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Hellooo! I shouldn't have to *tell* you when you're being ignorant!! (Vent)

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Grrrr! Why can't people just wake up and be *conscious* about their own offensive thoughts and words without having to be *reminded* by the people they offend! I feel like I'm seeing this all over the place, and while I'm willing to step up and open my big mouth every single time I hear someone showing their ignorance about another race or gender or sexual orientation or whatever -- today I am just wishing people would enlighten their own selves and not have to be politely asked, "Um, could you please be less offensive when you're in earshot of me?"

I have to vent about what just happened at work... but really also about what underlies this scene (which is why I came to Activism when I had been headed to TAO!).

So I have a pretty dull part time job, doing office work in a little room off of a larger workplace. While I'm working away at my computer, there are often conversations next door. I can always hear them.

Yesterday a woman employee here confronted both the manager and the owner of the business about a sexist comment made earlier, which they both joined in laughing about. She pointed out that might not be a good example for the rest of the staff. (*sigh* to put it mildly). They of course agreed and apologized profusely for having offended her. :

Today I hear the same two men speaking. The one describes a perk of his previous job, making service calls somewhere where the owner's daughter was "so hot & should've been in Playboy." Other guy laughs. Whatever. Juvenile, objectifying.... Then he says:
"Oops, I should be careful what I say. Someone might get offended."

This is when I entered the room. Pointed out I could hear! (Once again, : ) But that more important was that I wished he wouldn't measure his words... or thoughts for that matter... by who was listening.

"I barely have the energy to have to explain this to you," I said, "But really, to consider the only measure of your words & behaviors are tolerable to be whether someone who cares about that P.C. sh*t could hear you is such a low ethical bar! I don't say this for myself," (because he started to apologize for offending me) "but because it is not okay when I don't overhear either! You don't just refrain from sexism when there's a woman in the room, or from racism in front of a black employee. That is sad. Shoudn't it matter that all of these views contribute to the world we are raising our children in? Yes, I am going to say something when I hear a comment about a woman that I would not want made about my daughter. But *why* do you need me to do that?! Would you want men to make Playboy comments about your daughter someday?" [His partner is pregnant]

Ugh. Okay, that's enough about that. I'm calming down now, lol. But can anyone else relate to this frustration that society is still so backwards, that the increase in tolerance seems to be so superficial still - as in, let me watch my mouth when the "wrong person" (lesbian, Hispanic, wheelchair bound, whomever the case may be) might be listening? When my dd is grown can I hope their will be a growing *deep* consciousness about our interconnectedness?

still shaking her head,

~mamabutterfly
post #2 of 29
I totally agree and I applaud your actions!!!

My father constantly makes comments about other cultures... as do a few people I work with (construction).

People just don't think or say things to get reactions out of their buddies instead of using their brains first.

I hope that your two co-workers give what you said some serious thought. I'm sure that if the roles were reversed and something offensive was being thought or said about them or their's they wouldn't feel so great about it and it most certainly wouldn't be funny.

Good job!!!

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Thanks, minicooper.

After some reflection it's also a feeling of frustration because these are men I work with, and have some level of relationship with. Not strangers I'm passing on the street, kwim?

And while I have some level of acceptance that my grandfather has some antiquated ideas or whatever, this manager is maybe a few years older than me. It just makes me feel exhausted to struggle against this stuff all over the place.

I also know that this was what most people would consider a very mild comment -- "boys will be boys" kind of thing. I cringe to think of my dd encountering all this as she grows.

Do others feel discouraged, or see a more positive view of society evolving? Maybe Philly is just backward.

~mamabutterfly
post #4 of 29
I wish I had the courage to say something like that. I would have probably just given them a dirty look and never have opened my mouth.

On your question about whether others feel encouraged or discouaged, it depends on whom I'm around and the day. There are a lot of progressive people out there. I think it's important to interact with them some in order to not be discouraged.
post #5 of 29
In my previous job, we had a candidate come in for an interview. She was very qualified for the position, had all the skills we were looking for, and was the best candidate we'd seen in three months of interviewing. She also happened to be wearing chador.

As soon as she left, the owner of the company began making comments about subservient women (i.e. I just love a woman who can be pushed around) and talking about how we'd need to do extra background checks on her, etc., "...because she might be married to a terrorist."

I flipped out on him, in front of the other five employees. I mean, I completely and totally lost it. I ranted and raved about so-called open-minded people having the largest amount of closed-mind space I'd ever known, that as a company we should be emulating the EOE example, not only in deed, but in thought, and that I was disgusted and dismayed by his attitude.

The next day, I quit.
post #6 of 29
Good for you, mb! Unfortunately, I don't think things are much different in other places. I'd like to think that's the case, but it's not. I had a long conversation with a colleague (university setting) in which he was trying to impress upon me "how far we have come" in this area as a society. While I conceded his points that we now have anti-discrimination laws and policies, we have still not changed people's minds - the comments and tightly-held beliefs have just gone underground (for the most part).

I guess I feel it's my job to bring ds up in an environment where we can talk about all of these issues and be clear about what is appropriate and acceptable and what isn't. Until more parents start doing this, we're stuck in a nasty cycle. The media doesn't help, either - but that's an entirely different soap box, and the reason we disallow TV at home!
post #7 of 29

Great thread.

Kudos to all who have taken a step towards pointing out those regressive mindsets. Don't ever discount the effect of your words on them.
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
"the owner of the company began making comments about subservient women (i.e. I just love a woman who can be pushed around) and talking about how we'd need to do extra background checks on her, etc., "...because she might be married to a terrorist."

Wow. Unbelievable - and yet not.

good thoughts, mamas. thanks! if i could only raise my dd together with all your children!!

hugs, mb
post #9 of 29
Ya know it goes even deeper than the usualy "slurs" how many people cut down and make horrible comments about others based on difference in other areas as well? People who really have lots in common wil bash one another over trivial matters or even not so trivial matters, but still.....

I think that the only time when people will be less "bash oriented" (I lump playboy comments in there too) is once eyes are opened to the fact that the indivual or group there of that they are commenting on is a HUMAN being with feelings, and ideas and a contribution to make to this world. You don'thave to AGREE with how they live, what religion they practice or what they look like, but you should show them respect as a fellow HUMAN. Nobody likes to be stepped all over and neither do they. Rude comments and bad attitudes all form they way others are treated, if not by that person directly, maybe the way someone who heard them will treat someone else.

People do not think, and I'm sorry, but the media does not help at all! If anything it worsens the situation for many types of people!
post #10 of 29
But it's perfectly ok to make such comments if they are supported by your religion : (specifically in reference to sexual identity comments)
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Arduinna
But it's perfectly ok to make such comments if they are supported by your religion : (specifically in reference to sexual identity comments)
You go girl!!!! At the church owned center I just quit, it was common to hear how "stupid" and "disgusting" homosexuals are. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Arduinna
But it's perfectly ok to make such comments if they are supported by your religion : (specifically in reference to sexual identity comments)
That's something else that has always bothered me - so many belief systems seem to be based on the "my way or the highway" attitude. I did have a moment of relief this week, though. My DS goes to church with my parents, and loves it (they're Episcopalian, I'm non-Christian). We received a letter from the rector yesterday indicating that their church would not be pulling out of the Anglican Communion, and that they feel the brou haha is ridiculous.

I'm relieved that their church isn't a hot bed of anti-gay statements (at least from the clergy) and that I won't have to forbid DS to go based on the level of tolerance. He sees enough intolerance in his day-to-day life (some of the things kids SAY! What are their parents teaching them?) and I won't have him seeing it in situations I can control.
post #13 of 29
mamabutterfly, you rock for speaking truth to your boss! I wish more people could speak up (myself included!) when confronted by that kind of trash. unfortunately, the mindset behind it is still too prevalent (sp?)... esp. in the white male catagory... i think if someone doesn't know how it feels to be victimized, or even just talked down to, they can't relate to how their ignorance hurts. i mean if men were objectified like women, i think they might have a better understanding of what that feels like (not that i think objectifying anyone is ok, just that it would enable a more empathic attitude). anyway, i do think that while we still have a long way to go, the fact that there are laws out there to uphold anti-discrimination does help at leaste formalize the concept that it's not ok to be ignorant. for some people it's at leaste a starting point.
post #14 of 29
mamabutterfly, why is it so bad if the man said the bosses daughter was so attractive she shoulve been in playboy? I mean , he was lead to believe it was a private conversation. i don't understand. maybe that is how he felt about her and was sharing it with a co-worker. I've said stuff like that about men at my workplace. like "I'd like to undress him."
post #15 of 29
I think she was being sarcastic NM.
post #16 of 29
Great job, mb! Keep those pigs in line!

To others, please consider the possibility that many people who say offensive things about homosexuals or other groups of people aren't really reflecting what their churches teach, even if they seem to think they are...

Jesus loved (loves) all people when He walked this Earth, especially the outcasts, the prostitutes, etc. Christians (myself included) would do well to remember that in our daily lives.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by steph
i think if someone doesn't know how it feels to be victimized, or even just talked down to, they can't relate to how their ignorance hurts.
I kinda believe the opposite. I think if people have been talked down to or belittled (especially as children often are) they grow up and take it out on those they see as "smaller" or "weaker" than they are. This is so sad....
post #18 of 29
Sorry for the delay in replying.

No I wasn't being sarcastic, although my post wasn't directed at any specific MDC members. I can say that I've heard and read many biggoted statements backed up by religious teachings.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
why is it so bad if the man said the bosses daughter was so attractive she shoulve been in playboy? I mean , he was lead to believe it was a private conversation.
No one should EVER think for a moment that such a thing exists as a private conversation at work.

Not to say I have not had them--but I won't say anything at work that I would not say before the whole group. Period.

We had an HR meeting yesterday--let me just say, I LOVE my boss. LOVE him. He is like the big brother I need form time to time, never crosses lines, and is just a good person. Anyway, the meeting was to go over the new employee handbook. The MAIN emphasis was on the "freedom from harrassment" statement, and every person's rights and responsibilities to ensure that our workplace remains a place where everyone can expect the SAME dignity--explicity regardless of sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, nation of origin, diability, etc. We clearly have a zero tolerance policy for any such behavior, and the HR rep made it clear that anyone engaging in any behavior that falls into that category could be immediately discharged. And that included using company email to even forward something another might find offensive. Period.

There are federal laws about what we can do at work, and nothing should ever be assumed to be private. Privacy is something we have at home (we hope).
post #20 of 29
janna... Okay, you may have said things like that when you were in private (or thought you were, anyway...) but does that mean you think that is an appropriate workplace conversation and would stand up for your right to say it? Or simply that, 'gosh, it's kind of a human sentiment'? If someone overheard and told you they were offended would you defend your statement or say, "Yeah, sorry about that."?
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