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Nadra Kareem Nittle

Black Nurse Banned From White Child/White Man Hits Black Baby

By February 16, 2013

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Two shocking stories involving racism and babies have landed in the headlines this week. Firstly, a black nurse is suing Hurley Medical Center in Michigan after staff in the neonatal intensive care unit barred African-American healthcare workers from caring for a white infant at the request of the father. A second story making headlines concerns a white adoptive parent of a black baby who says a white passenger on an airplane struck her son and called him the N-word because he started crying due to altitude changes as the plane descended for landing. Many people have responded to the second story with horror, but there's a debate going on about the first story.

Do parents have the right to choose who cares for their children? Not when their decision is based on racism, and the parent in this case not only didn't want black nurses handling his child he also reportedly sported a swastika tattoo.  While it's understandable that a white supremacist wouldn't want a black nurse treating his child, the hospital was wrong for allegedly catering to his preferences. That's because the medical center is bound by the laws of the U.S. government, which prohibit race-based discrimination. As recently as the 20th century, many hospitals in the U.S. were segregated but federal civil rights laws made this practice illegal. That means black doctors and nurses cared for white patients and people of color could not be turned away from "white" hospitals. Since there's no such thing as a "white" hospital anymore, white supremacist parents should seek out the services of white nurse midwives who can come to their homes. It's ridiculous, however, for them to expect medical centers to bend to their racist whims.

Some people have argued that the father's request is the same as a Hispanic patient requesting a Hispanic nurse or a woman requesting a female nurse. Nice try but not quite. If a Hispanic patient speaks primarily Spanish and prefers a healthcare worker who can communicate in that language, it's not discriminatory. If a female patient practices a religion that forbids her to disrobe in front of men, it's not discriminatory for her to request a female healthcare worker.

Moving along, I hope we can all agree that the second news story is despicable if true. Thirty-three-year-old mother Jessica Bennett has accused Joe Rickey Hundley of ordering her to "shut that n---er baby up" when her black adopted son Jonah began crying as their Delta plane made its descent into Atlanta a week ago. After Hundley reportedly hurled a racial slur at the child, he then slapped him in the face, producing a scratch beneath Jonah's right eye, according to Bennett. Hundley faces up to a year in prison if he's convicted of assault. The 60-year-old denies the charges against him, but a witness reports hearing a disturbance in the back of the plane and seeing Hundley hit the child. In addition, Hundley confessed to misdemeanor assault after a fight with his girlfriend in 2007, the Daily Mail reported. While assaulting a woman is awful , striking a strange toddler and insulting him because of his race is unconscionable. I hope if Hundley and Hurley Medical Center are guilty of what they've been accused of, they're punished to the full extent of the law.



February 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm
(1) Robert says:

Both stories are incredable, if true. The hospital should have told the person to find another hospital to look after their baby if their nurses are not good enough for them. If in fact the hospital did tell the black nurses not to touch the baby then I think a big law suit is the order of the day. Make the hospital and the people who gave the unlawful order pay for their crime.
In the case of the little boy struck, same thing haul that man into court and charge him with assult, hate crimes, and disrutpting a flight, name the airline in the suit to enable the airline to put the man on a no fly list and make sure he pays for his abusive ingnorance.

When people dwell in ignornace and stupidity the power of the courts will wake them up if common sense won’t.

As a white person I am totally embarrased at the ignorance of some white people, but I not surprised sad to say.

February 18, 2013 at 5:24 pm
(2) Blake says:

Robert, calm down. You are whining again and your friends, if you have any, surely have told you how unmanly it is. I’ll bet that you are embarrassed about all things relating to being white. Usually when people hate their own kind, it is because they feel they have never been accepted.

February 18, 2013 at 7:58 pm
(3) Ellen says:

Blake. You are really ignorant. It is not “unmanly” to call wrong by its name. I am embarrassed by some of the ignorant things white people do too. I don’t hate “my own kind”, just the ignorance of some of them!

February 19, 2013 at 3:43 am
(4) Reinhold Schlieper says:

No need to classify ignorance; it’s something to be targeted no matter what group sports it. And, yes, the hospital administration caved in to ignorance and should not have done so.

February 19, 2013 at 9:49 am
(5) Joel says:

Sorry. Disagree with you on this one as far as the neonate. I’m a white doctor and my wife and kids are black. It would be wrong to preemptively switch nurses around to ward off evil regarding race, but I do think that a patient has a right to request how, who, when and what takes care of them or their child. The hospital may not respond. They should probably send a patient advocate, hospital administration, hospital attorney to speak with the family and resolve the matter, but a patient has a right to ask for certain care. Doesn’t mean they get it. I have famales in the ER all the time ask for a female doctor. I disagree with your premise. I don’t think that religion or anything else is a good reason. All the religion garbage is just that….garbage. I just tell them that I’m all they have. Usually they either accept the matter or leave the ER and go someone else. I think it is juvenile to sue b/c a hospital bows down to the whims of a racist. I hate racists and I think this guy is a scumbag. But, let’s grow up. You can’t legally force everyone to like you or approve of your race the rest of your life.

February 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm
(6) KANDIBOO72 says:

First and foremost to most of you uninformed comment posters. NO ONE that is using a public insurance plan, Medicaid, Medicare or any grants or funds from any government entity has the RIght TO REFUSE the services that a facility or entity has to offer based on their skin color! If these nurses were not of the credentials or skills to provide needed care to any client on that floor then, this would be the only reason the hospital can honor such a horrific request. The last time i checked, no hospital is operating off of private funds and no one is paying their hospital bill in cash. He should take his child to a private pay facility if he has such stupid requests. Insurance plans are NOT giving their clients their choice of skilled workers based on color!

February 21, 2013 at 1:25 am
(7) James says:

You’re a doctor ?
You seem rather classless and I surely wouldn’t
want someone with your inappropriate attitude addressing my medical issues

February 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm
(8) robert says:

A person has a right to ask for proper care, but not to ask for care based on skin color or some other ethnic bias. I understand the hospital in question just settled with the nurse and made some sort of payment to make it all go away. Only thing remaining is the ignorant staff and the ignorant people that asked for the “no black” treatment.

No Blake I am not whinning , just pointing out a wrong, I don’t hate white’s just ignorant people that make assumptions and dumb remarks.
Thank you Ellen, you have class!

Doctor Joel what hopital do you work in so I can avoid that place, sorry but sometimes you have to say “no”

March 30, 2013 at 4:37 am
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