SCHEMES & EVENTS
I feel like we'd struggle to find someone who hasn't! It feels as though in the UK there are far fewer overt cases of racism, but covert cases are very present. I was trying to explain a friends' experience to another friend, and it ended up sounding almost insignificant... but when these situations/events/experiences add up, they're 150% pointing to systemic racism and implicit bias.
Anyway, one of my favourite questions I've been asked on a ward round by a patient is "Do you speak Kenyan?". Sis... I ain't even Kenyan. Not only that, 'Kenyan' as a language doesn't exist! It's Swahili, honey. And she then goes on to tell me she lived there for several years and I should go and I should learn the language etc. The other students and consultant (who were not black) didn't know how to respond, so sort of just shook their heads and looked down and carried on with the ward round. It's tiring.
Sometimes I think we are so conditioned that we underplay situations which really we should be challenging. Gaslighting and lack of awareness is a problem. Identifying these situations retrospectively is only part of the solution. We need to work out how to deal with them at the time.
Sadly I have had experiences too - @Tolu Majekodunmi's experiences resonate with me and I'm sure to a lot of us. And @Elijah Chisala - completely agree! The fear of gaslighting stops a lot of people speaking up. Covert racism is so difficult to point out and correct in the moment compared to overt. It's even more difficult when colleagues do not speak up due to fears of making things "awkward" or "political".
@Felicite Mukeshimana I agree. Some instances of covert racism are also so insidious that you only realise the full extent of it after the fact. Also in the moment, the fear of ’being dramatic’ or doing anything that could potentially disrupt the work flow/environment can prevent you from correcting the ignorance on the spot.
Majority of my experiences I have come from patients in the form of microaggressions such as ‘You’re not from round here? Where are you from...no, where are you REALLY from?‘ ’You speak English very well!’ And I can attest that when this happens, you sometimes worry about the effect on the rapport you‘re building with the patient if you address it.
Furthermore, due to how covert it can be, I worry that if I was to address it and be gaslighted, others (I.e my seniors/HR) would side with the patient and I would just be dismissed as ‘hypersensitive’. It shouldn’t be that way; these incidences are serious and a safe space to address it should be available to all.
Yeahhhhh you really touched on several matters boy. You’re so right, oftentime feels like we're gaslighted and called ‘oversensitive’ or not getting a joke or making a big fuss for nothing. It’s very exhausting
“You speak English so well!” It’s my first language 🙂🙂🙂
Personally, I've not had blatant racist interactions. More so, it's cultural ignorance I've encountered - people wanting to touch my hair, not being able to say my simple 6 letter surname, struggling to say the word "black" and always assuming I'm a nurse (because apparently that's all a black woman can aspire to be, and not be a leader...). But more and more, I'm starting to think that these interactions are not obviously racists because they're microaggressions, and as a mega nice person, I give people the benefit of the doubt. More obvious microaggressions I've experienced are people calling me loud, aggressive, intimidating and labelling my strong voice and disagreements as "fights".