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I'm Asking: Would You Confront a Bigoted Boss?

I'm Asking: Would You Confront a Bigoted Boss?

Most of us have had our fair share of issues with co-workers, ranging from petty annoyances to backstabbing antics. Confronting a colleague may have its own challenges but when it's the boss that needs talking to job security comes into play. A reader wrote to Slate's Dear Prudence asking for advice on whether to confront a boss (who has the charming tendency to "fly off the handle") about her constant anti-Semitic remarks.

Prudie recommends the employee mentions that she doesn't share the same beliefs and would appreciate if the boss didn't discuss them any longer. This is definitely an easier said than done type of response. While I don't think I'd last working under that boss more than the time it took me to find another job, I'd like to think I could muster up the courage to make my feelings known.


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weffie weffie 6 years
You have to confront them eventually, so it's better to do it while you're in control... I waited until I reached a boiling point, screamed at my bosses that they were racist pieces of shit and stormed out. As good as that felt, I'm sure I could have handled the situation with a little more dignity if I hadn't buried my anger for so long.
lauraxtc lauraxtc 8 years
I know I feared being unemployed too. But I got a job a month after that. So it worked out for the best. It sucks working with people like that. I have a good friend who is still dealing with that. = (
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Good for you lauraxtc - I wish I didn't stay as long as I did but I feared being unemployed.
lauraxtc lauraxtc 8 years
I did once! I worked at a recycling center for a family owned company. So I over heard them talking about how stupid I was because I made a mistake. I understood that I made a mistake but I didn't belive that it was so bad for them to call me names especially when I could hear there because they were in the next room. When they came out of the room, I told them "I know I made a mistake but I don't think you should be calling me stupid." The boss told me "I can call you whatever I want because I am the boss and if you don't like it, you can get your things and get the fuck out!!!" I didn't hesitate, so I grabbed my purse and walked out on the job. He said nasty things to me when I was leaving but I didn't care. Then when I got in my car and started driving I started crying. Because I couldn't believe he had the nerve to be that way. I am proud that I stood up for myself though and glad I didn't stick around. = )
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 8 years
I'd go to HR before confronting my boss directly. Luckily I've never had to deal with something like this.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Oh, Bella, that is awful! I agree with you, hearing people make sweeping generalizations about a "group" of people just makes me cringe. I have met so many different people in my life, the one thing I have realized is that you can NEVER generalize!
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
ML--I did go to HR. She was a senior vp and they said they would talk to her. Even after a sit down meeting with her and HR, she would continue to make the statements until I was laid off after 1.8 years. I couldn't just quit, I hate to hear people make sweeping statements about people and don't even know people. People like this have heard statements from others and just adopt and equate it with their life and their hatred.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Gosh, Bella, that sounds awful! How on earth did you endure that?? Why didn't you take it up with HR?? I had a boss who was very religious (Christian) and she would constantly make these horrible, bigoted remarks about Muslims, knowing that my husband is Muslim! It was awful - I felt like I was constantly saying "yes, some Muslims may believe that/practice that way, but my husband doesn't"! Finally, I left a book on her chair about understanding Islam and after that, the comments were much less frequent!
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Yes I have, to make it worse the boss thought I would agree with her (as she was making statements about my race - all I could think of is why would I agree, then she thinks the same of me). She eventually told me I wasn't fitting in with the culture.
zabrow zabrow 8 years
i had a boss that would make remarks like this, but i just ignored him. whenever he'd start a rant, i'd shut down the conversation, turn away from him & start typing or answering calls or whatever. other coworkers tried to argue with him, but it never swayed him at all. he was old & i think a little bit nutty, so even though it bothered me, i didn't say anything.
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