Are you afraid to approach minority staff members? WHY? - page 6

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   Streamlined
    I work in a hospital in the SF Bay Area where the pain assessment scale that is posted over every bed is in 6 languages (not including the smiley/crying faces). I feel no friction with any staff person, but I get very edgy about a certain "type" of black patient. Sometimes it is the family member who demonstrates this "type" of racist behavior, ie the I'm-looking-for-this-white-nurse-to=be-a-racist-and by golly, I'm going to find it. Lunch tray doesn't get picked up quick enough, it's because I'm black. Not enough chairs in the room for the visitors, it's because I'm black. This behavior is recognized by staff of all backgrounds; we call it" the race card". It makes me uncomfortable and I don't like the way I cope with my discomfort. Sometimes I avoid, sometimes I ass-kiss, sometimes I bend over backwards, sometimes I "delegate". Whatever I end up doing to prevent entanglement with this chip-on-the-shoulder sub-group, I feel like a phony. I never feel this with Asians or Hispanics or non-English-speaking white people. But the Black Bigots are alive and well playing the race card.
  2. by   researchrabbit
    Originally posted by Streamlined
    Whatever I end up doing to prevent entanglement with this chip-on-the-shoulder sub-group, I feel like a phony.
    Do you discuss the problem with the patient/family?

    Letting people know where you're coming from often will clear the air, deflate an attitude problem, and you will not feel like a phony.

    If the person is threatening or angry enough to frighten you, then call security.
  3. by   Kathy of OK
    Hi , This is my first time to do this. Yes I do think there is discrimination in our profession. I have been an LVN/LPN in the south (Tx. & Ok.) for 15 yrs. I am a white woman from S.D. and prior to moving south had never met any minorities except native Americans. I couldn't understand why I was treated with so much disrespect esp. by African Americans. All I ask of them or anyone is to do the job in which they were payed to do. There is this one NA at my job that will get in my face to try to intimidate me if I ask her anything. I am ultimately responsible for making sure that our clients/pts are properly taken care of. I was brought up with the concept that we are all the same under our skin and that all people should be treated with respect. Am I wrong? What do you think I should do about this person? I have gone the gambit as far as trying to talk to her about it as well as writing her up. Thus far nothing is working.

    Prior to going to nsg. school I was a chef so I know first hand about discrimination!!!
  4. by   jode
    I work with many nationalities. I don't really pay much attention to it, nor do I hear too much. There is the occasional racist remark if someone is unhappy with someone or something, but overall, I don't hear too much one way or the other. We have directors and managers of all nationalities. Can't say I see too much discrimination in the promotion area. I know it exists, and I am lucky I guess to work where I do....
  5. by   pdmt
    I am embarrassed to say that I see plenty of racism in rural South Carolina where I live.

    I am not a SC native and have lived on the coast from New Jersey down to Miami for the last 20 years, and have traveled and lived outside the country -- so maybe I see my town/community more objectively than they see themselves.

    I think that the black/white situation doesn't need much comment. My community is the examplar of the old south, but I can see some enlightenment happening.

    Many Mexicans have come here for the peach and strawberry crops and now live here year round. With some exceptions, the feeling is that they are here taking local jobs, and hitting on the women.

    And we have a growing Asian community, as well. One of my classmates is Asian. She is one of the bravest and hard-working people I have met, but there are some in the class who have trouble finding a common ground.

    All of that being said, I think that a race/culture community whether it be black, white, Asian, etc, has its own identity and sometimes that identity includes a collective prejudice against another group, but I believe the challenge is to make a difference on a one-to-one basis and thereby influence the collective identity of the group.

    I have seen a lot of posts in that thread that show just that -- a willingness to see people as the individuals that they are. I'm proud of you guys.
  6. by   mattsmom81
    Good responses all around. I don't believe the 'ostrich' approach works regarding racism, sexism, agism...or any other 'ism of your choice. It is human nature to be fearful, cautious... what have you...towards a group who is 'different', IMO. We must communicate honestly and freely or things won't change and more bigotry results.

    I have zero tolerance for a situation where one race or group 'bullies' another or refuses to work with the rest, or gossips about them. Ignorance and fear can lead to vicious behavior if unchecked.

    I must admit I like a uniform standard of expectation to exist in the workplace and I feel resentful when one 'group' has a lower or higher standard than another. I wonder if this is due to management's fear of being labeled they do not address problems early on....and then the problem intensifies and causes MORE problems . It also involves their tendency to overwork the best's less work for them.

    In my experience management is particularly afraid to discipline minority workers who NEED disciplining....and the problem escalates.

    I have attempted to deal with minority staff who are stealing, lying and refusing to do their job...and have been told to 'drop it' by upper management. These behaviors don't seem tolerated in non minorities... and THIS type of situation aggravates racial tensions when observed occuring over a period of time.
    "Why can she take coffee and orange juice home to her kids from the kitchen?" I couldn't get away with that!!!" becomes the theme.

    But I also see some non minority 'favorites' who are not properly disciplined...regardless of race...and this can ALSO cause similar problems amongst the staff.... so we're back to a 'uniform standard' for all . Nobody likes someone ..individual or group....getting 'preferential treatment.'

    Not to 'light a fire' here, but I wonder if affirmative action has done much, much more to hurt American race relations than it has truly helped minorities.

    I can and will work with anyone who is competent and caring.

    Great discussion...keep it going! :roll
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Oct 17, '02
  7. by   mario_ragucci
    Lol, all this talk about these that don't like those and so on and so on. Love cuts through racial stuff quick, especially in a health care setting. I'm sorry to sound vain. Others can hate you because of the way you look, but they can not stop you from loving them. Once the PT/coworker is exposed to love, these situations reduce. Of course there are hardboiled racists and the like. Focus on the big sky and the big love.
  8. by   RNinICU
    Originally posted by nursegoodguy

    I do believe that if this planet survives then we will be one race and I really do think it is a good thing! One less thing to fight about...

    I think this bears repeating.
    Last edit by RNinICU on Oct 18, '02
  9. by   RNinICU
    I was raised in a small town, and went to an all white school. I had very little contact with other ethnic groups until I started working. We have a few Blacks working in every department of our hospital, from Nursing to Dietary, and a few Hispanics, but most of the employees are white. I have never had a problem working with any of them, and never felt uncomfortable delegating to anyone, or accepting delegation from anyone either. This thread has reminded me of several incidents where race was a factor. Please forgive me if this gets too long.

    I do a lot of teaching, and frequently speak on health care issues for community groups. One of my coworkers asked me to speak about breast cancer to her Church group. On the day I was speaking, I walked into the Church, and discovered that I was the only white person there. I was completely surprised, as it had never occurred to me that this was an all black Church. After the presentation, my friend asked me if I had been uncomfortable when I had first entered the Church. I had to tell her that I was a little, but more because of the size of the crowd than their color. By the way, this was one of the best audiences I ever had. They were attentive and involved in the speech, and asked a lot of questions after wards. I have gone back to this church to speak several times since, and I am always just as wel received.

    Another time, my husband and I were in New York City, and were a little lost. We stopped in a McDonalds to eat, and were the only white people in the restaurant. Everyone there kind of stared at us, but they did not seem hostile, just curious. For the first time I knew what it felt like to be part of a minority.

    Right after my daughter graduated from high school, she went to Philadelphia to work, and lived there with her brother for a while. She would frequently come home for the weekend, and often brought a friend with her. One weekend she brought home a black girl. The two of them went to a neighborhood store to pick up a few things, and my daughter came home livid. She told me that she was so humiliated for her freind because the entire time they were in the store the clerk watched them, as if he was afraid they would steal something. Keep in mind that my daughter had often visited this store and was well known there. She left the clerk know what she thought of him, and he told her she should know better than to bring that ------ into the store. My daughter was actually more upset about it than her friend was.

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that we have come a long way, but still have a lot farther to go. Maybe someday when we make contact with beings from another planet we can stop hating each other because than we will have someone new to hate.
  10. by   renerian
    This thread reminded me of the other day. I had started a new job, orientation, and I sat by a group of four people. When I sat down they started talking in another language which I thought was rather rude. I guess they felt it connected them but it really excluded me. The only person they spoke to in english was the people doing the orientation. They did not say one word to me in English even after I said hello.

  11. by   hoolahan
    Rebel, I don't think anyone is saying that just b/c their brother/uncle/sister-in-law/neighbor is (insert color here) it makes them automatically not a racist, but rather, just explaining this was thier first exposure to a differnt culture. And at first many think a person may be different b/c they are different on the outside, but that after getting to know the person on the inside, that the outside is just a jacket we wear.

    I like to think we are all like M&M's. Good on the inside, interesting variaties on the outside.

    Guiseppe, I think one huge blended culture is a beautiful thought, but I like variety. The many shades of skin colors, and eye colors. To me, we're still all the same underneath, so we already are blended, we just haven't all figured it out yet!
  12. by   rebelwaclause
    Originally posted by Streamlined
    we call it" the race card". I never feel this with Asians or Hispanics or non-English-speaking white people. But the Black Bigots are alive and well playing the race card.
    This is a very valid observation and I see it at times too. Do you think its a black person being a bigot or just over-blown preconceived notions? Or, not trusting another race because of negative interactions with them? It's wrong to judge an entire race by what happened with a few, but maybe this is their way of dealing with past unresolved issues. Either way, I don't agree that you should have to be the one to suffer such "hazing", especially if you are doing everything humanly possible to satisfy your patient.
    Last edit by rebelwaclause on Oct 18, '02
  13. by   rebelwaclause
    Originally posted by hoolahan
    And at first many think a person may be different b/c they are different on the outside, but that after getting to know the person on the inside, that the outside is just a jacket we wear.

    I like to think we are all like M&M's. Good on the inside, interesting variaties on the outside.

    Hoolahan...You are "the bomb" ("Way cool" in teen terms).