Racism in the workplace - page 12

Not to be a downer or anything but I have noticed some harsh things said about patients and sometimes even co workers in my unit when they think no one else can hear them. Has anyone else dealt with... Read More

  1. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Logan
    They lose their value by losing their 'exclusivity'.
    Really? When's the last time you heard Jews refer to themselves as K*kes. Or Hispanics refer to themselves as Sp*cs. Or Asians referring to themselves as Ch*nks. Or Gays referring to themselves as "F*ggots."

    And ... when's the last time you saw those words used in popular culture ... like a movie, song, etc? Sure, it happens occassionally ... but is it a common and frequent occurence in popular culture? No.

    But this is where it really causes a problem. Look at the case of a 19 year old white man in New York who was charged with a hate crime for beating up three black men while calling them the N-word. Because some African Americans frequently use the N-word ... he actually used that as a defense.


    As for the n-word: Minucci has told the Daily News’s Denis Hamill in a jailhouse interview: “I didn’t say ‘n---er’ with an ‘er.’ But ‘n---a’ with an ‘a’ at the end. There’s a very big difference in the hip-hop world that I come from . . . ‘What up, n---a’ is like saying, ‘What’s up, pal?’” To bolster his argument, Minucci notes that he grew up in mostly black East New York: “I went to Junior High School 226, where I was the only Italian in a school of 2,000 mostly African-American kids. All of my friends . . . were black. All of them. . . . And we always called each other ‘n---a’ all the time.”

    So ... if using the N word causes it to lose it's value ... can this man be charged with a hate crime? How are future hate crimes going to be prosecuted when the lines are blurred and using the N-word may actually become a defense because some African Americans use it all the time.

    Do you see the problem here?

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Aug 27, '06
  2. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from lizz
    Do you see the problem here?

    Not really.

    See, this reminds me of a local Cali town that wanted to pass an ordinance preventing loitering near ATM machines. Why? To cut down on robberies near ATM machines, of course.

    But to me, actually enforcing the law against robberies would be more on point.

    I don't see the need to differentiate what's a 'hate crime' and what isn't. If the 'intent' is to commit a crime, punish it! Your example doesn't mean this guy is going to get off. If he beat someone up, he needs to go to jail. Regardless his 'motive', his 'intent' was to break the law.

    I think it's quite dangerous to try to differentiate motive from intent. It's too subjective. We should focus on crime and not mind reading. Otherwise, you open the door to too many subjective possibilities. It's a small step from your thoughts being an element of a crime to your thoughts BEING a crime.

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Quote from staygold
    Why do Americans assume its always about black people and white people and the word ****** when discussing racism?I left out the races of the other involved parties for the fear of this happening.But since it did i'd like to know.
    Not speaking for all Americans, but as one American, i never assumed it was only about two races and one word!!! Sheesh

    (yeah, done here:angryfire )
  4. by   SaharaOnyxRN
    Quote from TriageRN_34
    Another time, an elderly resident of mine grabbed my arm so tight as I was passing her in the hallway after a caregiver who happened to be black passed her. She said to me "Is that a N---- (horrid word!!!!)!!!!". I looked her straight in the eye and simply said 'YES'. and pulled her hand off me and walked away! I think that simple phrase showed two things...one, I wasn't going there!!! And two...to get over herself! It worked...I never had another probelm with residents ever again about different races at work (word must have gotten out not to go there!).
    And why would you say "YES" to such a racist remark? That didn't show that lady anything but that it was okay to disrespect black people by degrading them with racist talk. I would have had to lay it on the line for her. There is no way this would've been tolerated by me. I don't care what time period they grew up in. This is 2006. It's time for a change. They was very unacceptable on your part.
  5. by   staygold
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    Not speaking for all Americans, but as one American, i never assumed it was only about two races and one word!!! Sheesh

    (yeah, done here:angryfire )
    No offense or anything but if you're not an American that assumed that then the question wasn't directed towards you.I directed it towards the posters that are from America that did assume that it was a black white issue.It wasn't a blanket statement towards all Americans.I hope this clears up any confusion

    P.S. Thanks to Zashagalka for explanatory reply.It makes sense.I only posted the question because where I was born in Nigeria is not like this and I feel west Africa is more effected by colonialism today than America but there is still not as much racial tension and insensitivity as America.
    Last edit by staygold on Aug 27, '06
  6. by   PANurseRN1
    From reading some of the posts, it's as if you're guilty of being a racist just by virtue of being white. Tell me how that's not racist?
  7. by   PANurseRN1
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    Not speaking for all Americans, but as one American, i never assumed it was only about two races and one word!!! Sheesh

    (yeah, done here:angryfire )
  8. by   madwife2002
    Hi Guys

    Please keep calm. It has been a great thread and we cant let it detiorate
  9. by   Multicollinearity
    All I know, is that as a white lady I cannot imagine telling someone of another color what they can do or can't do with words that have been used in hate against them. I know that I am a bit uncomfortable when I hear a black person use the n***** word - but I have no idea as much as I try, what it is like to walk in their shoes.

    I think back to the few times I've heard my lesbian friends at church tease each other with the d*** word. Who am I to tell them that they cannot use this word? It made me uncomfortable to hear the word for a few seconds or minutes. They LIVE the reality of being a recipient of hate and phobia permanently. When I attempt to place myself in their shoes, I feel I have zero moral right to tell them that I don't think they should do this.

    Try to imagine yourself as a minority. You sometimes hear word(s) used in hate against you. Amoung your friends you reclaim the word and feel empowered. Then someone of the majority comes along and tells you that what you have done is inappropriate. Personally, I'd want to wack that person upside the head. Try to place yourself in their shoes and get a glimpse of another perspective.
  10. by   weirdRN
    Quote from staygold
    I was born in Nigeria is not like this and I feel west Africa is more effected by colonialism today than America but there is still not as much racial tension and insensitivity as America.
    When I look at your frame of reference, I understand what you are saying. Nigeria is now where The US was back in the 1800's as far as race relations go. Consider that.

    How much do you know about American history? Our society and culture has been shaped by a mulitiude of attitudes, mostly Western European. Look at the immigration trends over the course of the last three hundred years. You will see that immigration has had the most dramtic impact on the face of American culture in the last hundred twenty years or so. Also look at the number of educated peolpe in the US now as opposed to then. More education and exposure to a variety of expeiences lessens prejudice and by association, racism.

    I would LOVE to say that when I look at a patient, I don't see skin color, or economic status or attutde and that I do not judge anyone by the clothes or shoes that they wear or the way that they walk or talk.

    I can't say any of those things. I am not proud of that. That is just the way that it is. I do not use racial slurs or epithets. I do not talk down to or disrespect my patients. I just do my best. I provide the best care I am capable of providing to every patient everyday.

    Incidentally, when I was about five, my grandmother told me that the N-word was a dirty word and that she would wash my mouth out with soap and whip me with a plum limb if I ever said it again.
  11. by   kadokin
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I'm a black nurse who lives and works in Texas and, yes, I've seen and felt some subconscious racism at the workplace. My elderly patients have been surprisingly wonderful. As a student I had always expected the elderly patients to be the most prejudiced, but I've been pleasantly surprised so far. Perhaps they've had many more years to learn how to hide it proficiently.

    I've experienced subconscious racism from a small handful of family members as well as several former coworkers.
    I think what you are experiencing (RE: elderly pts) is what is known as common courtesy and respect for your fellow human beings. I think our elders were just better at teaching the concept of self-respect as equivalent to respect for others.

    An ageist replys
  12. by   kadokin
    Quote from multicollinarity
    I think the trouble is that it's not like most people are 100% racist or 100% free of any racism. Racism isn't like being pregnant or not. What I mean is that I think it is a matter of shades of gray. Now someone who would ask if a nurse is a n----. That person has awfully dark shades of gray with her racism. But few people have zero racist thoughts. It's just not possible to escape the effects and taints in society. I see hints of racism with minorities and caucasians often in my daily life. Sometimes I catch myself with a subtle racist thought and I'm ashamed. That is the truth. Makes me think of that movie, Crash.
    Haven't seen "crash", but I think I know what you're talking about. As human beings we are fallible and subject to thinking of others as "of-a-type". Those who are a little bit different from us are more easily dealt w/if placed into categories: black/white; nurses/doctors; rich/poor; young/old; fat/skinny; sinners/saints; labor/administration; us/them. Not to dilute the racism factor, but, "can't we all just get along".:wink2:
  13. by   kadokin
    Quote from happytobehere
    there are so many things to overcome in this world and rasicm is a true issue, there is no denying it. I keep my mouth shut most of the time I did have one incident at work. One of the pct's was talking about how she doesn't like being called a black lady by the white girls on the floor! It put some things into perspective for me, and made a laugh a little,,, everyone sees things different from their own eyes. In 50 years we will all be such ethnic mutts there may not even be a race anymore. Who knows, we might have to concentrate on peoples character instead of skin color!!!!
    Amen to that!