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When coworkers make prejudiced statements

Posted

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

Yesterday I had two nurses make anti-Mexican statements. The first was a new nurse who moved from Montana and made these statements in the medroom. She's having trouble adjusting to the hospital, which does have a considerable Mexican population, but I haven't noticed the Mexicans being particularly difficult patients, they seem to come in all stripes. I made some soothing comments and changed the subject.

The second statement was made during report, I was telling the story of a patient who was a real psychosocial disaster, very difficult, a total drain on society type, we had to move her roomate the woman was so loud, obnoxious and off the wall. She had a Spanish last name so the nurse I reported to made a derogatory remark. I told him that I didn't think this woman was Mexican but was married to one, thus nipping that one in the bud. He made this comment at the nurses station within earshot of everyone! :eek:

Meanwhile, we have Hispanic coworkers galore, most of whom are awesome people! I suppose a few Hispanic workers might also resent non-Hispanics, but I find the whole thing appalling. It always blindsides me! I need to practice a witty comeback, like the fact that my husband's half sisters are half Mexican (true).

How do you guys handle this type of situation?

I walk away....I was listening to anti-immigrant tripe in the cafeteria one day. I told myself consider the source and went back to work. The world is too small to limit our social contacts to only those who share our cultural/social upbringing.

I think we should look to see what we can learn from others. I might have said just that. None of us have the right to judge others until we have walked a mile in their shoes.

truern

Specializes in Telemetry & Obs.

How do you guys handle this type of situation?

With a cold haughty stare.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I'm not actually talking about differing opinions on immigration policies. I'm speaking about prejudiced remarks about people based on their ethnic or national origins.

Wanting restrictions on immigration doesn't necessarily make one a bigot. Just thought I'd point that out. We weren't discussing immigration policies.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

With a cold haughty stare.

Does a stunned nonresponse count?

truern

Specializes in Telemetry & Obs.

I'm speaking about prejudiced remarks about people based on their ethnic or national origins.

Figured that ;)

truern

Specializes in Telemetry & Obs.

Does a stunned nonresponse count?

For now....

We'll work on the cold haughty part :D

azhiker96, BSN, RN

Specializes in PACU. Has 10 years experience.

I usually try to point out that we are ALL individuals and give an example of either a member of the group that doesn't meet their stereotype or a member of their group that does. What I find amazing is the amount of stereotypes that are tossed about with abandon and without a thought that it's prejudice. Examples; "whiney gynie pts", "men are babies when it comes to pain", "nurses are the worst pts".

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

For now....

We'll work on the cold haughty part :D

I'll have to work on that in front of the mirror. How's this: :stone

:stone

how about directly saying, "i find your/that statement bigoted and inappropriate".

*shrug*

works for me.

leslie

truern

Specializes in Telemetry & Obs.

how about directly saying, "i find your/that statement bigoted and inappropriate".

*shrug*

works for me.

leslie

Where's the fun in that, Leslie?? :D

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 40 years experience.

Then there's asking point blank "What's being Mexican (black, queer, rich, poor, fundamentalist, redneck, liberal, conservative ... etc.) got to do with it?" and not letting up until they answer.

Where's the fun in that, Leslie?? :D

the fun begins when they inevitably put their foot in their mouth and catch some grief.

leslie:)

SpringerCab

Specializes in med-surg,ortho,oncology,teaching.

A couple of us were discussing welfare yesterday and it was mentioned that it is usually blacks and mexicans. I then informed them that I have a sister and sister in law that are what I consider "poor white trash." They didn't really have much more to say.

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

I don't like designating people as 'trash'.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

I think you have to speak up and confront behavior of this type. Silence is tantamount to acceptance. It certainly may not be the situation in this case, but sometimes people are not even aware that they are using inappropriate words -- that are hurtful and offensive to others. In any case - if you speak up and confront the offender, he/she may not change behaviors, but will probably be less likely to do it around you in the future.

Case in point: an educated colleague who used the term "Jew someone down" in a conversation with a dear Jewish friend of mine. After being called on it, the speaker said he had never even thought of the origin of the phrase or that it was prejudicial.

ktwlpn, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice.

How about "I kept my maiden name on my nursing license and use it at work but my husband's name is Jesus Rodriguez"

madwife2002, BSN, RN

Specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN. Has 26 years experience.

I'm with Leslie I would inform them that I find it offensive to judge people by where they come from. Where will it end if you say nothing?

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