VANCOUVER, BC, Nov. 25, 2021 /CNW/ - The Coalition of African, Caribbean and Black Nurses in British Columbia (CACBN) is increasingly concerned with the deeply entrenched and pervasive workplace racism and racial discrimination experienced by nurses of African descent in British Columbia across all health authorities.
This letter calls upon our partners in Anti-Black Racist health care to engage with us about the results of our member survey. This survey was created to collect data on African, Caribbean, and Black nurses within the province as previously none existed, despite formal requests by CACBN for this data to be amassed. It is hard to solve a problem when the scope of a problem is unknown.
(Un)fortunately, the preliminary result of the survey demonstrates that anti-Black racism is a pressing occupational concern for nurses of the African diaspora in British Columbia.
Within a historical context in which Black nurses were not allowed to practice in Canada until the late 1940s for fears of "Black hands on white bodies" (p.98, Karen Flynn: Moving Beyond Borders: A History of Black Canadian and Caribbean Women in the Diaspora), we continue to experience this belief enacted in practice, with contemporary examples of racism described by our members.
"Racist behaviours from colleagues and patients "Othered" our members based on skin colour. For instance, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, individual nurses refused to touch items such as clipboards because our members handled such items. In addition to workplace bullying and harassment, there was a report of physical assault when one of our members informed a colleague that they had taken their chair. Members also described unfriendly workplace environments and the need to be extra-cautious when practising because their individual actions could be easily scapegoated for general unsafe practice conditions."
The letter provides 25 recommendations to meaningfully engage in anti-Black racism practice. We are calling upon nursing organizations to work collaboratively with CACBN to implement them.
For more information about CACBN and to read the open letter, please visit https://www.cacbn.ca/openletter.
SOURCE Coalition of African, Caribbean and Black Nurses in British Columbia
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