This is quite a book. An important read for those of us who are trying to understand issues or racism, especially the advantages our white skin have bestowed upon us (unless, of course, we're not white). The book jumps back and forth. Between the points of view of Ruth Jefferson, a nurse who works in L&D (labor and delivery); Turk Bauer, a white supremacist whose child died shortly after birth; and Kennedy McQuarrie, a young white lawyer who works in the public defender's office, because her eye-surgeon spouse makes enough money for the both of them.
The issue revolves around the birth of one Davis Bauer, Turk's son. Turk insisted that no black nurse should be allowed to touch his new-born son. But, there's a medical emergency c-section, and the nurse attending Davis, was called away and left Ruth to watch over Davis. Davis begins having medical problems. Ruth tries to resuscitate him, but stops when she hears her supervisor walking down the hall, the supervisor who wrote the orders that Ruth was not to touch the baby.
So, seeing a medical emergency, all hands are on deck, so to speak, and Ruth is given the job of chest compression, to keep the heart pumping while they try to restore the baby's breathing. The baby dies and Turk, who came into the room blames the black nurse for being too vigorous. He swears out a complaint against Ruth, and the hospital throws her under the bus, so to speak.
So, we have findings, the trial, and so forth. Ruth gets a nice middle-class, white public defender, who really doesn't understand racism. Basically, Ruth schools Kennedy. So, along with the trial, we learn quite a bit about the problems of white racism, our ignorance of the basic issues. We understand the overt racism, but not how our institutions have been designed to disadvantage people not born in a white skin.
It's all quite fascinating. I have been slowly learning about this stuff for a number of years now, but it's good to get different perspectives and looks. Then too, it's particularly important that we learn about these things given that we have recently installed a racist in the White House (not to mention a racist as Attorney General). Shame on us all.
Interesting, just a week after I finished this book, the guy who first tried to school me on the issues of white racism, Horace Seldon, passed away. Horace will be greatly missed, he was a true gem of a person.