Race and Racism Discourse in U.S. Nursing: Challenging the Silence

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Racism has historically been entrenched in both nursing and nursing education in the United States, despite deliberate efforts to raise awareness about how racism can cause health disparities in ethnic minority patients. To date, approaches to racism in nursing have followed Leininger’s Theory of Nursing, and have focused on teaching cultural competence skills. This has had the unintended consequence of discouraging discourse about racism in nursing through white silence, and whiteness and colorblindness ideology. This article considers nursing in the United States and aims to deconstruct how language to address racism in nursing has been used historically; explain why using this language has not been successful; and describe innovative approaches to racial discourse to directly address racism in healthcare and nursing education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOnline Journal of Issues in Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Leininger
  • communication barriers
  • education
  • healthcare disparities
  • nursing
  • nursing
  • nursing care
  • nursing education research
  • organization and administration
  • policy
  • professionalism
  • race factors
  • racism
  • socioeconomic factors


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