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Do you have responses for a racist coworker?
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Author:  DarthCupcake [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

Yuck. What a crappy situation. I wish I had good suggestions, but I'm the same boat, as this is my sister's in-laws (and I get to spend my birthday biting my tongue, hooray!). I'm gonna keep an eye on this thread in case something useful comes up, or if I come up with an idea.

My usual response is to go into the kitchen and drink. This becomes dangerous, though, if I leave the kitchen because then I'm no longer in my happy place and I'm loaded and they're asshats. It doesn't usually end well.

Also, that doesn't help in the workplace.

Author:  rabidchild [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

I'm currently stumped by a homophobic supervisor. I mentioned in supervision that Client's friend was at the house, and that I'm pretty sure it's client's gf, and she got all weird, and asked if I was ok with that, and I was like "Uhh yea, why wouldn't i be??" And she made some comment about not knowing the client was a lesbian, and I said I'd known for a long time, and she said she wouldn't be comfortable being alone with a lesbian. I nearly laughed and said I have a lot of lesbian friends, it's not a big deal, and besides, I have a professional relationship with this client, who knows I'm married. I'm not worried.

Author:  Kate [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

littlebear wrote:
Kate wrote:
I am in a similar quandary, but the offending individual is my employer so I just keep my mouth closed.

yes, i once had a boss that said, "why don't those indians (meaning native americans) just get jobs?"

this is from a woman who runs a nonprofit that is supposed to help disadvantaged teens.

Sweet jesus, that is sincerely awful.

Like kfad, there is no HR dept here; there are five total employees. I know he watches a lot of Glenn Beck and Fox News, so the possibly of reasoning with him is looking impossibly low.

Author:  Nummers [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

In addition to shutting it down with a comment like "That's not appropriate," I'd be tempted to label it so the person knows what you find inappropriate. So, something like, "Racism isn't appropriate" in a very calm tone of voice. It's sort of hard to argue with that statement, especially in a work environment, even though racism isn't appropriate in any environment.

Author:  bastah [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

I would ask for evidence to back up what she says. "I don't understand what you mean, can you clarify? I have never observed this." Asking for examples will make her actually have to think about what she is saying. Also if she does explain herself, it gives you a chance to say why it's untrue or point out the problems with what she is saying

Author:  kfad [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

bastah wrote:
I would ask for evidence to back up what she says. "I don't understand what you mean, can you clarify? I have never observed this." Asking for examples will make her actually have to think about what she is saying. Also if she does explain herself, it gives you a chance to say why it's untrue or point out the problems with what she is saying



I like this. I hope I can pull it off in a calm manner.

Author:  Hapax Legomenon [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

My defense is usually "You realize I'm part Mexican, right? What with the Spanish last name and all?"
I'm not even sure how far back in my family you have to go to find someone from Mexico, but it shuts them up after a few minutes of blustering and "Oh, I didn't mean your family..."

Author:  Maggie Muggins [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

bastah wrote:
I would ask for evidence to back up what she says. "I don't understand what you mean, can you clarify? I have never observed this." Asking for examples will make her actually have to think about what she is saying. Also if she does explain herself, it gives you a chance to say why it's untrue or point out the problems with what she is saying


I like this idea, but then you also risk the chance of them going off on some racist rant.

Author:  Badgermog [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 2:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

rabidchild wrote:
I'm currently stumped by a homophobic supervisor. I mentioned in supervision that Client's friend was at the house, and that I'm pretty sure it's client's gf, and she got all weird, and asked if I was ok with that, and I was like "Uhh yea, why wouldn't i be??" And she made some comment about not knowing the client was a lesbian, and I said I'd known for a long time, and she said she wouldn't be comfortable being alone with a lesbian. I nearly laughed and said I have a lot of lesbian friends, it's not a big deal, and besides, I have a professional relationship with this client, who knows I'm married. I'm not worried.



A lot of homophobes say this. As though they're totally irresistable or something and all gay people of the same sexwill instantly jump them.

Author:  choirqueer [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

rabidchild wrote:
I'm currently stumped by a homophobic supervisor. I mentioned in supervision that Client's friend was at the house, and that I'm pretty sure it's client's gf, and she got all weird, and asked if I was ok with that, and I was like "Uhh yea, why wouldn't i be??" And she made some comment about not knowing the client was a lesbian, and I said I'd known for a long time, and she said she wouldn't be comfortable being alone with a lesbian. I nearly laughed and said I have a lot of lesbian friends, it's not a big deal, and besides, I have a professional relationship with this client, who knows I'm married. I'm not worried.


"Well, I'm not comfortable being alone with a homophobe."

Author:  Shy Mox [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

Badgermog wrote:
rabidchild wrote:
I'm currently stumped by a homophobic supervisor. I mentioned in supervision that Client's friend was at the house, and that I'm pretty sure it's client's gf, and she got all weird, and asked if I was ok with that, and I was like "Uhh yea, why wouldn't i be??" And she made some comment about not knowing the client was a lesbian, and I said I'd known for a long time, and she said she wouldn't be comfortable being alone with a lesbian. I nearly laughed and said I have a lot of lesbian friends, it's not a big deal, and besides, I have a professional relationship with this client, who knows I'm married. I'm not worried.



A lot of homophobes say this. As though they're totally irresistable or something and all gay people of the same sexwill instantly jump them.


Yeah, my usual response to that is "What makes you think you're so attractive to men/women?"

Author:  fezza [ Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

"Don't flatter yourself dear" and a sympathetic look usually does it.

Author:  Squeak [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

I'm with Bastah. Brush up on your statistics, studies and sources, and ask the co-worker to cite theirs. I'd also prepare rebuttals to some of the more popular arguments used. Keep calm, logical and rational. Ideally, by taking a methodical, realistic approach to the situation, they will start thinking for themselves, and pursuing their own data. However, if they do launch into a rant, they just look even more ridiculous to others in the vicinity, and ultimately, their conniption is not your problem.

Naturally, this doesn't work if it's your boss.

Author:  blisslikethis [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

I agree with "this is not appropriate." It must be difficult since it's your boss, hope it goes well.

Author:  Veglicious [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

This has become my stock standard reply to people who claim Australia is full and asylum seekers are ILLEGAL ALIENS who will DESTROY our country.
"If you want to save tax-payers money and have fun while doing it, you can volunteer here http://www.refugeetutoring.org/ and help out families who have been referred by such organisations as Treatment Rehabilitation Service for Survivors of. Torture and Trauma (TRUSTT)"

I used to refer them to legal documents and human rights bodies but that never got through to anyone.

Author:  Veglicious [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

choirqueer wrote:

"Well, I'm not comfortable being alone with a homophobe."

+1. Love you choirqueer.

Author:  horselesspaul [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

"I know. They come over here, they take the jobs no one else wants to do, do a better job than if they did actually want to do them and get paid almost nothing for it. Shocking."
Then maybe the face punch option.

Author:  rabidchild [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

choirqueer wrote:
"Well, I'm not comfortable being alone with a homophobe."


That's pretty much what I was feeling at the time. If ANYONE of any sexual preference (clients notwithstanding) hit on me, I'd just be flattered.

Author:  Nummers [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

blisslikethis wrote:
I agree with "this is not appropriate." It must be difficult since it's your boss, hope it goes well.

omg it's your boss?! What a sucky situation. Maybe "I'm uncomfortable with this conversation." would go over better with a boss, but still, what the hell is wrong with the world (sorry, I have election day bitterness.)

Author:  Nummers [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

rabidchild wrote:
choirqueer wrote:
"Well, I'm not comfortable being alone with a homophobe."


That's pretty much what I was feeling at the time. If ANYONE of any sexual preference (clients notwithstanding) hit on me, I'd just be flattered.

I like your avatar rabidchild! <3

Author:  Rach*n [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

Sorry you have to deal with it kfad. I would also shut it down as quickly as possible.

Author:  jewbacca [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

kfad wrote:
Cause I could use some nice, neutral responses to when she starts the comments about how the Mexicans are ruining something, and all those Muslims.



I actually had an employee like this just quit, and I couldn't be happier. One incident she commented on how "brothers don't grow orchids" and I told her that simply wasn't true. She also made a racist comment about Muslims and I told her flat out that I wouldn't tolerate that kind of talk in the office. She said she was "just kidding".

If you really wanted to pack a punch, file a complaint to HR telling them you are offended by her behavior. They have to take action.

Author:  girlgerms [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

kfad wrote:
Kate wrote:
I am in a similar quandary, but the offending individual is my employer so I just keep my mouth closed.


It is sort of like that here. There is no HR dept. I don't really have anyone to go to.


"I don't appreciate your comments, and it makes me hate coming in to work." I tried to be nice and they would always claim everything was a joke.
This was my situation as of three weeks ago... and I left my job because of it. Generally, you don't receive unemployment if you quit but I had several pages of my boss' racist comments written down,complete with dates,times, etc. I had zero issues when I filed for unemployment.

Author:  kfad [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

girlgerms wrote:
kfad wrote:
Kate wrote:
I am in a similar quandary, but the offending individual is my employer so I just keep my mouth closed.


It is sort of like that here. There is no HR dept. I don't really have anyone to go to.


"I don't appreciate your comments, and it makes me hate coming in to work." I tried to be nice and they would always claim everything was a joke.
This was my situation as of three weeks ago... and I left my job because of it. Generally, you don't receive unemployment if you quit but I had several pages of my boss' racist comments written down,complete with dates,times, etc. I had zero issues when I filed for unemployment.


Thank you. I try to document everything. I am also working on an exit strategy.

Author:  Ruby Rose [ Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Do you have responses for a racist coworker?

girlgerms wrote:
kfad wrote:
Kate wrote:
I am in a similar quandary, but the offending individual is my employer so I just keep my mouth closed.


It is sort of like that here. There is no HR dept. I don't really have anyone to go to.


"I don't appreciate your comments, and it makes me hate coming in to work." I tried to be nice and they would always claim everything was a joke.
This was my situation as of three weeks ago... and I left my job because of it. Generally, you don't receive unemployment if you quit but I had several pages of my boss' racist comments written down,complete with dates,times, etc. I had zero issues when I filed for unemployment.


I'm sorry to hear that you ended up having to leave your job, but I really admire your integrity and clarity over this. Good for you, even though it's a terrible shame that you had to experience it.

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