So as an ethnic minority myself, I will tell you that the world has truly turned on its axis in my opinion! Back in the day, politically incorrect comments ran rampant, be they sexist, racist, or “whateverist”. So some guidelines were needed. However like with things that start with good intentions, the pendulum has swung too far, and the inmates are running the asylum!
Example, I recall commenting on an administrative assistant [yes, female, for you sexists who were thinking it! :-)], that her new hair style really looked nice on her. The HR manager advised me that my comment could be construed as “sexual harassment“, and I could get in big trouble. I asked if it could just be construed as a “…nice thing to say“?
Then there was the time when I was actually written up for saying that a guy did a great “white boy” dance, at a company event, where the guy actually did the “Carlston”, overbite and all! [Yes he was a White guy, for all you racists, who were thinking it! 🙂 ].
The truth is, “white boy” is what the dance was called, until Carlston did it on “Fresh Prince“! Anyway, I had to attend “sensitivity training“, and write a letter of apology. Can you say, “…that ain’t no reparations!”? I’m still waiting on my 40-acres and mule! 🙂
Personally, I don’t tend to tiptoe around conversations or these so-called sensitive issues. When I tell a story of something that happened to me in India, I tell it…accents and all! I think we should embrace our differences, and learn to understand them. We all know when someone has truly crossed the line, and frankly, I don’t need HR to intervene on my behalf.
When I was a young engineer, I dealt with a racist, who always commented negatively on whatever culture happened to “not” be in the room. I had overheard two or three discussions, when I finally asked him the question, “When is a Black man a nigger?” He didn’t know what to say, and was silent. And as I walked out of the room, I said, “…When he leaves the room that you’re in.” He is likely still pondering what I said to this day, as I find racists ignorant.
All this so-called sensitivity training has merely swept attitudes under the rug. I preferred it when people were more explicit in their attitudes, because at least they were more real. And guess what, most of us didn’t need “big brother” to handle our business for us. We simply made mental notes on who was for us, and who was against us, and acted accordingly. Knowledge was power.
I have received, by email believe it or not, a recording of a guy calling the post office to boycott the Malcolm X stamp. To this day, I find it one of the funniest things I have ever heard. What is funny about it is that it showcases some of the stupidity of racism, in a very humorous way. It was sent to me by a White co-worker!
I have received “Ghetto Resumes”, filled with ebonics, and a host of other things that you wouldn’t put in a real resume, again sent by White co-workers. My point: I could likely own a company or two had I filed discrimination reports on these people.
But I took these emails as fun, and frankly prided myself on the idea that (a) I could laugh at myself, and (b) that my co-workers knew the level of respect that I have for my culture that they felt safe enough to send these very funny things. Yes, I felt powerful, because I am powerful. Most Blacks as a rule have no sense of cultural or historical pride, so everything is offensive.
However, the Japanese for example don’t get up in arms, when we characterize them, mocking them and speaking with thick accents. You know why? Toyota is kicking GM’s butt. “Raff at that!”. So within reason, no vulgarities have fun at our differences. No offense taken.