Are you afraid to approach minority staff members? WHY? - page 4

It's been said that racism and discrimination runs both ways. White nurses complain that minorities gather together and exclude them from conversations. Minorities say that they are passed over for... Read More

  1. by   hoolahan
    Grew up in the burbs, where my parents and grandparents still used the N word, and it made me and my sister uncomfortable, b/c I don't think they realized how well-integrated the schools were. Something they hadn't expereinced in thier school years.

    So, you grow up hearing nonsense. Then, horror of all horrors, our neighbors, in the burbs, sold their house to a black family.

    Well, turns out, they were the nicest people you could ever meet. My Biploar/nutcase mother would have her episodes, and the police were called to our house many times, and who would take my sister and I in? My neighbor Doris. She was like a surrogate mother to me. Ironically, her husband didn't like her mixing with us too much.

    One summer night, we got an earful, and an education, when her husband was in the backyard, screaming at the top of his lungs to their son, "You will keep your black azz in a balc family, you hear me?!!!" We were LOAO!!! Never knew it could work both ways!

    Moing on, in school, it was a little strained for both sides, I think more b/c most whites were affluent, and the blacks were not. Not too many interacila friendships observed.

    So, when I became a nurse, a very naive nurse, 19 year old ADN put in charge the dat I passed boards on a 42 bed m/s unit, on nights, in a city hospital. There were many times I was the only while girl on the unit. Not only were the staff all black, but also all married, with kids, and we simply didn't have much in common. So, having to sit every night and not be included in any conversation, or having everything I said get the "eye roll," it was intimidating. If the other black RN asked one of the aides who had her head down on the desk to do her I&o's she did it, but even if I asked nicely, I got, "Well, I'm kinda busy, but I will if I can." I think I was probably more intimidated by their age than their skin color, also I just was not assertive enough, too young, naive, etc to even brgin to know how to deal with it, and no one I felt I could ask about it.

    Then I met hubby. He had a lot of friends of all colors. I got to know people better, and I am a person who really likes to learn about other cultures. (When sis and I were little, we would sit at Dad's bar while he bartended on our visiting days, and it was very interesting to just observe people, became a habit.)

    Anyway, I think the ice was broken for me once the kids got into school. Then, I felt like I was on common ground. Got to meet and make friends with a lot of interesting people of all colors.

    90% of my clients in home health area I served are black. I learned the most from them. I asked them questions about everything I was curious about. It's why I love the city, and they asked me things too.

    The best thing I ever heard from one of these pt's is that when she was young, her parents always had two dogs when growing up, one white, and one black, with the intention of sjowing their kids blacks and whites could live together in harmony. I think that was the best idea I had ever heard!!!!

    OK, hubby is screeching dinner is ready, will add more later.

    Jnette, LOVE your dad's plaque!!!

    GREAT thread vegas!
  2. by   l.rae
    LV, l approach everyone w/ caution until l know them better, one never know what issues lie just general, no , l haven't had a problem, well...except for this one time, l was relief charge and this one NA hated my guts and l never knew why...yes l tried to resolve it, to no avail....this witch was scarey!...she was big, mean and ugly and had a chip on her shoulder the size of Rhode Island...she was allowed to treat me this way!....l was scared of her....finally told mangmt l wouldn't work with her anymore...they pretty much kept us on separate floors after that..........LR
  3. by   night owl
    Am I afraid to approach minority staff members? Not at all. Being the only white girl on my shift we get along just fine except for the one Black gentleman whom I never did a thing to...he just doesn't appreciate my presence. I feel comfortable enough to say, "It's time to get my white a$$ in gear" or "Come on so n so, get your black a$$ a movin." I've gone to all black discos (back in the 80's) with people I worked with and came to the conclusions that Black men have alot more class than most White men I've known. It just bothers me that this one gentleman has something against me and I'm thinking that it's my race. I'm not going to try and change his mind because he's set in his ways. I can only show him by examples that I treat all coworkers and residents with the utmost respect. Actions speak louder than words.
  4. by   nurs4kids
    The only person I've ever had a problem working with is of the same race as me. My DON and ass't DON are both black and highly respected. The best boss I ever had was black.

    It's all in how you approach people. If someone goes to a black CNA and asks for help in a superior/derrogatory way, then they are likely to get attitude. However, if you approach with respect, you are more likely to get respect in return.

    I started off in Central Supply, worked as a unit clerk...I'm a little sensitive to how nurses talk to those we depend on to help us care for our patients. Too often, I've heard nurses demand things from clerks and CNA's rather than request with respect and appreciation. I've even heard nurse's generalize about the type people working these positions. We have to remember that that clerk is trying to satisfy every patient, doctor and nurse on the are the CNA's. We're only responsible for our select patients. I've witnessed nurses sit on their butts and ask a CNA to change a bed/check a temp/etc...when the CNA is busy. Things like that leave bitterness in CNA's..I don't believe any of them come into the profession with the sole purpose of making some white nurse miserable.

    I don't care if you're red, white, black, green or purple. Treat me with respect and I'll do the same. Treat me disrespectful and I'll try to gain your respect (for a short time)..if that doesn't work then we will have to learn to work together with disrespect.

    The ONLY fuss I have about black coworker's is the quick judgement they place on white supervisor's. It's like one black opinion seals the verdict for all. If one person has a problem with a manager, automatically he/she is deemed racist. If he hires more whites than blacks, he/she is racist. Never is it considered that the one employee caused the problem or that perhaps the pool of job seeking nurses may also be more white than black. Then the flip side of the coin is that if a nurse manager hires more black than white.."well, it's about time..". Anyhow, these situations don't affect me personally, I just think it's unfair to management...there's no way for them to win.

    I just love working with good people..for good people..
    the color of their skin is not of concern to me.
  5. by   hoolahan
    I wanted to add, to my already long-winded post, I also think it is regional.

    Where I live now, it is very culturally diverse. My kids were raised w/o any predjudice, my son thought people w brown skin were chocolate for the longest time! Anyway, my kids have friends from all races and colors, and all are welcomed to my home, and mine to theirs. The schools have done everything possible to promote unity, equlaity, and harmony. When you live in an area where everyone is pretty much in the same social class, financially, there is more common ground. It is such a better community than where I grew up, where if you didn't have money, or you didn't have perfect hair and skin and expensive clothes, you were a nothing, no matter what color you were. It was more about the color of money there.

    Many people shun my township, but I wouldn't trade this community for anyplace else. (That is, unless I struck it filthy stinking rich and could afford to build a home on a beach in Hawaii or some exotic beautiful place.)
  6. by   P_RN
    Please forgive this old lady in advance. I'm 58 years old and white....."pink" as I say. My mother is first generation American, raised in Bronx, NY; my Father could trace his roots back to the 900's in Wales.

    I was raised in a home where that "kind" of language and words were not used.

    My aunt would give me the used records from the jukeboxes she supplied. Our housekeeper asked me once..."do you have any "colored" records" and I had to say no....the red and blue ones were nursery rhymes and Disney stories. I had absolutely NO idea that she and I were any different. I was about 9 at the time.

    When I got older I began to notice that here in SC the races were divided by everything from water fountains to lunch counters. But that was not me. That was another time, a shameful time and I praise God it has changed.

    In HS I went to an all white school. When I got to USC the first black student was in my English class. What a nice person.

    Our clinicals were at two separate hospitals. One white hospital, one black hospital. They were combined before I graduated and I went on to work there for 22 years. My best friend is black. I am white, we love each other as sisters. I am sure that I can't begin to know all there is about racism because I have never experienced it first hand.

    I try to follow the golden rule, and I hope I succeed. Basing attitude on anything but the inner person is wrong. I'm rambling now so forgive me.
  7. by   REDEEMED
    Hello LasVegasRN,

    This is a great thread. A lot of great replies. I would just like to expound on the term "minority" This word is not politically correct. We are now considered as people of color. "Minority" is so degrading, it stands for less than.

    :roll :kiss :roll:
    Last edit by REDEEMED on Oct 15, '02
  8. by   live4today
    The only thing I am afraid to approach is a snake......or any creepy crawly slimy thingy.

    My two very best friends are White Women. We went through college together. Their kids think of me as "Auntie Renee", and my kids think of them as family, too. :kiss

    My third best friend is Black...female...mid thirties...also a RN.

    I've dated....even been engaged to.....Caucasian men. Truth be known.....I prefer being in relationships with Caucasian men versus any other race of men.....well....puerto ricans tie with the Caucasian men. :blushkiss They've got "really good heads"!
    Last edit by live4today on Oct 15, '02
  9. by   LasVegasRN
    Originally posted by REDEEMED
    Hello LasVegasRN,

    This is a great thread. A lot of great replies. I would just like to expound on the term "minority" This word is not politically correct. We are now considered as people of color. "Minority" is so degrading, it stands for less than.

    :roll :kiss :roll:
    Hey Redeemed. I've decided I can't keep up with what is politically correct anymore. It changes too much. I had not heard of the minority thing before. When I was a kid I was black. Now I'm African-American. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be Noir Humanoid. WHO KNOWS. I'll be one of those crotchety old hags grumbling to myself in the nursing home and pinching the male CNA's butts. Happily.
  10. by   adrienurse
    I am white (actually, quite pink to tell the truth). I am the visable minority at work. Does this bother me, no. I have not problem working with other people as long as they are quality workers.
  11. by   shannonRN
    i don't think the word minority works as a descriptive term....i think it is all relative. where i live whites are the majority...where my mother teachers whites are the minority.
    Originally posted by LasVegasRN
    WHO KNOWS. I'll be one of those crotchety old hags grumbling to myself in the nursing home and pinching the male CNA's butts. Happily.
    you left out the part about beating all of your nurses with that big ole coach purse of yours because they are trying to steal from you!
  12. by   kimmicoobug
    I am yeller and PROUD of it! I am a minority wherever I go and glad to say I don't get treated differently at all. No, that isn't true. I get asked questions quite frequently as to if I was born in this country and if English is my native language, and questions about food. I take no offense at all. I am a student and am treated no differently in the clinical setting. (Oh, by the way, I am of Asian descent--born and raised here in America. 1st generation.)
  13. by   CMERN
    I am me..I have had white and black friends and co workers. I live by the "golden rule" treat others as I wish to be treated, but am not angered when the same treatment is not given in return. why? because we are all human and humans have oh so a diverse way of treating one another. I find that its a persons choice if they use my color to judge me..I cant change my color and cant change their mind. So I carry on, I be me and as a nurse strive to adhere to my professions standards. Ever tried to make a rock mad?...or hurt a rocks feelings...or make a rock cry...or belittle a rock? a rock is a rock is a rock....
    Last edit by CMERN on Oct 16, '02