This is a story that was sent to me, it is not about cancer, but it shows racism.
My daughter was taken to hospital from school after a fight at school. I went up to the hospital and found it really difficult to get to my daughter, she is 14 the general attitude was that she was old enough to take care of herself she isn’t she is still a kid and this was the first time she was in a hospital since she was born and she was there all by herself. I was in the waiting room she is in a cubicle alone having to make decisions alone without anyone on her side.
She was asked if she had had sex she said no. She was asked if she had a boyfriend, she was asked again about having sex, they told her it’s alright to admit to it they won’t tell me. She was asked if she could be pregnant and not know it. They kept on and on about this.
The problems in her gut must be from pregnancy or something like that. As a mum I was pissed off that she had been grilled over her virginity or lack of. She went into the hospital after a girl had kicked her in the stomach. Sure ask her if she might be pregnant, because it might cause problems, but leave it at that don’t keep on asking just deal with the problem.
When after 4 hours I finally could see my daughter, I found this out and that she had been tested for alcohol and drugs it made me wonder if everyone on the ward was tested or just my daughter the only black person there. I had to overhear someone say that she wasn’t drunk or stoned to find out she was tested. Who oversees this, why is a child being tested and if she gets tested I hope everyone gets tested.
When a practitioner was available to speak to me, I asked why had my daughter been asked about her sex life so much that it upset her. Why was she tested for alcohol and drugs. I was told that because she was in a fight they check these things it is standard. I asked how my daughter was and how long she would be here, I thought standard questions to ask. I was told to “slow down” there was no rush to leave here.
I was asked to go with a person “just to fill out forms” while I was talking to this person telling how my daughter doesn’t get in fights, she is not a fighter, this is the first fight she has ever been in and this happened because the other girl was angry my daughter took her place on a school sports team. I was talking about the school saying it will never happen again, the other girl has been suspended they have zero tolerance to fights and the school hoped she would be alright. I was answering questions about home and how life is at home, are there any problems is there any bad influences there. I thought this was usual. I was starting to suspect something when I was asked if we (being my husband and me) had extended family in the house often, do we drink do we have party’s or if anyone in the house uses illegal drugs.
I wanted to see my daughter again, I thought something is happening here and I don’t understand. I thought that she had a bad injury and they were keeping it from me. I became a bit loud and upset I demanded to see my daughter, I left where I was and walked back to her. Somebody had the gall to try to stop me from going back to my daughter. My husband phoned me then I said I needed to take the call, he had just shown up at the hospital and wanted to know what was going on. I told him to go to emergency and ask for us.
I went back to my daughter and I asked her if she was alright, she wasn’t she was upset. She had been asked the same questions I had been asked but worse, She was asked if her parents party, if she has ever felt unsafe at home with family, if strangers ever come over to party and stay overnight, If she feels safe in her room. I realised they took me aside so they could talk to her alone. I was now starting to feel that maybe some things weren’t standard and that being Aboriginal was what made it standard.
My husband came to us and without a lie, I could see the change in attitude of the staff, they were suddenly all business, organising to get my daughter an ultrasound and an x-ray, no more mention of drugs, sex or fights. She was looked, appropriately for her age and for the incident, given pain relief, and offered a drink and snack.
I try not to look at situations as racist, I try to look at it as being individuals who are misguided, I try to give the benefit of the doubt. But sometimes there is no other explanation than the system is racist and it is kept up by the racism of the people who work in these places.
P.S. My husband the father of the injured daughter is the local police officer, he is white and he thought our daughter was treated with tinted racist sunglasses.