Accused of being racist - how to handle? - page 4

In caring for an African American child this morning, her father accused me of being both "racist" and "uppity." Apparently, while I was tending to his child, he asked me repeatedly how to make a... Read More

  1. by   firstyearstudent
    Quote from Susan9608
    I'm a little disgusted by the remarks a few people have made about how he probably didn't really think I'm racist, but was just trying to push my buttons. That's total manipulation, and the remarks made to that effect seem to be condoning - or at least tolerating - that type of behavior. Why in the world would someone claim something as serious and devestating as racism simply to "push buttons"? I think that's sick, sick behavior.
    Perhaps, and I'm just guessing here, someone could have experienced so much discrimination in their life that they no longer care what they have to do to make sure they get treated decently. Or perhaps they feel it's okay to get what they can however they can because they have been denied so often.

    I am not condoning or excusing behavior but trying to explain it. Trying to figure out where someone else is coming from, as opposed to just categorizing them as jerks is effective and promotes change. You can sympathize with people without excusing their behavior or accepting blame.

    It's hard to do but I'm trying to train myself to react to anger, not with anger, but with sympathy. To not think, "Who in the *%&$# does he think he is?", but "This person has been hurt."
    Last edit by firstyearstudent on May 25, '07
  2. by   81Bubbles
    I think many individuals read way too much into things. I don't care if you are white, black, yellow brown, oragne or even purple. I will give you all the same care as my patient, and my patient comes before their family. And to accuse me of inappropriate behavior is absurd.
  3. by   EmerNurse
    I've found that lots of mad people (mad at their situation, mad at the wait, whatever) will escalate their comments when they get only a professional attitude from less severe comments. Eventually, yeah, they ARE trying to get a reaction, in an effort to get what they want (in the ER, it's usually to get moved ahead in line). People often use what has worked in the past, and the racism comment is one of them.

    I tend to assume (at least outwardly) that the person could NOT POSSIBLY have "meant it that way" to the tune of "Oh no sir, the only color I see is red <pointing to the blood>. As soon as we get that number <pointing to sat of 78) up above 90, I'll be happy to help with your call. Now, hold her head still for me while I suction all that blood..." all with the innocent sweet smile.

    If it had escalated to something like "I do'nt want some racist B** taking care of my kid!", that's when I'd say "I'm sorry you feel that way sir, let me get my charge nurse" and never go back. I've only had that happen one time and it was from guy, who when he received a black nurse (of island descent) decided he didn't like HER either.

    I *try* to assume that people are reacting to a horrible situation, as opposed to ME personally (after all, they don't know ME personally, do they?) but if I can't win them over, I will certainly bow to their wishes and leave. Not worth my license.

    Oh about the incident report - file one but be careful about keeping a copy. Any notes you have about a sitiation (including a copy of a report) is discoverable in court - even if the hospital's incident report isn't. So, generally keeping a copy is a no-no.
  4. by   NoMoreStudying
    Quote from i_am_julia
    this post is extremely offensive.
    exactly why is it extremely offensive? i think it's important to dwell in fact rather than topics so emotional. particularly when there are more important topics at hand. it also lets people know that you have the same real goals as them, not side items. the majority of the time, people will see you actually care about what happens to their loved one. an "i'm sorry you feel that way" never hurts either, sugar rather than vinegar.

    in some ways, yes i'm being a bit lighthearted in my comments. on the other hand, i've grown up biracial in this country and with two poor families, so i can see both sides.

    on other topics posted, i think there have been documented studies that minorities or disadvantaged (it's so easy to lump the two unnecessarily) tend to be distrusting of the medical community. there is a history of unequal treatment or poor explanations and involvement in care. it's almost expected and it's part of the image and practice change to make medicine more holistic.
  5. by   anonymurse
    Quote from NoMoreStudying
    i always bring it back to fact in one short sentence
    Acting like you didn't hear something gives that person the chance to re-evaluate and act like he didn't say it, too. I have had folks turn on a dime given the opportunity.
  6. by   Batman24
    You sound like a wonderful and intelligent nurse. I am so happy to read that your supervisors were supportive and helpful. My guess is this man was frustrated and took it out on you. I would be afraid to touch the child again because when someone makes one false allegation you never know what they will say next.
  7. by   NoMoreStudying
    Quote from i_am_julia
    this post is extremely offensive.
    wait, are you talking about the boat comment? many initial vietnamese refugees came here on long unsanitary boat rides, rationing what little food was provided. my family is one of them, by choice of course. so when i have regular people complain that i don't understand how hard it is, it always makes me chuckle that they think i was born into a nice middle class lifestyle.

    i wasn't talking about slavery. which, yes, would be quite offensive.
  8. by   Susan9608
    Don't let comments like this get to you PLEASE. I'm sure the guy didn't really think you were racist, he was probably pissed and just wanted to push your buttons,
    He has full awareness that many Causasian people are horrendously fearful of being branded a 'racist' and, unfortunately, he played on that fear rather skillfully.
    Both of these statements make it seem like it's a common and accepted pattern of behavior for minorities to claim racism, even if they don't truly believe racism is occurring, just to push buttons or incite anxiety. I find it digusting if that's true and if other people accept that behavior as okay or typical. Why should minorities get to engage in these types of behaviors just because their minorities?
  9. by   CHATSDALE
    too many children are raised in anger
    some believe everyone is out to get them because of area of the country, gender, sexual orientation, race anything to remove guilt from themselves
    some when they are stressed believe that other people are there to dump on
    if yo feel that any particular situation is getting out of hand step back and let somone else intervene..if a person has little control verbally they may also have little control with physical harm
  10. by   81Bubbles
    :yeahthat:to Susan9608's last post
  11. by   CHATSDALE
    there is distrust with minorities about the health care and with police
    i think that both of these callings do the best that they can sometimes the outcome is hard to accept but don't believe that there is any deliberate abuse or neglect
  12. by   anonymurse
    Quote from NoMoreStudying
    Wait, are you talking about the boat comment? Many initial Vietnamese refugees came here on long unsanitary boat rides, rationing what little food was provided. My family is one of them, by choice of course. So when I have regular people complain that I don't understand how hard it is, it always makes me chuckle that they think i was born into a nice middle class lifestyle.

    I wasn't talking about slavery. Which, yes, would be quite offensive.
    Funny thing. All my life I've heard black folks complaining about white folks and white folks complaining about black folks like by being Asian I was naturally on their side or something, and like there wasn't any kind of racism worth addressing except white on black and black on white, and us untouched by any such thing. Incredible.
  13. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from tarshamarie123
    Wow. I find the last paprgraph of this to be extremely offensive. And beyond assumptive. This so called "under cover" racism may not even be there. In my opinion it is reverse racism to believe that you know what another races intentions are. It all stereotyping and we as nurses should be above that
    If you became offended, then so be it.

    Here's the reality. The original poster is obviously upset at being labeled a 'racist,' or else she would have never started this thread in the first place. Being branded a 'racist' bothered her enough to start this thread, and garner opinions and advice from others on this website.