviously, he's an angry man, and not dealing with the added stress on top of it. We nurses are the ones people see most and we're the ones who get the brunt of these lovely feelings and behaviors.

    The OP did a great job in focusing on the child. That was the priority. I'm glad the management backed her up. In my place, if I had a situation like that, I'd have been able to grab one of my co-workers and say "please, would you take this guy, and I'll take your obnoxious OD?) and we usually help each other out that way.

    I knew a white nurse who got accused of racism (in triage where tempers run very short). She almost laughed out loud. She's been married to an African American guy for over 20 years and they have 3 kids. Just goes to show, anyone of us can be accused of anything - doesn't have to have a basis in fact. I'd hope that any HCW that has really shown bias against a race (any race) would be stomped on real quick by co-workers and management. There are far more people out there who aren't racist than who are, and most of us aren't afraid of stomping on it when we see it. We're NURSES - we should be above such behavior, IMO.
  12. by   SuesquatchRN
    One thing that always makes me ashamed of myself is that I clearly have racist feelings or I wouldn't be surprised when an articulate person I respect on this board reveals that they are black.

    And I swear I don't know where it comes from. Here comes a great, big cliche - I really do, and always have had, friends of all ethnicities and backgrounds. My parents belonged to CORE back in the days when the civil rights movement was just fulminating. They deliberately lived in mixed neighborhoods and sent us to integrated schools, as was our church. I never heard racial slurs against anyone in my home. THEIR friends were of all kinds. I have mixed race nieces and nephews. I love them.

    Anyway. This is completely non sequitur to this discussion, but I had to confess this. It really bothers me and I am surprised at discovering this about myself.
  13. by   firstyearstudent
    Quote from Suesquatch
    One thing that always makes me ashamed of myself is that I clearly have racist feelings or I wouldn't be surprised when an articulate person I respect on this board reveals that they are black.

    And I swear I don't know where it comes from. Here comes a great, big cliche - I really do, and always have had, friends of all ethnicities and backgrounds. My parents belonged to CORE back in the days when the civil rights movement was just fulminating. They deliberately lived in mixed neighborhoods and sent us to integrated schools, as was our church. I never heard racial slurs against anyone in my home. THEIR friends were of all kinds. I have mixed race nieces and nephews. I love them.

    Anyway. This is completely non sequitur to this discussion, but I had to confess this. It really bothers me and I am surprised at discovering this about myself.
    Wow! I really applaud you and the amount of self-knowledge you have. Because you aware of these issues and biases you are able to address them. Because of the degree of insight you have you can ask yourself the important questions like "What real evidence do I have that this patient is drug-seeking, or am I jumping to conclusions because of the are black?" As opposed to just blinding believing you aren't capable of racism. All of us are capable of racism and few of us don't have racist thoughts or feelings.

    I can't but compare your post to another on this thread. Amazing. You, I don't have any concerns about. But the another poster...
    Last edit by firstyearstudent on May 26, '07

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