Race Card


A new Intern was assigned to the Psych Ward so there are now two Interns who will be on site on the same days and time. The first Intern wonders how things will work out since whatever activity that takes place in the Psych Ward is initiated and run by him. The staff is supposed to help, but the staff is no help, they don’t want to be bothered with the patients outside of their official functions. You can’t really blame the staff for having this type of attitude after all dealing with mentally ill people is a drain on one’s energy. Plus if the staff member does not have some measure of patience and at times are not prepared to have a physical confrontation with patients then being in the mental health field would not be for them.

So now the new Intern has started, it was interested so see how the patients behave since this Intern is a white male as oppose to the first Intern who is black. The first intern could not establish rapport or some sort of relationship with the majority of white male patients who also do not participate in groups or card games with him. The first Intern has a better success rate among the white female, blacks (male & female), Jewish (male & female) and Muslim patients. It is ironic that there are virtually no Muslim female patients in the psych ward. Now that the second Intern is on site, the white male patients approach him and engage in conversation, counseling and groups.

One of the reasons for this is that the Psych ward is like a prison. The exception is that the Psych ward does not have bars on the windows and the staff is not correction officers. At least 85 % of the Psych Ward patients have spent some time in prison. When they are admitted to the Psych ward they bring the prison mentality with them. When they mingle with their fellow patients they often pick who they associate with by race. If it isn’t by race then it is by religion. For example the whites will befriend whites before they befriend nonwhites; blacks will befriend blacks before that will befriend other fellow patients outside their race. The Jewish patients will befriend another Jewish patient before they befriend a non-Jewish patient; race doesn’t matter in this case. The same goes for Muslims and Christians. For the female patients race is not a factor.

All is not lost because the two Interns have a mutual understanding to work as a team. Now when there is group activity it is a joint effort combining patients in one group session. Those who did not participate before because they did not like the racial makeup of the group are now participating making the group sessions racial make up more diverse.

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