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Table 5 Racism

From: The journey of aftercare for Australia’s First Nations families whose child had sustained a burn injury: a qualitative study

Assumptions“Well another thing, I mean we were in the room by ourselves and the nurse, … walks in and says, “You’re going to be right, your people’s come into the room.” And I went, “Huh?” “Oh, no you’ll be right, all your people are coming to the room.” It was a family, Indigenous family that got burnt out of their home and all that smoke inhalation. That was the whole family, at the same time that happens to you. Yeah. My people were coming. I didn’t know them from a bar of soap. They’re not our bloody people. Yeah. So ‘cause I’m Indigenous and that’s how people put them all in the one room.”
Judgementalism“If my kids come and did this it would be a totally different outcome and we know it, we know it. We see it every day the difference, our kids are judged to the other kids. They think our kids are wild, they just playing”
Interpersonal racism“One night there was a light switch that wasn’t working, that was broken, and I went to turn that light switch off but I couldn’t because it was zapping green behind the thing so I left it because I didn’t get zapped and then the nurse came in that night and I said to the nurse, “Excuse me but this light is broken you know we’re not going to lay down with the light on all night, I have to get up 6:30 in the morning and get Mattya ready.” And she turned around and she said, “Well love you’ll just have to get a sheet or a towel and just put it over your eyes.” And I said, “Oh yeah, okay then thank you.” Next day this nurse walks in and she was talking real smart to me. She goes, “Oh the light’s working. Yeah you might have brains not to go and touch it, you might have got zapped you know.” They think we are dumb because we are Aboriginal.”
Racism in the form of punishment“Marka didn’t want them doing anything to him because he thought that you know, they might hurt him and he was using it in a like swearing way towards them, and they just kind of thought no, we can’t deal with him. You know they all was like that, “No, we can’t deal with this kid,” you know, and like a couple times he was swearing really loud and they took the TV away from him to try and learn him. Took his food away and put it out on the table outside. Took his lunch, got his lunch took it outside and put it on the table. And took the cable from the TV, took it away. And I said “there was white kids in there doing that.” And they was, really noisy with that. White children was in there and they was doing the same and no, TV didn’t go off nothing, they had lunch, they [nurses] was like yeah, and rolled eyes at me.”
Lack of cultural safety“And it’s when you’re a good mother and you feel like discriminated on that … Seeing people that look like junkies in there, and they get treated worse. Indigenous, because they look like junkies they get treated bad too. Another Indigenous family waiting, they were treating them really bad just because of the kids playing.”
“They just set us the rules for us, oh yeah some are racist, because like some of them, they’re – oh they’re really, just not really nice. It makes you not want to come back.”
Disrespect leading to disempowermentBut they need to better respect the parents you know of the children that’s going through this because we’ve been through enough you know. We were stressed right out from you know, your kid nearly dying to helping your kid through the process of getting better and healing. You know, they just need to start respecting parents and you know, treat them kind. You know, and not being sour to people, smiling at them and asking them are you all right, you know, do you want help with that, you know, or something like that. They make us feel like we are dumb and can’t do nothing to help our child.”
“They wanted to take Jacka to [the city hospital] and I said, “I can’t drive.” So they said, “Well, he really needs to go to [the city hospital] but we’ll organise an ambulance to [our country hospital] for a dressing.” The nurse here said to me, “They don’t worry about the people in the scrub” [and] the person from [the city hospital] rang and said to me, “Well, move to the city and you’ll get treated better.”
Lack of professionalism contributing to ongoing systemic racismWhen we walk in the room you know by the look on the face that they [nurses] think we are all the same, no good “… we try to change but we’re still the same to everyone … even the nurse they can just look at us and they [nurses] think he’s still the same … You can never prove yourself.”
“They just set us the rules for us … some are racist, because like some of them, they’re look at us funny, oh they’re really just not really nice. It makes you not want to come back.”
  1. aNot the child’s real name