A Nurse With Attitude

Where Dark Cynical Humor, Nursing Issues, and Politics Seem to Merge

Racism is only a matter of perspective


I was at Ruby Tuesday’s with my wife having lunch today. There was a well dressed middle class family having lunch in the booth next to us. It was a black man and a white woman with two little kids. They had a boy and a girl at about two and three years old. The two kids were, like any two and three year olds, very busy and impossible to sit still. Also, they were obvious offspring of these two people. I saw a wonderful mix of both parents. I elbowed my wife as the youngest stood up in the booth to look at the customers in the booth behind them. As the man saw me looking at the kids, I turned back to my meal, just in time to hear him mumble to his wife, “damn racist whitey.”

I have three sons in their twenties. The oldest has been married for a few years. The other two don’t even have a girlfriend. When working in surgery and we need a particular instrument, we call a core tech. The last core tech quit, and until we hire a new one, we cycle techs from other departments. The other day a cute young girl came through. She was smart, energetic, and had a strong work ethic. At lunch, I found her, and after a pleasant conversation I eventually asked, “hey, are you married?” After a strange look, I amended my question. “I mean, I have two sons and you could be a really nice daughter in-law.” She brightened up and said, “why are you… and your family Russian?”   This time it was my turn to be confused. She said, “my family is Russian and they won’t allow me to marry outside of my ethnicity. I can only marry another Russian…. sorry.”

I’ve read stories about Muslim people not allowing any of their kind from having any relationship or marrying outside of their ethnic group. They want to maintain their “ethnic purity.”  I have also heard this same sentiment from Jewish people, East Indian people, Japanese, Chinese, Persian, and now Russian. I have two Muslim neurosurgeons at my hospital who boast about this little fact. When greeting either, they will only offer their left hand in handshake. It is considered unclean to give your right hand to “an infidel.”  These people can discriminate against, and not have a “relation with” anyone outside their group and no one bats an eye.

My parents were children when the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor.   My mom’s side of the family is mostly German. My dad’s side is mostly English. These two groups were once at war with each other. But they still somehow find an ability for forgiveness and love. If one of my sons brought home an Asian, Indian, or even a black girl, I’d be ok… their happiness would be all that mattered. Heck, I wouldn’t be nearly as happy, but they could even bring home another guy. Like I said, their happiness is what really matters…not my petty personal issues. Their spouse, whoever, or whatever would be accepted into our family.

Now I admit I was born and raised in southern Alabama. In my early years, I have known some racist people who have said unsavory comments when seeing a white girl with a black man. I am not one of them. As a nurse, I take care of all sorts of people and I do my very best to give them good care no matter if they are black, white, gay or straight. I figure that’s their own issue, not mine. So, when I see a black man and a white woman together, all I can think, is how amazing and beautiful their children are… yet, for no other reason than because my skin is white, I am called the racist.

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