-scale=1.0,maximum-scale=1.0" : "width=1100"' name='viewport'/> Plum Street Chili: Rabid Racism and the Voting Rights Act

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Rabid Racism and the Voting Rights Act

Eclectablog, the premier Michigan events and politics blog, brings us the story of two Black Nurses suing for racial discrimination in the workplace. 
2nd nurse sues Hurley Hospital for complying with racist’s demands; original lawsuit goes to federal court
A second nurse has joined Tonya Battle in filing a lawsuit against Flint hospital Hurley Medical Center. Carlotta Armstrong claims that ... she was subjected to racial discrimination when administrators complied with a blatantly racist father’s demand that no African American nurses care of his baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
What a fricking mess. In my opinion, this racist man presented a serious security risk for the whole hospital. White supremacist racists cannot be regarded as rational and must be thought of as dangerous given the bomb found at a MLK Day parade

The hospital had a big problem that was really scary. And by law hospitals cannot decline to treat someone for having an unfortunate or frightening political opinion. And the hospital is responsible for safety of everyone in the hospital. 

Unfortunately, the hospital chose a top-down solution. They put up a sign instructing Black nurses not to handle the racist's baby. All the nurses went ballistic. Professional dignity alone would demand nurses object, never mind respect for colleagues whatever their race, religion or politics. 

The smart way to deal with it would have been to call a meeting of the whole nursing and security staff and give them input into the decision making. And honor that input. The whole staff might all very well have decided to humor the scary man. No doubt in my mind that is the best course of action. That group decision would not have been imposed upon black staff. Democracy works. Maybe we should all give it a try. 

The Voting Rights Act of 1964 is up for renewal. I was in High School in the early Sixties. I had a friend who was a great artist. He also happened to be black. Nobody is pinker than me and I had red hair. One day I exuberantly took his hand while we were walking down the street. Traffic stopped. Catcalls began. We were engaged in shocking unacceptable behavior. Just ambling along. 

Two coffee houses, the Trivia and the Capri, were shut down because students from the High School went there to hear Beat poetry and play chess. No alcoholic beverages. Black and white folks together. Unacceptable. It was a "friend" of mine who reported the fraternization to high school authorities. And the Trenton Suits shut that whole thing down. 

Alabama, did you say? It was Trenton New Jersey in 1960. Race relations in this country were bad news for everyone. I do not want to go back to that. Once was enough. We cannot do without the Voting Rights Act. Especially in light of the voter suppression billboards that mysteriously appeared in minority neighborhoods this last election. 


  1. Hi Rose! Put your blog on my places list so I'll be keeping an eye on it!

    What a 'lovely man' to want whites only to care for his baby! Wonder what he'd say about me with my nice medium dark olive skin and my Southern AmerIndian looks! Probably preface his racial epithet with Red. (And me with a mostly German G'Ma!) I guess no one told him that within two hundred years of a population of Aryan peoples introduction to a high level of solar radiation their descendents would be A LOT DARKER than I am!

    Smart, he aren't! ;D


    1. And I want to add that your point is well taken. Race is an illusion.


  2. Evie, I love you. I was on my way to the group blog to chat and you beat me to it. I thought this story was just sad. "I am going to stomp you to protect you," says Hospital Administration. Where have we heard that argument before?

  3. I - as an RN - like your solution. If I had ever encountered a sign like that at any place I worked, I would have gone ballistic. But the danger that people like that present is very real .... and very frightening. The nurses are damned if they do and damned if they don't ..... a situation all too typical for nurses - unfortunately.

    Got Plum St. bookmarked ..... been missing your wry & upfront take on things!


  4. I miss you. God bless Nurses, I know S/he does. I am coming over to the board to chat. I just have been too busy to get there,