AA hair care racist? - page 4

I was caring for a very sweet AA lady, w/ TKA and asked if there was anything special she wanted me to do for her hair. She got all upset and said I was a racist. I was shocked by this, as I was... Read More

  1. by   psalm
    I have many pts who are black (not all american here so I use the term "black" respectfully here) and I learn a lot from them at those "teachable moments". When we talk about skin care, I ask what products seem to work the best for her. I also ask my co-workers what they use that works for them when we have down time and visit.

    I attribute my having very few pregnancy-related stretch marks to my black co-workers in the 70s for suggesting cocoa butter to relieve the itchiness on my expanding abd!
  2. by   dudenurse1962
    Ive been accused of being racist several times. I always end up winning my patients over. I do it three ways. 1) Try to remember sick people are not always on there best behavior so learn to not take critisism too personally. 2) Remember that they may be sensitive because of things that happened to them in the past. 3) Work and live where there is a variety of people with diverse backgrounds and different races and you will become confident at communicating with different people.
  3. by   HONEYIS2CUTE
    Omg common on she didnt mean it, if she had dementia she would probably foget it, dont think anything of it dont take things personally, they dont know whey they say half the time, dont worry, i know sometimes, its had but not to take it personal which is what u have done,
    she'll be fine, just tell her how lovely she looks
    she will love you
    better yet get her a drink of her favourite things
  4. by   herecomestrouble
    I once had a little old lady who's hair had been put in cornrows at some point but was now a real mess,growing out all coming apart.For some unknown stroke of luck I was all caught up on work and had some time so I went into her room and started to take out the braids,comb her hair,got some hairgrease from a coworker and redid her cornrows.She just looked all confused and said"I never thought I'd live to see the day that a white women would braid my hair!"My kids have friends from many cultures and for some reason I have always found braiding hair very relaxing,my own form of therapy
  5. by   EmerNurse
    Patient hair has always been a pet peeve of mine, when I worked on the floor. When someone is lying in bed, their hair tends to get matted and knotted, especially at the back where it is on the pillow, unless the pt. or someone else takes time to comb it out, wash it out and make it nice. That goes for all hair types, regardless of race. Only guys with crew cuts are exempt.

    I work in a very very diverse area where many of my co-workers are black (like psalm, many are not american so I am not using "AA", no disrespect intended). I was never accused of racism when offering to do someone's hair, but I did work it slightly differently. Usually along the lines of "would you like me to comb/fix up your hair so it's not all knotted from the pillow?" Always got a yes when I asked that way. I'd then ask if there was a special way they wanted it done - loose braids or whatever. Personally, I prefer braids for any long-ish hair simply because it tends to hold the hair in a place where it won't get quite so knotted.

    My black co-workers were great about teaching me about specific hair needs like moisturizing and I learned to braid cornrows (which will not stay in my hair no matter - Bo Derrick be darned).

    I'd document, like everyone else said, and I'd also go back to the woman and tell her "I'm sorry if you felt offended, but I only wanted to help you have your hair so it doesn't get all knotted up while you're in bed. I do it for all my patients." If she continues in her opinion, well, lesson learned - maybe she'll let someone else do her hair or doesn't mind if her head feels grody (some folks really don't mind it, I've noticed - eww).

    You can't change the world but it costs you nothing to apologize and make nice.

    Sorry you've had to deal with this - it's a darn shame.
  6. by   2blessed2Bstressed
    IMO, I wouldn't have taken offense, she was probably taking out on you and meant no harm. I am AA and hair is a touchy subject, so just blow it off and continue giving excellent nursing care. Hope that helps.
  7. by   2blessed2Bstressed
    I wear my hair without chemicals. It's been about 3 years and I have learned to embrace the compliments and pray for the people that stare. I kinda feel empowered to know that I am honoring my ancestry by wearing my hair the way God intended for us to. Let me know what you think.
  8. by   AngelfireRN
    I remember one time when I was working inpatient psych, an AA nurse came up and asked for some Vaseline for an adolescent AA girl. I inquired as to what she was going to use it for, as she wanted the whole tube, (we usually put a bit in a cup for lip balm use) and she said that she was going to do this girl's hair. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, "You're gonna put that on her HAIR?!!?!?!?"

    I am Caucasian. I was not raised around ANY AA people, there were none at my school until I was in the 6th grade, and I had no knowledge base of the culture or the practices that went on. Blew my mind. All I could plead was ignorance.

    She thought it was hilarious. The girl did, too, thank mercy. I did end up watching, she made me feel the texture of the hair and explained to me the ins and outs of how and why this was done. Good opportunity, once I got my foot out of my mouth.

    I still doubt that I could do anything with AA hair, as mine can usually be managed only with a whip and a chair, but it was still pretty neat.

    And to the OP, I have been called a racist more times than I can count. I live in Alabama, and just about anything can get you called that down here. Explain to whomever that you mean no ill will, and document your rear off. Good luck.
    Last edit by AngelfireRN on May 13, '08 : Reason: spelling