Face the challenge

Racism persists in the UK, but there is no need for BME staff to feel limited by it, writes Zeba Arif

Racism persists in the UK, but there is no need for BME staff to feel limited by it, writes Zeba Arif.

Abstract

Almost three decades ago, I was asked by a patient how it felt to be the only brown face among the nursing staff. I was startled, and responded truthfully that I had not actually noticed.

But I was different. My appearance was at variance with those around me at London’s Royal Free Hospital, and I had an accent – both clear evidence of my race.

Even being called a ‘Paki’ by staff and patients did not particularly bother me. After all I had come from a culture that was dynamic and strong, so I was more puzzled than affronted by derogatory comments.

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This article was first published in print in Nursing Standard: volume 29, issue 30.

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