KingMidget's Ramblings

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A Moral Dilemma


I abhor racism, sexism, pretty much every “ism” there ever was.  You know, me, the one who detests stereotypes.  That said, after a long weekend watching one my kids play in an out-of-town soccer tournament and not win a game, I came home and found this story in the local paper and it left me baffled as to what I should believe.  In a nutshell …  baby born, father shows the swastika tattoo he has and leaves a note that no African-American is to touch his newborn baby.  Nurses sue, claiming his demand was “illegal” and the hospital was wrong to bend to his wishes.

I hate this.  The guy is a jerk.  His racism shouldn’t be tolerated.  But.  But.  Don’t we have some right to decide who provides that most basic of care of our children?  No matter how abhorrent it is to common decency.  There’s an example in the article of somebody who is viciously attacked and raped by an individual of a particular race.  Should that person be denied the right to refuse medical treatment provided by somebody else of that race.  We talked about it at the family dinner table tonight.  What of Palestinians and Arabs in the Middle East?  Given the animosity there, wouldn’t it be acceptable for a Palestinian to refuse treatment from a Jew, or vice versa?

I don’t know.  Seems to me the best things the nurses could have done was focus on the other babies in their care.  This isn’t something to sue over.  Rather … and here’s where there’s a little piece of something that slips in totally contrary to other beliefs I have … maybe the nurses should have prayed for that baby.  Whatever settlement they got did nothing for the baby.

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13 responses to “A Moral Dilemma

  1. Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) February 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Your right to throw a punch stops at my nose. Similarly, your right to dictate the race of your medical caretakers stops at the door of the public hospital. This guy knew there were black nurses attending the babies; he should have gone to another hospital or done a home birth.

    Btw, I’m betting that this jerk’s baby was delivered via public assistance.

    Oh–and Israeli hospitals are full of Palestinian patients. Medical care is not a free speech issue.

    • kingmidget February 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm

      I can’t disagree with anything you said. But I’m pretty certain that forcing him into a situation where he has no choice but to accept the care of those he hates will only make him hate more. So, what’s the point?

      • Jane Gassner February 25, 2013 at 7:04 pm

        There are several points. For one, the business of a hospital is not to please patient’s relatives, but to care for the patient. One could assume that the nurses were hired because they were the most capable, no matter the color of their skin. Thus, the point of insisting that the best practitioner care for the baby is to give the baby the best care available. Second point: ignorance is at the root of the father’s prejudice. The only hope of changing his mind is to force him in to a relationship with the hated Other, to teach him that the Other is not so Other.

    • kingmidget February 26, 2013 at 6:44 am

      We all know that the individuals who have the right to direct the care for a minor are the parents, unless they are doing so in a way that is inherently dangerous to the child — for instance, denying a needed blood transfusion. This, however, was not going to result in a dangerous condition for the newborn at the hospital. As for learning the other is not so other … I believe it has to happen organically to have the most success. This guy walked in, showed his swastika, and said no black nurses touch my baby, and left a note saying the same thing. There was nothing he was going to learn in this situation if they hadn’t respected his racist wishes.
      And, I can’t believe I’m arguing on this side of this issue.

  2. rose February 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    bit tricky. In a public hospital here, you wouldn’t have the right to say who looked after your baby. In a private hospital, I guess you would – although if you were that openly racist, I’m not sure anyone would take your buck. When it’s a baby, your care has to be for the baby and not the parents, so it’s not like you can just say ‘up to you mate’ and leave the baby to look after itself. But with an adult, I think that’s just what you might do.

    • kingmidget February 26, 2013 at 6:45 am

      Parents have the right to direct the medical care of their children as long as they aren’t creating a dangerous situation. There were other, non-African-American nurses available to provide the needed care. As I said in another comment … I can’t believe I’m arguing on the side of this that I am. I need a shower to wash off the dirt.

      • Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) February 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

        Now the shrink in me comes out: perhaps you feel so strongly about this because as a parent, your authority has been threatened in some way by the State. Otherwise, I can see no hope for you–other than that shower.

      • kingmidget February 26, 2013 at 10:53 am

        I have a strong belief in parents’ rights with respect to their children. And my bleeding heart nature sometimes ends where empty gestures begin.

      • Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) February 27, 2013 at 9:16 am

        I wasn’t going to respond, but I can’t help myself! I’m not a judge or, even, a lawyer. But I have the feeling that parental rights don’t extend to racial preferences in medical care. This is not a simple case of black and white (sorry!). There are many issues embedded within it (which is probably why it’s so tantalizing to argue). I feel about parental rights the way you do about empty gestures.

  3. ManatheCat February 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I take huge offence with this post maybe because I am a WoC and because your analogies are really invalid. The Israel-Palestine is a huge conflict, are you insinuating that there is a similar war against Black people?
    You mention that somebody should have the right to refuse medical treatment by people if they are of the same ethnicity of their rapist. Isn’t this discrimination? Isn’t this perpetuating stereotypes? Just because someone was raped by a member of a certain race does not mean that all people of that race are at fault for that person’s actions. Why should the nurses have to put up with such racist behaviour? I think it’s very sad that this still occurs in society. It is very degenerative. We have not come far at all.
    I can understand where you are coming from, I really do and I have nothing personal against you but to side with such people (even if it is marginally) is spitting on the people who have had to fight against being stigmatised for decades.
    I think Jane put it very nicely. If he was so horrified by the notion of black hands touching his child then he shouldn’t have gone to that hospital in first place. No one should have to put up with such requests.
    Once again, this is not an attack on you. I am just stating my opinion and I think it’s good to debate such issues and raise awareness.

    • kingmidget February 26, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      Mana … I completely agree with everything you say, including the outrage. I’ll be posting soon about another moral outrage, where I’m one of the outraged and I struggle to understand the people who aren’t … it’s the tweet that referred to a nine-year-old actress with the “c” word. I get the outrage at this incident with this racist. I just don’t know if anything is accomplished by forcing the situation in that hospital. And, telling him he has to go somewhere else then isn’t a solution either. The newborn needs care now, not later. What if they had denied his request and he had turned violent? What if he had taken the baby out of the hospital and the baby had died or suffered irreparable harm as a result? Isn’t providing the necessary care to that baby more important than any other consideration? Including our outrage at the crap the baby has for a father.

  4. ManatheCat February 27, 2013 at 1:05 am

    You are right about the newborn being the first priority and from what I read in the link you provided his demands were met so at least he walked away from this as a happy chappy.

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