I got a scholarship for working with the elderly. It’s funny, because I went into social work because I wanted to work with children and issues of poverty, but I continue to find myself drawn to the aging people.
When I moved to the rural south, I learned how prevalent issues of race and racism still remain in our country. Coming from the west, where people's skin color is relatively non-diverse, and the absence of racial minorities creates a pretense of the an absence of racism, this discovery was rather surprising to me.
I visited a patient the other day, and she spent an hour telling me that she is “not racist, but I just think white people should stay with white people and black people should stay with black people. I’m not racist, but that ‘s just the way it is.” I encounter this type of old fashioned racism a lot among the elderly people I work with in the south. I’m never entirely sure what to do about it. A part of me wants to correct this type of thinking, but a part of me wonders what the point in attempting to do so with a dying person is. What do you think?