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Experiencing racism and xenophobia when coming to CA to help with Covid

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Specializes in Psych RN BC. Has 7 years experience.

Divisiveness within the workplace

I’m a psych travel nurse who had a horrendous experience at Metropolis State Hospital in Norwalk, CA as I attempted to come help with Covid, putting my life at risk.

Experiencing racism and xenophobia when coming to CA to help with Covid

As a travel nurse, I expect to experience whatever is thrown at me. What I experienced at Metropolitan State Hospital was beyond my expectations. It was an unbelievable encounter with rudeness, hate, racism, and xenophobia. 

On the first day at the facility, the staff was extremely rude to all of us who picked up to come work and help with COVID. All my travel colleagues would agree and could speak to the disrespect given to us. I thought this may not be a place for me to work and almost quit. Wanting to stay in SoCal I continued the contract. 

The extreme hate began on the inpatient unit. A psych tech and I were having a talk about life. I mentioned my “gay culture” to him and he replied, “what is gay culture.” In an aggressive manner. I saw his body language change, eye contact decrease and his fists even ball up. When I explained gay culture is my lifestyle he harshly stated, “That doesn’t exist. All gay people should come to Nigeria and be killed.” I replied stating that would never happen to me and I would protect myself in any way I needed. But I was fearful and shocked that someone could say that. I never reported this but spoke to a friend about what I could do to protect gay patients in hospitals, especially a state-run facility. 

The next situation happened more recently causing me to resign. The snowball effect of hate forced me to never return. A person who came over risking my own health to care for COVID patients had to run far away. I also signed a lease in Long Beach so could not even return home after such a horrific experience. 

So it started on another unit where I was talking shop with this shift lead on unit 409. We were talking shop and election results. The shift lead name Dia stated, “ I support Donald Trump because he is crazy like our patients so we should take care of him like we do our patients.” Her using the word crazy to describe a person with mental illness was alarming in itself. When you hear what happened next, that doesn’t even compare. I am someone who is asked every day, “Are you Arabic or Muslim? Are you from the Middle East?”, she intensely and rudely stated to me, “All Muslims should go back to where they came from!”

I was beside myself and had to leave the office and go to another unit. I absolutely told her she was xenophobic and doesn’t take care of “crazy” people because she hasn’t moved from the desk. I reported it to the manager right away and said I can not work there. They moved me to another unit. I am unsure if any action was taken, but I highly doubt it. The manager did not take any of my information. I quit and no one from the facility had reached out to me (5 days after I am writing this). 

I believe some form of justice should be served. Staff has said this is the culture of Metro and they are not surprised. Taxpayer money of gay and Muslim civilians alike find this facility and pay the salary of those who hate them and verbally express it freely. I fear for the patients who fit the criteria of what some of these staff members see less than and believe should be dead or deported. 

Please respond with helpful advice? How should I move forward to get justice?

William Martinez

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165 Comment(s)

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 40 years experience.

What does “get justice” mean to you?

Why are you discussing your personal life and politics with strangers in a new workplace? 

xwill327, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych RN BC. Has 7 years experience.

These are the questions you ask after reading this? Get justice means make awareness, make people accountable for racist comments at work. If I over hear someone saying something that’s inappropriate I will chime in and say something. As has been said in the current political climate: if you don’t speak up you are part of the problem! So that’s why I said something. Doesn’t matter who it is!

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 18 years experience.

I am sorry that you experienced this. Divisivness and xenophobia exist everywhere not just healthcare settings. Along with systemic racism which from my experience is pretty rampant even in my fairly liberal part of southern California where I work adolescent psych. When we started see and uptick in admissions of suicidal ideation in the LGBTQ youth in our community. I had to admit that I didn't know as much as I thought I did and took it upon myself to educate myself on the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth. I took a number of seminars and CEU opportunities and it really helped me in my practice. 

Still I ususally don't discuss aspects of my personal life with co-workers unless we have worked together for some time. In one case I mentioned to a therapist that she had put herself in danger when she hugged an agressive male patient of color. Her reply to me was that I wouldn't understand because I was white. I actually replied to her that she didn't know anything about me and that it was another form of racism to assume she knew anything about me by looking only at my blond hair and blue eyes.

She was let go shortly there-after due to her actions putting both staff and patient's in danger.

Conversations about your individual lifestyle/culture do not belong in the work place and are often seen as a baiting tactic to out a person who is quite possibly a xenophobe or racist.

If you are still in California and looking for work we are always hiring though as a private small facility the pay is less than places like Metro!

Hppy

You are in for a rude awakening if you think that your naive way of looking at things is going to coincide with workplace atmospheres in all places.  Nobody new to a workplace should come onboard with such unrealistic expectations, even if your views are considered 'politically correct'.  Keep your head down, your mouth closed as much as possible, and just do your job for the time you are there.  That is the way to come and go without inducing a stroke in yourself from trying to change the behavior of others. 

xwill327, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych RN BC. Has 7 years experience.

I never have my head down and my mouth will always run for what’s good for society. You sound like a a bay boomer who allowed all this racism. Please stay out of my comments with that negativity 

xwill327, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych RN BC. Has 7 years experience.

23 minutes ago, hppygr8ful said:

I am sorry that you experienced this. Divisivness and xenophobia exist everywhere not just healthcare settings. Along with systemic racism which from my experience is pretty rampant even in my fairly liberal part of southern California where I work adolescent psych. When we started see and uptick in admissions of suicidal ideation in the LGBTQ youth in our community. I had to admit that I didn't know as much as I thought I did and took it upon myself to educate myself on the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth. I took a number of seminars and CEU opportunities and it really helped me in my practice. 

Still I ususally don't discuss aspects of my personal life with co-workers unless we have worked together for some time. In one case I mentioned to a therapist that she had put herself in danger when she hugged an agressive male patient of color. Her reply to me was that I wouldn't understand because I was white. I actually replied to her that she didn't know anything about me and that it was another form of racism to assume she knew anything about me by looking only at my blond hair and blue eyes.

She was let go shortly there-after due to her actions putting both staff and patient's in danger.

Conversations about your individual lifestyle/culture do not belong in the work place and are often seen as a baiting tactic to out a person who is quite possibly a xenophobe or racist.

If you are still in California and looking for work we are always hiring though as a private small facility the pay is less than places like Metro!

Hppy

Being gay is who I am and a characteristic. I will discuss it anywhere I choose to. Work, gym, a republican convention 😂. Biting your tongue and staying quiet just feeds into keeping what’s normal to society all there is out there. I have to hear about people’s kids graduation and having a baby which I care less about. I will discuss being gay and liberal all day!

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 40 years experience.

22 minutes ago, xwill327 said:

I never have my head down and my mouth will always run for what’s good for society. You sound like a a bay boomer who allowed all this racism. Please stay out of my comments with that negativity 

This non-Christian lesbian boomer suggests that you study your own history. Start with the Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis and the Stonewall Rebelllion.

You stand on our shoulders, youngster, just as we stand on the shoulders of the generations of queers who went before us who had the sheer audacity to survive. You have no business runnning your mouth about justice and accountability until you’ve taken accountability for your own ignorance and personal agenda.

xwill327, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych RN BC. Has 7 years experience.

Victim blaming and attacking. Like I said stay out of my comments with your negativity. Clearly pulling me down. Don’t care who or what you are. 

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 40 years experience.

37 minutes ago, xwill327 said:

Victim blaming and attacking. Like I said stay out of my comments with your negativity. Clearly pulling me down. Don’t care who or what you are. 

Well, I can see you have the jargon down pat. The accountability, not so much. If you’re going to preach about your gay culture on the job, you should at least learn what it is first.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 18 years experience.

1 hour ago, xwill327 said:

I never have my head down and my mouth will always run for what’s good for society. You sound like a a bay boomer who allowed all this racism. Please stay out of my comments with that negativity 

Whoa there, not need to engage in name calling especially since @caliotter3 is a well established member of this forum and gives sound and sensible advice to many. Plus you cannot make a post as devisive as yours was and then pick and choose how people will answer you. It is the nature of public forums that they be uncensored. There are many places where discussions about politics and religion as well as race and gender relations do not belong. Just as you commented that you have to endure pictures of people's children and graduation pics etc. You are not required to endure anything! If you express polite disinterest people will stop subjecting you to them. This is what we mean by keeping one's head down and doing one's job. If you want to advocate for the rights of any group you have to assess your audience first. The fact that you are a travel nurse on temporary assignment means that it doesn't matter what people think of you as you will be gone when your contract ends and the regular staff will remain. You are not going to change how anyone thinks by trying to force them to think the way you do. As my daddy used to say... "You can lead a horse to water and you can shove that horses head in the water but you can't make him drink it and will more likely end up covered in water and horse snot." I admire what you are trying to do just not your methods. When I am trying to convice someone about something I first try to understand where they are coming from then adjust my argument to bring about the results I want. It is no more okay for you to discuss your gender identity in the workplace than it would be for me to discuss mine. 

BTW not all boomers are are racist or xenophobic - I have seen such thoughts and words come from millennials, Gen X and Gen Z.

Hppy

xwill327, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych RN BC. Has 7 years experience.

I am not here to be polite. I am sharing my story to make awareness and to FIGHT. trust me it goes beyond this forum!
The workplace LEGALLY needs to be a safe space where you are free to be who you are, and that INCLUDES Your gender identity. The issue is not that people at work are saying these things, its the fact that management and staff in supervisory positions are spouting hateful and discriminatory rhetoric that contributes to a hostile and unsafe working environment. There are laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace.IN ANY WORKPLACE. So anti-muslim and anti-gay rhetoric is NEVER NEVER OK.

The fact that no one commented in this way is alarming!

Joe V

Specializes in Programming / Strategist / Web Development. Has 24 years experience.

This is a public forum. THIS IS OUR HOUSE.

We must ALL be civil. This means no name calling. No finger pointing. No tantrum as if this is your place. By posting here you are asking for comments from all sides all colors. If you stay positive people will respond in kind. If you turn negative you are just pushing people away.

Thank you for understanding. 👍

xwill327, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych RN BC. Has 7 years experience.

Never said I understand. There are no rules when battling discrimination. Once again focusing on the wrong thing. ✌🏿

When I read your original post I was horrified by the statements your coworkers made. (Well... I was horrified by the “come to Nigeria and be killed” comment. The joke about “crazy trump” is just a joke in bad taste, not a discipline-level offense). However, now that I’ve read your responses here, I have a totally different view of what went down. If someone actually looked you in the face and said— actually said, out loud— “All gay people should be killed”, then that person should be fired, period. I got no idea what else went on, but it sounds like it’s good you left. 

So do you want real answers or only those that you like? You can't ask questions and then bite the heads off of everyone who has a different opinion than your own. That will only shut down dialogue and effective communication. Yes, some people on this forum, any forum, stoke conflict but the people in this thread don't fit that agenda and are genuinely giving you replies from their POV. If you don't agree, fine, that's OK. But engaging in war, as you see it, means you don't really want answers, you want yes men/women.

So again, what are you seeking here since you only want to accept answers that support your POV? And before you come with the rah-rah, what they said to you at that job was wrong, but how did you respond when they said it? There will be people with racism, xenophobia, bigotry, etc at every job so do you plan to never work again? 

I see and experience racism and bigotry simply due to my skin tone on a regular so I get it. However, it won't stop me from living my life and being the greatness that I am. You don't have to get over it but it's how you react, respond that makes you the better person, and make others listen to you for you to get results. If your first reaction is to dismiss any thoughts not kowtowing to your own then no one will care thereafter. I'm tired just reading this thread of you being rude to people responding.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

11 hours ago, xwill327 said:

Never said I understand. There are no rules when battling discrimination. Once again focusing on the wrong thing. ✌🏿

But there ARE rules when you make an account on AllNurses and agree to the TOS - and those rules include name-calling etc. 

12 hours ago, xwill327 said:

I am sharing my story to make awareness and to FIGHT.

That’s the problem. You’re picking fights, currently with random strangers who have done nothing to you whatsoever, and this approach never, ever works. 
This forum, fortunately, is about as diverse as any forum can get. Sure, we have our troglodytes, but the vast majority are open-minded and more than willing to dialogue with you about your experience. That’s extremely difficult to do with someone who spews acid at everyone. Heck you even attacked a poster who is part of your community. How is that furthering “awareness”? 

11 hours ago, xwill327 said:

There are no rules when battling discrimination.

Who on this forum has discriminated against you?

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