Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Be Careful With "Jokes"

We live in a diverse society, so we should all be careful about making offensive jokes in the workplace about other groups of people. Not only is it inappropriate behavior for the workplace, but it could come back to haunt you.

If you are subjected to race-based harassment in the workplace involving offensive jokes and egregious remarks, you don't want a supervisor, etc. to be able to come back and show that you have a history of engaging in that sort of behavior yourself. For instance, it would not be cool to have someone turn your jokes or stereotypical comments about gays, women, Hispanics, Asians or even other Black people against you.

Just stay clear of this. There's no reason to even go there. If people are making jokes that you find objectionable, you have the option of excusing yourself from the conversation and simply walking away. If you don't want to directly say you don't appreciate the comments, just excuse yourself under the pretense of needing to make a business call.

You don't have to stand there being perceived as a willing participant. This too could come back to haunt you. "Oh, he/she wasn't offended when the jokes were about Dominicans! He/she stood around laughing with everyone."

Of course, Dominicans are just an example. I don't know any Dominican jokes!

The point is, people in the workplace have a way of twisting and manipulating things to make you appear to be something and someone you are not. If they can make you appear to be a person who is only PRETENDING to be sensitive to racial issues, they will have succeeded in being able to marginalize your complaint.

Just something to keep in mind!


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