Is Racism a Fixture of Nursing Academia? - page 3

Check out this activism thread + article posted Timely article from Nursing Spectrum by Carrie Farella, RN, MA Masthead Date June 03, 2002 School of Hard Knocks Is Racism a Fixture of... Read More

  1. by   thisnurse
    oh i have so been avoiding this topic but i really have something to say. i dont want to start any fights...im not rascist..i dont care what color or religion my patient is...i treat them all the same.i dont care what color the staff is either but rascism is alive and well on our unit.
    i work in a large hospital in an area which is mostly black. most of our staff is black. i dont care but many of them do.
    there is a core group of black staff....NOT ALL OF THEM...but a few who are so rascist its difficult to work with them. they treat the black staff...nurses...assistants...VERY differently than the rest of us. with the black staff they are more relaxed, more down to earth, more real. with us they are stiff...guarded. its an attitude thing. one of the secretaries refuses to put orders in for one of our black RN's as she corrected her in front of a "white" nurse. as her punishment when her orders do go in...they go in last.
    there are some who's quaility of work just sucks and if you call them on it they scream rascism. they did this to our manager....they thought she was a huge rascist until she brought her black husband to work.
    its obvious in the difference between how they treat blacks vs "whites" ...and its noticable. i know some of them have been reported for this by family members.
    i dunno....it makes me feel bad cos right away im not liked and distrusted because of the color of my skin. yes yes i know ...thats whats been going on for centuries ...tho in reverse...but i dont do that to any race and i dont like it done to me. its very difficult to speak of this at work. i have tried to discuss it with one of our black RN's but she told me straight up that she didnt believe me. it has been discussed...tho not by me...between some of the "white" staff (in quotes cos we are anything but white) but they lose credibility because they come off as rascists.
    its one of those political complications i can certainly do without but have to learn to live around. i ignore it. dont see that there is much else i can do. i sure as hell cant make it go away.
  2. by   TEXASWAG
    Wow, you folks are getting fired up! And I thought this was just another feel good, stroke some egos web site. Racism is here to stay. It ain't going away. From personal experience it sucks. And it's very, very painful when a patient freaks out because he has a problem with the "black" nurse and the "black" respiratory therapist. It interupts patient care when you can't do your job for fear of a patient becoming hostile. I've been black long enough to know racism when I see it and feel it.
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    No one is denying racism EXISTS....... who here has done that???? That is not debatable. The question still remains what to do about it...i saw some good ideas here.

    "if it is to be, it all begins w/me"

    is a good saying that applies here. to turn the tide, we have to bring up our young to know better. by the way, my 2 best FRIENDS IN NURSING SCHOOL WERE BLACK and are among the BEST DARN NURSES in the field. They know biases exist (on all sides) and somehow transcend them w/o complaining all the livelong day. I admire people like that.
  4. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Texaswag,

    Do you ever see or feel what Thisnurse describes? I have.

    In your work enviroment do you feel that this racism your feeling is exclusive to your race?

    I lived down in Texas. I can tell you that if you were not born in Texas(I was considered a yankee) there's some underlying feeling of inferiority or something.......It's weird. Not that I think it has much to do with race relations but just an observation.

    Have you noticed that?
  5. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by thisnurse
    oh i have so been avoiding this topic but i really have something to say..... there is a core group of black staff....NOT ALL OF THEM...but a few who are so rascist its difficult to work with them. they treat the black staff...nurses...assistants...VERY differently than the rest of us. with the black staff they are more relaxed, more down to earth, more real. with us they are stiff...guarded.
    Hehhhh. Why did I look back in this thread? Okay, let the flaming begin...
    Believe it or not thisnurse, I have seen and witnessed this also from my own colleagues and my own race. There is still an "Us vs. Them" mentality that exists in the black community. Yes, it is reverse racism and regardless of who it comes from and why, it is still ugly. Some feel "it's about time whitey got a dose of their own medicine" however, not all white people dished out that same medicine. Does it make black people look any better to dish it back out? No, it does not.

    TexasWag makes another great point. It's extremely painful when a patient wants absolutely nothing to do with you because of your skin color. Don't get me wrong, I have my thick skin from the time I was called a n-gger to my face in 3rd grade by ALL of my classmates in a private catholic school (I was the only black there) to just recently when I went to do a home health visit for a patient out by the air force base - I called him earlier (guess I didn't sound "black" on the phone, he was glad to have me come out), when I got there he said point blank, "Miss, I don't allow n-ggers in my home, you'll have to leave". There are many MANY other instances that have occurred throughout my years, but I have learned through my developed suit of armour that one bad apple doesn't spoil the bunch.

    Susy K is right, it begins with the children. I know at some point my daughter will come home confused, angry, and crying over some idiot logging racial slurs at her. And I too, like my parents before me and their parents before them, will have to sit her down and groom her for that suit of armour we have to wear all our lives. :stone
  6. by   TEXASWAG
    Smilingblueyes,
    I'm not here to debate. All I'm saying is that's it's painful. It feels like a ball of burning acid in my chest. When a patient screams for help because a black face is in his room. THat HURTS. So, I had to suck it up. Two white nurses had to speak with this patient. We even considered changing assignments to appease this patient. I was not going to be the cause of this pt hyperventilating to the point of being intubated.
    I maintained my composure and worked through my initial anger at this very ill patient who later died. I felt sorry for him. I just don't understand why I have to be judged by the color of my skin. I'm so tired of this. I want patients to see me as their nurse but really some don't. To some all they see is black. When I walk into a store..black, when I drive..black, when I get stopped by the police..black, when I speak to doctors..black. when I speak to families..black. I'm tired. No, I'm not paranoid and I'm not complaining. I'm just frustrated with the reality of this world.
  7. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Las Vegas,

    Thank you for your honesty in pointing out your observation of the type of racism that Thisnurse encountered. It's refreshing to hear that you observed it as racism and not just "getting what they deserve" as you said some might think.

    I can't believe that "N" word is still being used!.........How ignorant is that? I've not led such a sheltered life that I haven't heard it, but you would think that the word would be dead by now. It's been forty years since the civil rights movement.

    I used to play on a softball team in Kansas city Mo. All the other players were black. They used the "N" word frequently and that just bugged the heck out of me. I asked them not to use it one day when we were all standing around after practice because I thought it was innapropriate for anyone to say it. I think the word needs to die with the culture that came up with it. Some of the other players that didn't like it (and didn't use it) also complained.

    They tried, they really did but they couldn't stop using the word. They were sincere so I never brought it up again. It wasn't directed at me personaly but it is such an ugly word.

    I think that's an interesting cultural twist that the word seems to live on despite efforts on the part of educated people that see it as offensive.
    Last edit by Peeps Mcarthur on Jun 5, '02
  8. by   delirium
    Peeps:
    I've noticed that too, in my circle of friends (I am white, have a lot of black/hispanic friends) they use the 'n' word and call each other 'spics' quite frequently.
    Some say its empowering to take a word once used to oppress and use it as a term of endearment among others in the same culture/community/whatever.
    Like me. I'm a lesbian. I'd be lying if I said I've never called one of my gay friends a queer or a dyke or a fairy, whatever. It becomes part of the culture, the vocabulary, and suddenly it flies out of your mouth without you even knowing it. I don't take offense to my lesbian friends calling me a dyke. But let a straight person do it... same mentality as the hispanic or black slurs.
    Doesn't necessarily make sense, but it is what it is.
    Just my .02 on a 'flaming' hot topic.
    :roll
  9. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by Peeps Mcarthur
    Las Vegas,

    Thank you for your honesty in pointing out that type of racism. It's refreshing to hear.

    I can't believe that "N" word is still being used!.........How ignorant is that?

    I used to play on a softball team in Kansas city Mo. All the other players were black. They used the "N" word frequently and that just bugged the heck out of me. I asked them not to use it one day when we were all standing around after practice because I thought it was innapropriate for anyone to say it. I think the word needs to die with the culture that came up with it. Some of the other players that didn't like it (and didn't use it) also complained.

    They tried, they really did but they couldn't stop using the word. They were sincere so I never brought it up again.

    I think that's an interesting cultural twist that the word seems to live on despite efforts on the part of educated people that see it as offensive.
    Peeps - this is a VERY hot issue in the black community. The argument is that by using this word it will de-sensitize it. Try telling that to my folks, who grew up in the South having to hear it every day AND my folks who were spat upon and threatened with violence up until they both graduated from a college in Arkansas. They don't buy it, and neither do I.
  10. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by TEXASWAG
    Smilingblueyes,
    I'm not here to debate. All I'm saying is that's it's painful. It feels like a ball of burning acid in my chest. When a patient screams for help because a black face is in his room.....
    I maintained my composure and worked through my initial anger ....I'm tired. No, I'm not paranoid and I'm not complaining. I'm just frustrated with the reality of this world.
    What's sad is, we get that ball of burning acid in our chests at a very early age and have to live with it all of our lives, never fully comprehending why it has to be there. There is no medication in the world that can extinguish that burning, once it occurs.

    Feeling the pain with you, Texas...
  11. by   SharonH, RN
    Originally posted by TEXASWAG
    Smilingblueyes,
    I'm not here to debate. All I'm saying is that's it's painful. It feels like a ball of burning acid in my chest. When a patient screams for help because a black face is in his room. THat HURTS. So, I had to suck it up. Two white nurses had to speak with this patient. We even considered changing assignments to appease this patient. I was not going to be the cause of this pt hyperventilating to the point of being intubated.
    I maintained my composure and worked through my initial anger at this very ill patient who later died. I felt sorry for him. I just don't understand why I have to be judged by the color of my skin. I'm so tired of this. I want patients to see me as their nurse but really some don't. To some all they see is black. When I walk into a store..black, when I drive..black, when I get stopped by the police..black, when I speak to doctors..black. when I speak to families..black. I'm tired. No, I'm not paranoid and I'm not complaining. I'm just frustrated with the reality of this world.

    Whew, that's deep! I've been there so I know how you feel but I just had to let it go! Their ignorance is their problem, I just refuse to let it be mine. I will admit that sometimes it's hard to not feel that burden but I work on it. I pray that my kids won't have to feel it but I know they will, that's the worst part.


    I remember a time when I was doing home health and the first visit with this one patient went very well. In fact, when it was over the wife followed me out to my car and was so friendly and just about talked my ear off but at one point she made a reference to n*ggers. It rolled off her tongue so easily I could tell it was a part of her daily language and it was clear that she forgot for a minute who she was talking to and actually thought of me as a regular person. HA-HA! But it was too late, I was disappointed at her ignorance but oh well, it was really their loss because they lost themselves one mighty fine nurse. I just calmly informed my supervisor that they needed to find another nurse for that case. It was funny because they(the office supervisors) apologized profusely and I could tell they were uncomfortable with me at that point. But I had to tell them that I was not blaming them for the actions of one person and I definitely didn't have any hard feelings toward them at all. Fortunately they were pretty cool and it was forgotten by the end of the day so nobody had to feel awkward.
  12. by   SKM-NURSIEPOOH
    originally posted by mspurp
    peeps:
    i've noticed that too, in my circle of friends (i am white, have a lot of black/hispanic friends) they use the 'n' word and call each other 'spics' quite frequently.
    some say its empowering to take a word once used to oppress and use it as a term of endearment among others in the same culture/community/whatever.
    like me. i'm a lesbian. i'd be lying if i said i've never called one of my gay friends a queer or a dyke or a fairy, whatever. it becomes part of the culture, the vocabulary, and suddenly it flies out of your mouth without you even knowing it. i don't take offense to my lesbian friends calling me a dyke. but let a straight person do it... same mentality as the hispanic or black slurs.
    doesn't necessarily make sense, but it is what it is.
    just my .02 on a 'flaming' hot topic.
    :roll
    i tried to explain this very issue on other thread until i got to the point that others weren't listening & decided to take what i was out of context...all they could be was defensive & continue to dismiss that racial problems don't exist or that i'm living in the past...that's not the case be maybe the truth does hurt...racism is alive & thieving in this good ole us of a today...in & out of the nursing field...make no mistake!!!!

    often times, minorities have to be 2 or 3 times as good as their white counter parts in order to be considered their equal or to prove that they're able to legitimately land that desireed position, account, etc...often when they do meet the qualifications...they still have to jump through hoops in order to maintain that position. i have personally seen where minorities people have obtained supervisory positions & receive a lot of grief from the many of their white majority subordinates co-workers who clairly don't like it...i've seen this in & out of both nursing & medical fields...i heard remarks like..."i wish that monkey would tell me what to do"..."someone needs to put them back in their place"...."lets set them-up for failure"...etc...it's quite shocking to see & hear this behavior in today's society. the kicker is that they (those same white subordinates that is) will play the race card on their minority supervisor if they're written-up for not performing their jobs when asked to or when they're being blatantly insubordinate by verbal & non-verbal actions.

    i had the opportunity to clarify the term n*gger, in a private pm with another member, that is typically used by some blacks today. when those folks choose to use this term, they change the ending from "er" to "a"...thereby making it a term of endearment: "n*gga" as opposed to "n*gger". some black even allow others from different ethnic backgrounds to use this term...only if they're cool with them. it's like when some folks refer themselves as "rednecks" or "crackers" (ga white folks). but i would never call someone those terms...even if they say it's ok because i find it to be offensive & am quite uncomfortable with what those term usually mean for me & some other blacks (racist people who associate themselves with the ole south, white & supremacy). i know not all white people who endear those terms aren't anything like that, but that's what we blacks relate it to. i'm not trying to start another flame war here, just some clarifications as to why some blacks choose to use that derogatory term...that's all.

    i can tell y'all that having someone be afraid of you because of the color of your skin is truly hurtful...no matter if you're able to win those over after they've get to know you...it's the first impression that hurts the most!!! i hate it whenever people say, your really good for a black nurse or you really know your stuff & they stop short of saying for a black nurse but you can still here those words being said in the gap of silence...like what's that suppose to mean. or whenever people who obviously are racist start patronizing me (us) because they don't have anything to say to or don't know what to say...it's quite annoying to be talked-down to until you're able to prove yourself to them...only for them to still believe that you're not they're equal...no matter what your degree level, educational or economic status is. why can't i just be appreciated for being a good nurse...why must people say the old...your really_______(fill in the blanks of your choosing...it doesn't matter) for a black nurse or person. for example, people have said stupid stuff like "your really pretty for a black girl" or "gal" (i'm still being referred as a girl/gal...hell, i'm 35 going on 36 & i'm not even given the respect enough to be referred to as a lady or woman)
    Last edit by SKM-NURSIEPOOH on Jun 5, '02
  13. by   Q.
    Originally posted by Teshiee
    Racism is not a personal issue it is everyone's issue it is about American as applepie!
    One final comment. Not to pick on you Teshiee, (I love ya)
    but racism and forms of discimination are not limited to the USA. Discrimination exists, sometimes to an even greater degree, in all countries. Nigeria as an example, is a very classed society and only certain member are allowed things like education, health care, etc. Things here that almost all Americans have access to. China has been known to be very racist as well.

    This coming from a co-worker who lives in Nigeria and happened to be wealthy, thus was allowed to be educated as a midwife.

    Ok. Now I am done.

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