To report colleague for racism?

(194 Posts)

I just think she is incredibly thick but am finding it harder and harder to deal with her little gems lately.

Yesterday TB and whooping cough are apparently at epidemic proportions because of foreigners coming into this country.

And

She quite happily says, although lowers her voice a little (WTF) that her husband refuses to eat garlic as he couldn't stand the thought of smelling like a Paki!!!

I am in an office with her and one other woman who occasionally has a rant about foreigners taking jobs but am just about at the end of my rope with it. Ate these people just thick or I don't know, how can they think this is right?

I nearly said I felt sorry for her being married to a racist wanker but in all other respects she is actually a nice lady.

I can't ignore this can I?

MyBaby1day Thu 23-May-13 03:57:36

Yes report this person. I am half Pakistani and would find her comments incredibly offensive. Maybe tell her first that's it's not acceptable and then if she hasn't changed her ways report it. It's completely wrong.

raisah Thu 23-May-13 04:15:53

Tell her that you eat garlic so does that you smell like one too? Silly thick cow.

BonaDea Thu 23-May-13 05:15:13

I'd report her. Letting this stuff slide is what enables these people to continue. Whether this is deliberate or just ignorance it is racism. She needs some training at the very least!

My step father is exactly the same (standard of teaching dropping in their home city due to influx of foreigners sending their kids, gay people are 'sexual deviants') and it infuriates me that my mother and his own kids for example never pull him up on it. I have and am always painted as the unreasonable and rude lefty. Fine, better that than tolerating bigotry which IMHO would make me as bad!!

We have an equality and diversity monitor, think maybe will have a chat with him.

I always think that if you can't say it loudly infront of a room full of different races religions and sexualities you shouldn't day it out loud at all.

Doubt she would have uttered the word paki infront of the 3 doctors who have the office next to ours, one is Egyptian, one Malay and one of Indian origin. Maybe I'll point that out to her.

claig Thu 23-May-13 06:30:06

I think it is cowardly to report people behind their backs for saying stupid or offensive things. If you feel strongly about what your colleague says then you should have the courage to confront her directly rather than snitching on her.

I believe in karma, and if you try to get her into trouble, then I think it will create bad karma for you.

The comment about TB and immigration is not so different from many newspaper reports in national papers e.g. here is a report from the Scottish Express

www.express.co.uk/news/uk/281402/Immigrants-blamed-for-tuberculosis-increase

claig Thu 23-May-13 06:44:37

I believe in the type of karma that the Bible teaches

"Don't judge others, lest you be judged yourself"

What are you going to do next? Report her husband to his employer for his stupid comment too?

Dawndonna Thu 23-May-13 06:49:16

I'm Spanish. I eat loads of garlic. Tell the silly cow she smells like me!
Oh, and yes, report her. Racism is racism, it's usually thick people, doesn't make it any better.

KatyTheCleaningLady Thu 23-May-13 06:51:38

I think the use of Paki is unacceptable. It would be preferable to confront her directly, but it would be ok to complain to your employer.

The tb and whooping cough comment I would let slide.

gobbin Thu 23-May-13 06:53:16

I've had a couple of times in my life where I've had to say to someone I know well "You can't say that!" in a wide-eyed omg did you really just say that but friendly kind of way. It worked both times, in that neither of them have come out with anything overtly racist (in my presence anyway!)

notfluffy Thu 23-May-13 07:00:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Thu 23-May-13 07:04:17

but gobbin that implies you're on their side to some extent. "You can't say that" to me implies "we'd like to but not allowed". Obviously I know that's not how you intend it.

StuntGirl Thu 23-May-13 07:10:34

Well claig just because you believe in some hippy claptrap doesn't mean everyone does.

I recently reported someone at work for doing something...I didn't confont them first, I just took it to my line manager who dealt with it. The problem has been resolved to everyone's satisfaction, I don't think any mystical forces will come back to bite me.

claig Thu 23-May-13 07:14:44

I hope they won't.

Altinkum Thu 23-May-13 07:18:11

She has a point on the whopping cough and TB, it is on the increase, with foreign nationals. However as a whole its has decreased.

As for the rest if her racist rants, complain, complain complain!!!

She won't change her veiw, but at least she will shut up about them openly.

StuntGirl Thu 23-May-13 07:20:35

They won't smile

Altinkum Thu 23-May-13 07:20:58

If karma came back and bite me on the ass for not tolerating fascism in my work place, I'd say bring it on.

An adult should know better than to sprout racist derogatoriness !

iloveweetos Thu 23-May-13 07:21:26

Just complain. You don't need to confront her at all.

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 07:25:33

claig - from experience I know that confronting racists at work does cause at least as much trouble - if not more - as reporting them, so they can be spoken to formally and warned to keep their racist shite to themselves or be sent for diversity training.

If you confront them yourself instead of letting a superior/HR deal with it, it will be likely more disruptive and not stop them anyway.

I don't want to confront her as I think will create difficult atmosphere in our office. I don't want to get her into trouble I just want her to understand she can't say things like that and she is wrong to think that and make her understand that it is actually racist. I actually thing it is ignorance rather than malice when she says things like this.

Good idea about the training. I work in the nhs so there are training courses for everything!

LemonPeculiarJones Thu 23-May-13 07:28:12

claig if karma existed, which - honestly - it doesn't, I think it would be far more likely to 'punish' racist fools, don't you?

Flisspaps Thu 23-May-13 07:30:39

Employers have procedures and staff in place to enable you to report things like this, so you don't confront them directly as Claig suggests. It isn't about trying to get her into trouble, or "karma" - it's about using the official channels at work to ensure that things are properly recorded and sorted out.

I think it is far more cowardly to make these sorts of comments in the first place, or to say nothing, than it is to report.

claig Thu 23-May-13 07:31:02

She did not say anything offensive in front of the three doctors who have an office next door and nor would she.

She probably picked up her view on TB from the headlines in some of our national newspapers, so it would be better to blame those newspapers rather than her.

The stupid comment about garlic is a ridiculous statement, but she is reporting what her husband says and does, rather than what she believes.

claig Thu 23-May-13 07:33:54

'claig if karma existed, which - honestly - it doesn't, I think it would be far more likely to 'punish' racist fools, don't you?'

No. because she is a fool as you say, and in karma terms it is worse to try to get a fool into trouble for something that a fool does. It is all about intent. Folly and intent are different.

The full quote from Luke is as follows, and I believe it has some wisdom in it

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

claig Thu 23-May-13 07:37:41

"I don't want to get her into trouble I just want her to understand she can't say things like that and she is wrong to think that and make her understand that it is actually racist."

I think gobbin dealt with a similar situation in a good way.

I would do the following - tell her in a friendly but serious way
"Don't say theings like that, they are not nice"

She will then get the message and realise it for herself, but you will not have got her into trouble and you will have effectively made her realise that she was wrong to say it.

enormouse Thu 23-May-13 07:38:36

That's beside the point really, claig. I'd report her to whoever's in charge of equal opportunities.
I find what she said highly offensive regardless of whether someone of ethnic descent was within earshot.

Pollydon Thu 23-May-13 07:38:42

Report her !! My extended family is mixed race & I had to be physically removed from my office by a manager after a colleague started spouting racist crap. Same colleague was genuinely horrified that I was so close to lamping her upset, she assumed everyone thought the same.
She was sent on an equality & diversity course hmm

MissAnnersley Thu 23-May-13 07:39:40

Karma and Christianity? Interesting.

The quote from Luke does indeed have wisdom in it.

You should report this if it is concerning you. I agree a confrontation could be unpleasant however a simple 'I couldn't disagree with you more.' would also be helpful.

I would have to say something but this is about what you feel comfortable doing.

getyourheadout Thu 23-May-13 07:40:08

report her for what ? just have the balls to tell her yourself if you dont like what she says , you sound like a child in the playground.

Abra1d Thu 23-May-13 07:45:24

Nasty thing to say about the garlic, but the point about TB, certainly, is what I was told by a nurse working in a hospital in Oxford--TB was on the rise ten years ago and they had linked it to the start of the big immigration rise. TB was very low in Britain before owing to the vaccination programme we had.

ButchCassidy Thu 23-May-13 07:48:12

I would report her.
I find the P word offensive, racist and unacceptable.
If she is stupid then she needs educating.
If she is a racist she needs educating.

claig Thu 23-May-13 07:49:56

"I actually thing it is ignorance rather than malice when she says things like this."

Exactly. And that is why you should yourself say something to her in a friendly way, rather than reporting her.

Pollydon Thu 23-May-13 07:52:55

getupurheadout Really ?
Not go through the proper channels and report ?

herethereandeverywhere Thu 23-May-13 08:03:51

Totally unprofessional to try to deal with this behaviour yourself. Reporting it is the appropriate thing to do (and you may even find some kind of obligation for you to do so in your employee handbook).

The idea that having a quick word like a grown-up will resolve the situation is wildly optimistic. It's far more likely to create difficulties for you in your working environment.

Go through the official channels, it's not your responsibility to try to deal with this.

StuntGirl Thu 23-May-13 08:08:46

It isn't about 'trying to get someone in trouble'. What I did actually stopped someone getting in trouble. It's about creating a positive working environment.

I would call someone on it depending on what they were doing. A colleague who was making repeated rape jokes was taken aside and quietly told to shut the fuck up. I knew him extremely well, I could speak frankly. Our colleague who was a victim of rape? Not so confident to call him out on it.

Sometimes that's appropriate, sometimes taking it to someone above you is appropriate I reserve judgement to do whichever works best in a given situation.

DumSpiroSpero Thu 23-May-13 08:10:01

Given that her comments so far seem totally ignorant rather than outrageously BNP level offensive (i.e. she's not saying we should 'round up the foreigners and shoot them'), maybe you could try answering back a bit before making an official complaint.

Perhaps next time the garlic comment comes up "But I bet your DH wouldn't refuse treatment from the doctors in the next office if his life was hanging in the balance?"

or

"Have you been to an Italian restaurant lately? Asian cuisine isn't the only one to feature garlic..."

Delivered calmly in a loud enough voice you might just embarrass her enough to pack it in without having to go down the official route.

If not, or she retaliates then of course report her as she obviously is more malicious than ignorant.

Purple2012 Thu 23-May-13 08:10:37

I've had to work with a colleague like that and I did confront her. We did have a bit of a row about it. She didn't change her views but at least she knew how strongly I felt and stopped saying things in front of me.

You won't change how people think and you don't have to have a row. If I were you I would just say tl her that you find comments like that offensive and you don't want to hear them. If she carries onddoing it then report. I doubt diversity training would make any difference to her views.

5Foot5 Thu 23-May-13 08:20:13

Do you never confront her about her outrageous statements? If you let them go unchallenged then she probably thinks you agree with her.

Personally I think it would be more effective if she had her views opposed by someone she knows and probably likes (you!) than by officialdom. If she is sent on a course or censured by management she might continue to think she is right but is the victim of "PC gone mad", whereas if someone closer to her disagrees with her she might take more notice.

claig Thu 23-May-13 08:21:47

'If she is sent on a course or censured by management she might continue to think she is right but is the victim of "PC gone mad", whereas if someone closer to her disagrees with her she might take more notice.'

Very good point. Diversity training is likely to be more counterproductive than a friendly word showing her the error of her ways.

Trifle Thu 23-May-13 08:23:51

Tell her yourself !

If she offends you then why do you want a third party to intervene in a conversation they have not heard.

LessMissAbs Thu 23-May-13 08:27:55

I would try and suggest to her first that her comments were offensive.

Offensive though her comments are, I just find "reporting people" a bit East-Germany-Under-The-Stasi like and also disparagable from a personal morality viewpoint.

The posting on mumsnet for support and almost gleeful self-congratulation, allied to the fact you haven't called the woman up on it yourself, make me think that too.

Why on earth wouldn't you speak to her first about it, since the remarks are addressed directly to you??

claig Thu 23-May-13 08:29:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

claig Thu 23-May-13 08:31:16

Sorry, posted on wrong thread. This was meant for the GMO thread.

Lesmisabs I'm not looking for any congratulations just advice. How pleasant to be do cynical!

I think after reading posts I will ask to speak in confidence off the record to our equality and diversity guy, he is also a lawyer and family therapist so is really good at giving advice about most things.

I am sure he will understand that it is more ignorance than malice and advise me to the best recourse to make her understand that it is not acceptable to say such things and whether he thinks further action is necessary.

Thanks for all of your advice.

MrsMook Thu 23-May-13 08:42:45

challenging her directly is the better approach. I'd save reporting for something personal or aggressive in tone rather than general and vague small mindedness.

How old is she? Is she of a generation where she doesn't realise how offensive certain words have become? I was shocked a few years ago when starting a new job in a pit town that the phrase Paki Shop was still normal vocabulary amongst teenagers. They had no idea that it was offensive or why. (And any mention of the German football team -world cup year- immediately brought up a load of drivvel about the war sigh)

XBenedict Thu 23-May-13 08:44:17

I think I would speak to her first rather than get the company involved just yet. You don't have to be confrontational and create a bad atmosphere between you but you can reply to the comments she makes.

LessMissAbs Thu 23-May-13 08:50:18

You shouldn't need advice not to tolerate racist or offensive comments. A quid pro quo you have so far tolerated them by not objecting - why on earth not? What is your reaction ie what do you do whilst listening to these comments?

Depending on her reaction to you objecting to the comments, then you might have grounds for "reporting" her.

BAUagent Thu 23-May-13 08:58:21

She may be a fool and speaking out of ignorance, but she's not stupid enough to say it in front of a manager is she? Therefore she must already know what she is saying is not right in some way, but is saying it to someone she thinks she can get away with it in front of. I would do both actually - when she says something like this again, say "you know that's racist don't you?" \If she blusters I would then say, "Well it offends me actually". She will soon get the message you are not complicit in her racist ways. Also have a word with your equality and diversity manager. This way it's flagged so you know you can escalate if she says something else in the future.
I understand that she may be regurgitating others opinions but she is presenting them as her own, and this is a way in which racism and bigotry is perpetuated, through ignorant people who don't think beyond what others tell them.

burberryqueen Thu 23-May-13 08:59:24

Just tell her yourself!
say something like 'I find your comments offensive and...so would many others (hint hint)
you cannot really 'report' someone for being a wanker but the word 'paki' is not acceptable in a work context.

Casmama Thu 23-May-13 09:03:57

The reason you are now in this position is because you have not challenged the comments in the past. You have been complicit in the racism and would be spineless to report her to anyone without making the slightest attempt to challenge her views first.

vintagecakeisstillnice Thu 23-May-13 09:15:14

Whatever you decide to do, please do something.

Every time a comment like that goes unchallenged the person making it assumes that everyone listening agrees. (As an aside this is why rape jokes should always be challenged too)

Re: TB increase when I was on the wards it was believed by most of the consultants that the rise was due to stopping of the routine immunisation of TB and the increase of travel among older teens young adults, with the lack of understanding of how infectious it can actually be. A friend’s son went on a ‘gap’ year trip with about 7 others from his social group he was the only one to have the BCG and that was at his Mums insistence.
At one point we ‘re calling it clubbers disease as all the patients we were seeing had been to a certain island well known for its night clubs

mercibucket Thu 23-May-13 09:22:45

tb comment - sounds uncontroversial to me, why do you think it is not linked to migration?

paki comment, use of the actual word, is completely beyond the pale and needs challenging at the time and in person by you or whoever else hears it, as well as reporting imo

mercibucket Thu 23-May-13 09:34:07

actually, i take that back, about the tb link to immigration, as i can well imagine how it was said, so was meant to be provocative. i cant believe you didnt challenge the racist use of the p word tho

HoHoHoNoYouDont Thu 23-May-13 09:39:58

I'm with those who suggest you challenge her comments directly. I have done this many times myself and find it is the best way to deal with it. It's always stopped them in their tracks and they have never made similar comments again in my presence.

quoteunquote Thu 23-May-13 09:52:16

The next time she opens her mouth and vile bigoted thoughts come out, just say loudly, " You real need to go on a race awareness course, do you want me to help you?"

Then calmly explain to her why, you think she does,

I expect in the structure of your employment you would be better getting someone senior to suggest it,

this is why I will never be able to work for organisations such as the one you do, as I do not have the ability to keep my mouth shut when anyone steps out of line,

I use to take on board other people options about my conduct in such situations and made various attempts over the years, to fit in with some conceived order of conduct , but to no avail, it doesn't work for me.

If someone is stupid enough to spout a vile ill thought out opinion, any where near me, I will re educate them, until either they completely demonstrate they have had a change of heart, or they decide to do one and never come into the same space as me,

I have zero tolerance for hateful people, I will not tolerate it anywhere near me, so I don't have the problem.

I run building sites, when we have other crews working along side, they get warned by my crew, and if anyone is silly enough to open their mouths with stupid remarks (sexist, racist , anything hateful) I will change their attitude or they go.

I am told that I am good to work for and my sites are fun and happy, if I hadn't decided many years ago, to not tolerate any shit, I would have had to wear a snorkel as I would be swimming in slurry.

If you don't want hateful bigoted comments, wallpapering your life, stop it dead, say, "NO" the next time she starts, and every time afterwards, followed by,

" You real need to go on a race awareness course, do you want me to help you?"

You wouldn't jump in a swimming pool for your daily swim with great big jobbies floating around, so why spend your day with shite thoughts floating around, this woman is not just polluting your mind and day, she is polluting our world, and raising hatred with ideas, she needs filtering until she has had all the crap washed out.

kiwigirl42 Thu 23-May-13 09:55:30

just tell her to keep her racist comments to herself. its unacceptable in this day and age. I'd also tell your manager that you've had this issue.
I've had an ongoing email 'argument' with my FIL about just this sort of thing, about TB/ Gypsies/ forriners and all that.

You MUST challenge racism at every turn - you might not change her way of thinking but at least you may stop her spouting it.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Thu 23-May-13 09:56:04

You wouldn't jump in a swimming pool for your daily swim with great big jobbies floating around, so why spend your day with shite thoughts floating around, this woman is not just polluting your mind and day, she is polluting our world, and raising hatred with ideas, she needs filtering until she has had all the crap washed out.

I just love that!

ok, i'm a Pagan, and i follow the laws of Three and Karma.

It would be BAD KARMA to sit by and let a racist continue their abhorrent behaviour.

Reporting is the right thing to do, its the correct way to do it, and if she gets into trouble, well then she is reaping the threefold rewards of karma for being a racist.

Lazyjaney Thu 23-May-13 10:10:29

The TB episode is largely true, the garlic one is her reporting what someone else said so you need much better examples or she will just counter that you are a nasty shit stirrer (and yes, she will know who it was).

I've never seen a behind-the-back reporting go well for the reporter so I wouldn't do it, I'd challenge directly.

claig Thu 23-May-13 10:10:56

What is the law of three?
And does paganism not distinguish between a fool and a non-fool and does it not have a concept similar to the Christian one of "forgive them for they know not what they do" when a person is a fool as opposed to someone with knowing malicious intent?

claig Thu 23-May-13 10:12:09

Exactly right, Lazyjaney. She is reporting what her husband feels and says, nit what she says. So to try and get her in trouble over that is wrong.

claig Thu 23-May-13 10:13:14

And is it not malicious to report a fool for talking about what her husband said?

lydiajones Thu 23-May-13 10:19:36

Next time she says something racist be ready with a comment like, 'please can you not say things like that as it offends me'. Then just change the subject.

giantpenguinmonster Thu 23-May-13 10:32:27

OP- I think it's really hard to challenge these things as they usually happen very quickly and it's easy to think about what you should have said/done after the fact.

But nice people don't say that kind of thing and she MUST know it's not acceptable really. I think you need to do something and it is a hard call what.

Good luck though. I'm from a mixed family and this kind of thing annoys and upsets me. Fight the good fight!

nellieellie Thu 23-May-13 10:32:29

I think that when someone makes a racist comment in front of white people, they assume they can get away with it because you are white, which is really insulting. I think it is really incumbent of everyone to challenge racism at the time so that the person is aware of how offensive it is. You don't have to be aggressive or nasty, just say something like "I find that really offensive, please don't make remarks like that". If it persists, then complain to a line manager. As she keeps making these remarks, of course you could just complain, but I think it is important for individuals to stand up to this behaviour too.

If my husband says something distasteful that i don't agree with, and i happen to be talking to someone about it, i'm not in the habit of repeating what he said.

To say "my husband won't eat garlic because he doesn't want to smell like a paki" is racist, i'm sorry, but it is.

In her shoes, i would say "I can't believe my DH said he doesn't want to eat garlic incase he smells like someone from pakistan, i mean, really.. is he trying to sound like a racist? I told him off for it, you can't go around saying things like that!" (because if my DH said anything like that i can tell you i wouldn't just smile, i'd tell him off!)

claig, rule of three is this "ever mind the rule of three, lest what ye give out come back to thee" its basically the principle that whatever you do, good or bad, you will be rewarded or punished 'threefold' for it.

Imho, while i would personally tell my colleague i dont appreciate that kind of language, i would also report it if it was continual/pattern behaviour.

claig Thu 23-May-13 10:54:44

"ever mind the rule of three, lest what ye give out come back to thee"

yes, I agree with that, which is why I would not report people behind their back for saying stupid things.

You reap what you sow, and there is a danger that we end up in a society similar to a socialist Stasi one where schoolchildren of 6 tell the teacher that their dad said such and such at home, only to receive a visit from the Stasi with the offer a retraining program.

That is what happens in the short term, but due to the "law of three" or karma, that may eventually be replaced by something much worse.

claig Thu 23-May-13 11:12:03

Out of interest, where does the "three" come into this rule. Is it only to rhyme with "thee"?

It is a good rule and similar to the Christian one of "do unto others what you would have done unto thee"

slug Thu 23-May-13 11:30:11

You could always adapt the Mumsnet line:

"Did you mean to sound so racist?"

Pigsmummy Thu 23-May-13 11:44:57

The comments about TB are actually not racist (as confirmed by the WHO and GP) but the garlic comment is offensive. I would initially say something to her rather than report this. If this continues and you report this what are you expecting your company to do?

PearlyWhites Thu 23-May-13 12:11:39

Garlic comment is very wrong but she may well be right about the tb

lottieandmia Thu 23-May-13 12:14:27

I would report her. I wouldn't want her offensive behaviour forced on me while I was trying to work.

claig, Its written so thee rhymes with three, but the Threefold law is essentially the same as Karma, only it operates slightly different... Hindu and Buddhism don't have such definitive ideas of 'good' and 'evil' as the Wiccan "Rule of Three" or "Threefold Law"

Basically, like a lot of religions, the number 3 is considered a sacred number.

The Christian Trinity, Hindu Trimerti, three jewels of buddhism, 3 aspects of the goddess (maid, mother, crone)

A lot of pagan spells involve doing things 3 times to set them properly, walking the circle, repeating lines of the spell, banging the ground thrice to release energy after a working...etc

To add to what has been said, the TB comment isn't racist, it is a statement, backed up by some professionals/reaserch etc. I was told this by one of my consultants when i had TB, that this is the cause of some types/strains of diseases that is being seen again.

Unless she says that a certain group is inferior or should receive inferior services, then the statement isn't racist.

The use of the word "paki" is offensive and has no place in the workplace and the specific statement of "not wanting to smell like one" is hate speech, so breaks the diversity/equality rules of all workplaces.

claig Thu 23-May-13 12:39:53

Thanks, Kansas, that is interesting, I didn't know that

FesterAddams Thu 23-May-13 13:48:59

I think after reading posts I will ask to speak in confidence off the record to our equality and diversity guy

If you speak to this guy (or anyone else in HR or management) then please be aware that they can't offer you confidentiality. Their duty is to your employer, /IG BH,ymiu -mmuu

FesterAddams Thu 23-May-13 13:52:33

bloody phone.

If you speak to this guy (or anyone else in HR or management) then please be aware that they can't offer you confidentiality. Their duty is to your employer, not to you, so if you make them aware of a situation - such as harrasment or racism - that could expose the employer to legal liability then they pretty much have to act.

cory Thu 23-May-13 16:17:26

The "my husband says" excuse is pretty thin. If she doesn't agree with him, why doesn't she say so? And what exactly is the motive in her repeating her husband's dicta?

It's about as convincing as the attempts of some posters on the Islamophobia thread trying to hide behind "oh well, lots of people think".

Just to clarify:

My husband says this and he's a total wanker- not racist.

My husband says this and I am divorcing him next week- not racist.

I think this- racist.

<smug smile> Well, my husband thinks- cowardly racist.

claig Thu 23-May-13 16:26:54

'If she doesn't agree with him, why doesn't she say so?'

She didn't say she agrees with him, did she?

StealthOfficialCrispTester Thu 23-May-13 16:28:03

No but if my DH shared racist views with me I'd be ashamed, not sharing them in the office gossip

claig Thu 23-May-13 16:28:15

We have posters on here telling us what their BIL or stepfather says etc
Just because they say it, doesn't mean the poster reporting it agrees with it.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Thu 23-May-13 16:29:32

It's normally entitled "AIBU to think my BIL is a wanker?" though

claig Thu 23-May-13 16:29:44

"No but if my DH shared racist views with me I'd be ashamed, not sharing them in the office gossip"

So would I. But everyone is different.
Maybe she is in fact divorcing him next week. We don't know from what we have been told.

KRITIQ Thu 23-May-13 16:49:21

Vintage Cake is right. If someone makes a bigoted comment and is met with silence, they generally take this as a sign of approval. Doing nothing is actually very much doing something in cases like this.

Not all employees feel safe or comfortable confronting colleagues when they violate company policies. This applies whether it's a health and safety violation, breaching confidentiality or data protection policies or acting against the Equality and Diversity policy. Policies are there to ensure legal compliance and protect people from harm, so failing to uphold them is a serious matter.

The the person confronted can become defensive or difficult and can resort to bullying. All staff will be aware of the policies as well as the sanction for violating them. So, if you don't feel comfortable speaking directly to this person, definitely talk to your manager, someone in HR or similar.

Often folks will hide behind other people when they actually believe something, but don't have the cajones to say so. It will be, "this woman in the hairdressers said such and such," or "that guy of the telly said so and so." If they genuinely don't agree with things like this, they can either not repeat them parrot fashion or tell the story and state that they disagree. I don't accept this, "My husband is like this," baloney here. Even if her husband is a bigot, she isn't entitled to contribute to a climate of bigotry and exclusion in her workplace by telling everyone about it.

themaltesecat Thu 23-May-13 16:54:39

Claig is right.

This sneaky, reporting-behind-people's-backs culture will not end well.

jammiedonut Thu 23-May-13 17:12:16

Irregardless of karma and the like at the end of the day this individual is making this type of comment in her workplace, a professional environment. I have zero tolerance for any employee who makes derogatory comments about race, religion, gender, sexual preference etc because allowing it to go unchallenged could result in problems for my company when these idiots slip up and make comments in front of my clients. People are entitled to their opinions, however bigoted, but they should not feel able to express such views in a professional environment, and if found to be doing so, should be reported to their superiors.

I find it incredibly hard to believe that your colleague has never been challenged about her comments, and, guided by my own unfortunate experience don't believe that a 'quiet word' will change her views more than a formal reprimand. She may be less reluctant to share them with you, but no doubt she will soon find someone else.
Also, her comments may seem tame now, but until she is challenged she will continue to push boundaries and I'm sure you'll find, as a result that her comments will become much worse as she has no one to reign her in.

If this was a male making derogatory comments about females no one would be suggesting you tackle this yourself. My advice would be to consult hr and ask for their assistance in dealing with the situation

claig Thu 23-May-13 17:57:10

I think FesterAdams made a very good post, and this is why I would not report it. I think the consequences for her might be grave and that could affect her whole family. I couldn't live with that on my conscience for a stupid thing that she said in an off the cuff remark.

"If you speak to this guy (or anyone else in HR or management) then please be aware that they can't offer you confidentiality. Their duty is to your employer, not to you, so if you make them aware of a situation - such as harrasment or racism - that could expose the employer to legal liability then they pretty much have to act."

Much better to let her know you are not happy with those types of remarks in a friendly but firm non-confrontational manner. Give her a chance before you snitch on her.

KRITIQ Thu 23-May-13 18:28:21

But claig, could you live with your conscience if this person felt emboldened by the tolerance of her bigoted remarks, continued to express these, contributing to a workplace climate where say minority ethnic or non Christian staff felt unwelcome, unvalued, undermined or threatened? What if as a result they felt stressed, unable to perform, felt they had to leave or lost their jobs due to under performance or ill-health? Does the impact of this person's words and behaviour on others in the team not matter?

If let's say she's in a controlling relationship and feels pressed to endorse her husband's bigoted remarks. If the matter is taken to management, she would have the opportunity to explain this and gain support perhaps to leave that relationship.

Using words like "snitch" and "grass" sounds more like children in a playground rather than an adult working environment, where individuals have a responsibility to carry out their jobs within the organisation's policies and procedures.

I manage staff and I would be extremely disappointed if I found out that something like this was going on, but other staff felt it was better to either ignore or handle it softly themselves rather than work within company policy for fear of getting labelled a "snitch." Geez.

claig Thu 23-May-13 18:39:47

"continued to express these, contributing to a workplace climate where say minority ethnic or non Christian staff felt unwelcome, unvalued, undermined or threatened?"

I doubt that she would do that, but if she did, then she should be disciplined for it.

"Using words like "snitch" and "grass" sounds more like children in a playground rather than an adult working environment"

I am sorry but I think that things said in confidence to you, even if stupid or offensive, should not be held against a person. I remember at primary school, we had a song "tale tale tit ...." and I have never forgotten it. I wouldn't tell on someone over something said off the cuff.

"I manage staff and I would be extremely disappointed if I found out that something like this was going on, but other staff felt it was better to either ignore or handle it softly themselves rather than work within company policy for fear of getting labelled a "snitch." Geez."

Well that is where we are different. I don't like dropping people in it over things said in confidence however stupid or offensive. I understand that people say and do stupid things and I am prepared to give them a chance.

Not doing so will backfire very badly one day. If you frighten people and persecute them for making mistakes then one day by the law of karma, things may turn around 180 degrees.

One reason for the rise of UKIP is that many people feel that they are not free to express their opinions and may lose their jobs even over silly things they may say. I listened to the MPs debate the other day and an MP said that his constituents told him that he was able to say things that they were afraid to say. The problem with that is that it builds up a silent resentment and has the danger of one day reversing totally by the law of karma, in my opinion.

I don't believe in draconian consequences, draconian dsicipline or people being sacked over silly things they may say. I believe in giving people a chance, by telling them that they should not say those things and letting them change.

claig Thu 23-May-13 18:52:34

In fact there are some managers who do not like people who tell on other members of staff either. The reason is that if they are prepared to do that, what else are they prepared to do and about whom else will they tell. Some managers would feel that these people could not be trusted with other confidences too.

I believe in the old maxim "if you can't say something good about someone, then say nothing". "Don't speak ill of other people", because I do believe that karma exists and you should only "do unto others what you would have done unto you".

KittensoftPuppydog Thu 23-May-13 18:53:25

Sounds like she's just a bit thick. Don't report her. Some people don't know how offensive they are being and you might have a better chance of opening her mind if you talk to her. People's opinions often become intrenched if they are given a dressing down.
Took me a long time to learn that.

claig Thu 23-May-13 18:55:00

Exactly right, Kittens, and the end result for the people who tell can end up being worse.

FionaJT Thu 23-May-13 19:09:34

I can't keep my mouth shut when people do this, and there are a few in my office. Often they are just mindlessly parroting views they've heard/read thinking that everyone will agree, and do get embarrassed and shut up if confronted. I don't agree with worrying about the office atmosphere, that has already been poisoned by the person making the comment, and if it's ok for them to express an opinion it's ok for someone else to challenge it, and that might lead them to think twice about what they are saying.

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 20:04:47

claig - just out of interest - do you advocate confronting only people on the same level or below, or would you also confront a line manager rather than reporting them, so you don't have to confront them and fear repercussions?

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 23-May-13 20:06:43

Well actually she isn't entirely incorrect re immigration and TB because many people are coming to Britain from countries without anything like the innoculation programmes we have here.

But by the sounds it's more by luck than design that she's right about it. Because she does sound like an unpleasant racist. I'd be inclined to speak to her first and then if she contues,report her.

LessMissAbs Thu 23-May-13 20:26:18

Honestly OP, I know you don't like what I'm saying, and you think I'm cynical, but I don't think you come too well out of this either. You have listened to these racist viewpoints without saying anything about it. Your colleague might well mistakenly think you condone her views or she has gained your confidence and her natural barriers of formality need not be adhered to.

Then, having listened to these remarks without objection, you want to "report her" (even the wording sounds like you want to get her into trouble because you could have described it as having a word about her with someone).

This despite you working in an office of only 3 - you, her, and another woman who makes equally innane gossipy comments about immigration. And you sat through all of this without objection - not one single word from you to indicate you were uncomfortable with it?

LessMissAbs Thu 23-May-13 20:28:49

I want to add, I would complain about her on the basis of your objection to her comments, if necessary.

Theres just something a little abhorrent about sneaking off to complain about someone you have given the impression of listening to quite happily. It doesn't sound like this is such an intimidating set up that you would reasonably feel repressed from speaking out.

And of course, if you do complain, they'll know its you, if theres only the 3 of them. Which is another reason to have a word with her first.

claig Thu 23-May-13 21:18:34

"claig - just out of interest - do you advocate confronting only people on the same level or below, or would you also confront a line manager rather than reporting them, so you don't have to confront them and fear repercussions?"

WidowWadman, I don't believe in reporting anyone. I work with colleagues as a team, and I take people as they are - warts and all. I think it is management's job to know what type of people they are employing etc

It is not just white people who say nasty racist things about non-white people. Gossip and insults can also be made by non-white people about white people or by Eastern Europeans about English people or Welsh people about English people or African people about South Anerican people etc

I wouldn't report any of those people because people say stupid and offensive things and as long as they don't say them to the people that they are talking about, I don't think they should be reported.

As for confronting bosses. Yes I would not be afraid to confront a boss or fear recriminations because I would not confront them in a hostile or aggressive manner. I would simply say something like

"You shouldn't say that, it's not nice" in a friendly manner so that they would get the message without being offended which avoids getting their back up and reacting in a hostile manner.

Catmint Thu 23-May-13 21:27:00

Report. Yes absolutely.

If you feel that you can challenge directly, in a way that is likely to make a difference, then this is a good way to handle it. But it isn't easy to do, and you may benefit from some support in doing it.

So, report, get the support you need. You should not have to tolerate racist language or racially motivated discussions in your working environment.

Good luck.

Fakebook Thu 23-May-13 21:31:54

I'd confront her. You don't have to be rude about it, but just let her know that she's in the wrong. You could even respond to her racist comments with a "hmm" accompanied by a disgusted face. That wouldn't cause an atmosphere. I hate it when people don't confront
racists and sit back and let them talk shit. What's there to be afraid of?

So your work colleague comes out with what she regards as a bit of harmless stirring, but you think it's unacceptable to talk this way, but instead of replying you go and report her to HR? Really?

1) She'll hate you/never speak to you again, and 2) she'll think you're telling tales & won't understand why you didn't speak to her about it instead of to HR.

I would think of some responses and have them ready for when she comes out with this stuff again. I've had to do it with my mother - "I know you're used to saying that word, but these days it's not on, it's not acceptable to call people that" kind of thing. Re the garlic - "I love garlic."

So my advice is to 'be prepared'!

I had a work colleague once who complained about me to the boss. I was flabbergasted as I'd had no idea there was a problem (it was about me not doing stuff that she thought was part of my job). I was very hurt that she had gone to him instead of mentioning it to me.

digerd Thu 23-May-13 22:06:42

I remember reading and hearing about the increase of TB in this country during the increase of immigrants. But it wasn't mentioned which countries/ nationalities TB prevailed in.

I do know in UK it was practically unheard of after the testing and innoculations in the 40s - 60s.
I was immune at 6 years old and 14. Then somebody told me that I was not necessarily immune for life, as I never had the injection and they were hmm.

People have the right to think what they like, but not to speak out loud and insult anybody for whatever reason. In other words, keep their nasty thoughts to themselves.

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 22:09:14

claig -the thing with people who say stupid xenophobic things, either because they mean them or because they're thoughtless, is that they often end up saying them to the very people they're talking about, either because they mean to, or because they forget that the person they're talking to is an immigrant.

I once had a "jokey" email forwarded to me (and the whole team) by a senior team member, with a picture of the Cliffs of Dover with a sign saying "Fuck off we're full". Another senior team member laughed openly in agreement at this mail, which already had been forwarded multiple times internally. They had forgotten me and another colleague were immigrants. I had quiet word with the MD's PA (no HR in that place), as that attitude really made me and my other immigrant colleagues really uncomfortable.

I had an anonymous box of chocolate by way of apology on my desk a few days later, but never an official statement that the company would not condone such behaviour.

FWIW, making a note of this and bringing it up when I was put at risk of redundancy a few months later helped me retaining my job long enough until I found something at a company with better anti-discrimination policies.

At another job I was driving with my then line manager to a meeting when she told me that she thought that the BNP were right about immigration, and there's to many incomers and yada yada yada. She already had been sent to diversity training and wore that as a badge of pride. I was sorely tempted to report her, but was a bit disillusioned by my previous experience, and worried about endangering my career. But actually I regret not reporting her, as people with line management responsibility should know better than knowingly make their staff uncomfortable.

Southeastdweller Thu 23-May-13 22:12:36

Of course you should report this ignorant cow. No need at all to confront her.

By the way, why wouldn't you want to get her in trouble?

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 22:13:19

Another thing claig: your're saying

"As for confronting bosses. Yes I would not be afraid to confront a boss or fear recriminations because I would not confront them in a hostile or aggressive manner. I would simply say something like

"You shouldn't say that, it's not nice" in a friendly manner so that they would get the message without being offended which avoids getting their back up and reacting in a hostile manner."

This tells me that you probably have never confronted anyone about something racist or xenophobe. You're naive if you believe that people would not react offended or hostile to being confronted.

bankofmum Thu 23-May-13 22:23:57

How is it racist to believe we need to control immigration?

claig Thu 23-May-13 22:25:12

WidowWadman, you are right that the email is totally out of order because that was broadcast to lots of people by someone in management on a company computer, so I am surprised that the company didn't do more on that.

Your boss was stupid too, but I would have said something like "but I'm an immigrant" and would have let it go as it was a first occurrence. Obviously if she kept saying things like that to you (who are an immigrant) then I would have reported her. I think that your boss was anti-immigration but that doesn't mean that she is a racist. However, she should not have aired her views in front of you because you are an immigrant.

claig Thu 23-May-13 22:33:29

"This tells me that you probably have never confronted anyone about something racist or xenophobe. You're naive if you believe that people would not react offended or hostile to being confronted."

I don't make a habit of confronting people about what they say to me. I keep it in mind and try to avoid nasty people because I think it is bad karma to hang about with nasty people.

But I have worked with people who have said all sorts of things that are nasty and not politically correct, because that is how people are.

People make all kinds of sick jokes about things and if I feel that a joke is really out of order I say something like "no that's not funny". That is enough to express disapproval and people get the message that there are limits.

It is the same if I express disapproval about anything else they say. But on the whole I accept people as they are and do not pull them up on what they are saying to me, and I don't report them.

TheSmallClanger Thu 23-May-13 22:38:56

Round of applause for claig for being so laid-back and cool with everything.

Seriously, the racist bigot person is going to get annoyed at being challenged whether it comes from the OP or their manager. I would go with the option that has the least action needed from me. Also, managers are paid to deal with team interpersonal stuff.

claig Thu 23-May-13 22:45:42

"Seriously, the racist bigot person is going to get annoyed at being challenged whether it comes from the OP or their manager."

No they won't. If you are a colleague and friend and work with them day in day out then they know you and will listen to you and not get the hump when you say something to them. But if you are a total stranger then of course they will get the hump if you confront them about what they say.

SanityClause Thu 23-May-13 22:47:13

A colleague in our very small office sometimes makes racist comments.

I always give her short shrift, although it does help that I am senior to her, in the office.

It's quite weird, as neither of us is originally British.

claig Thu 23-May-13 22:50:18

If you want to stop someone slagging immigrants off then all you have to do is say

"my sister's boyfriend is an immigrant"
even if he isn't

that will stop them in their tracks, it won't get their back up and they will apologise.

People are generally decent and will realise that they have said something offensive. You can let them know without pissing them off and reporting them, which will only backfire and create a hidden resentment.

TheSmallClanger Thu 23-May-13 22:51:49

Racists and other assorted bigots are not normally decent. That's the problem.

Southeastdweller Thu 23-May-13 22:55:45

Brilliant post, jammiedonut. You've said everything I'm too tired to. This remark was especially enlightening:

If this was a male making derogatory comments about females no one would be suggesting you tackle this yourself

Too bloody right. Report her.

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 22:56:20

"If you want to stop someone slagging immigrants off then all you have to do is say

"my sister's boyfriend is an immigrant"
even if he isn't

that will stop them in their tracks, it won't get their back up and they will apologise.

People are generally decent and will realise that they have said something offensive. You can let them know without pissing them off and reporting them, which will only backfire and create a hidden resentment."

You have no idea what you're talking about, claig. Standard response to "I am an immigrant" or "such and such is an immigrant" is "Oh, but I don't mean you/them" thinking that that makes it ok.

You're totally talking out of your arse, and in a way you're siding with the fuckwits and the thoughtless ones. Which is in my book not far off in level of offensiveness.

Why on earth do you want to avoid annoying someone when they said something utterly offensive and hurtful? Why do you advocate pussyfooting around people with indefensible views?

claig Thu 23-May-13 22:58:53

TheSmallClanger, Gordon Brown thought that Mrs Duffy was a bigot for talking about immigration. Of course, Mrs Duffy is a decent person, and so are the majority of people even if they occasionally say bigoted things.

Lots of people say things that are not politically correct or that are not nice in pubs all over the country.

As SanityClause said

"A colleague in our very small office sometimes makes racist comments.
It's quite weird, as neither of us is originally British."

It doesn't mean she is not a decent person most of the time.

claig Thu 23-May-13 23:01:55

"You have no idea what you're talking about, claig. Standard response to "I am an immigrant" or "such and such is an immigrant" is "Oh, but I don't mean you/them" thinking that that makes it ok."

I'm sorry but I think I do. Of course they say, "I didn't mean you" and that does make ity OK because the result is that they stop saying it to you now that you have pointed it out to them. For me that is teh point, to stop them saying it, not to punish them.

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 23:02:32

FWIW, my being against slagging off immigrants has nothing to do with me being an immigrant myself. I was very much against xenophobia long before I emigrated.
The argument that "you shouldn't say something because I know someone who is an immigrant" is utterly utterly shite. Either you oppose xenophobia or you don't. Whether you know any immigrants personally doesn't make a difference (and having an immigrant/black/muslim/whatever friend is often used by xenophobic/racist/islamophobic/etc wankers as an excuse so they can say that "I'm not xenophobic/racist/islamophobic/etc, and I can prove it because xyz is my friend", followed by something incredibly xenophobic/racist/islamophobic/etc/

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 23:08:13

claig - if you think the point about challenging them is just to make them stop saying it to you/in your presence you've utterly missed the point.

"But I didn't mean you" does make nothing ok. It's just fucking offensive.

claig Thu 23-May-13 23:08:37

"You're totally talking out of your arse, and in a way you're siding with the fuckwits and the thoughtless ones. Which is in my book not far off in level of offensiveness.

Why on earth do you want to avoid annoying someone when they said something utterly offensive and hurtful? Why do you advocate pussyfooting around people with indefensible views?"

I'm not talking "out of my arse" and you are starting to be very aggressive and rude. Are you like this with your work colleagues when they disagree with you, do you tell them they "are talking out of your arse"?

I don't treat people as fuckwits, because I have met all types of people and know what people are like. If you think that I am "offensive" because I don't treat them as fuckwits and tell them "you are talking out of your arse" then I think you have a problem.

"Why on earth do you want to avoid annoying someone when they said something utterly offensive and hurtful?"

I don't go around telling people they "are talking out of their arse2 or picking fights with people because they say things I disagree with. i disagree with you but I don't tell you "you are talking out of your arse".
If they have not insulted me directly and have not insulted anyone else present, then I don't start an argument with them.

claig Thu 23-May-13 23:11:23

"claig - if you think the point about challenging them is just to make them stop saying it to you/in your presence you've utterly missed the point."

But that is the point for me. I only want them to stop saying it and hence learn that it was not the thing to say. I am not judge and jury to punish them.

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 23:14:16

claig - maybe I'm getting a bit aggressive, granted. But I don't have the luxury of not being affected directly, so I just can't be as unbothered about it as you are.

claig Thu 23-May-13 23:15:13

"Either you oppose xenophobia or you don't."

It's not about opposing it. I am not going to get into a fight about it. i don't like it, but I won't start a confrontation if some is xenophobic. i don't like New Labour, but I won't start a confrontation with someone who supports New Labour either.

If someone is xenophobic that is their problem not mine. I'm not going to start an argument to stop them.

WidowWadman Thu 23-May-13 23:20:22

"If someone is xenophobic that is their problem not mine. I'm not going to start an argument to stop them."

It's not only their problem, but the problem of everyone who is negatively affected by xenophobia. If you don't challenge them, either directly, or by reporting it to someone who can deal with it in a professional manner you stand by the xenophobes, and you are taking part in creating an atmosphere which makes those on the receiving end uncomfortable. If you don't challenge or report, you're complicit.

claig Thu 23-May-13 23:29:19

"If you don't challenge or report, you're complicit."

Rubbish. That sounds like something out of the Stasi handbook. I am not complicit at all.I am not the thought police, I am not here to censor people's thoughts or speech. They are free agents. It is up to them what they choose to think or say. Their thoughts and words do not make me complicit.

claig Thu 23-May-13 23:33:37

'and you are taking part in creating an atmosphere which makes those on the receiving end uncomfortable'

You said I am talking out of my arse, does that mean that everyone who saw that and didn't intervene is complicit and guilty of "taking part in creating an atmosphere which made me feel uncomfortable?

You are responsible for your words, no one else.

claig Thu 23-May-13 23:59:04

'I was very much against xenophobia long before I emigrated.'

If you want to end xenophobia, then you need to get smart instead of insulting.

You need to change people's minds and opinions, and you won't be able to do that by calling them "fuckwits" and insulting them, because that will only get their backs up and they will become even more xenophobic.

You need to adopt a subtle approach like telling them that your sister's boyfriend is an immigrant. Then they will stop automatically and begin to change their minds out of consideration for you.

You have to get people onside not alienate them by calling them racist, xenophobic fuckwits.

chickieno1 Fri 24-May-13 04:31:49

A lot of you are missing the point. Op works in the NHS there is absolutely no place for racism and the comments should be reported! Anyone who needs treatment or nhs services regardless of ethnicity should be treated with dignity and respect.

Report her!

burberryqueen Fri 24-May-13 04:36:57

You need to adopt a subtle approach like telling them that your sister's boyfriend is an immigrant
hehe I used to do that, tell people my dad was Pakistani or Jewish when they came out with racist stuff, it freaked them right out, (blonde hair and blue eyes here)

WidowWadman Fri 24-May-13 06:51:31

claig "You need to adopt a subtle approach like telling them that your sister's boyfriend is an immigrant. Then they will stop automatically and begin to change their minds out of consideration for you.£

Believe me, your subtle approach doesn't work. It doesn't change minds, at all. They don't stop and they don't change their minds.

For what it's worth, when encountering a racist or xenophobe at work I don't call them fuckwit (but report).

nkf Fri 24-May-13 06:55:27

Isn't the point of reporting is that it takes it out of your hands and into the hands of people whose job it is to monitor and advise. If you make it into, "I don't like it," it becomes personal. But the real problem is that it is not how people should be talking at work. If she learns that and stops, she would benefit.

WidowWadman Fri 24-May-13 06:59:53

claig

"You said I am talking out of my arse, does that mean that everyone who saw that and didn't intervene is complicit and guilty of "taking part in creating an atmosphere which made me feel uncomfortable?

You are responsible for your words, no one else."

Oh does it make you uncomfortable being called out?

Firstly - this is not a work place, but AIBU.
In a work place I usually use less robust language than here, but all I said is that I doubt that your theory of "but my sister's boyfriend is an immigrant" making xenophobes change their hearts and minds is based on experience.

claig Fri 24-May-13 06:59:58

"For what it's worth, when encountering a racist or xenophobe at work I don't call them fuckwit (but report)."

This is what you said earlier

"She already had been sent to diversity training and wore that as a badge of pride. I was sorely tempted to report her, but was a bit disillusioned by my previous experience, and worried about endangering my career. But actually I regret not reporting her, as people with line management responsibility should know better than knowingly make their staff uncomfortable."

Good luck to you if you think reporting will be successful. I prefer a subtle approach where you can change people's minds, attitude and behaviour without escalating things and reporting people behind their backs.

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:04:18

'Oh does it make you uncomfortable being called out?'

I have nothing to be called out about, but it seems that you have an overactive imagination. I don't appreciate being told that "I am talking out of my arse" when havingh a polite discussion, but that seems to be your way of escalating confrontation.

"In a work place I usually use less robust language than here"
I hope so because otherwise you are unlucky to have a very successful career. Working with people means dealing with people and you can't do that by insulting them or putting their backs up, much better to try and win friends and influence people.

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:05:48

unlikely not unlucky

WidowWadman Fri 24-May-13 07:05:57

claig - that person would not change her mind if you used your "subtle ways" either. She wouldn't even begin to keep her views to herself.

Lazyjaney Fri 24-May-13 07:09:10

A lotbof people here seem to assume that you make an accusation and the nasty person gets their knuckles rapped and that's it. It isn't.

Managers groan when this sort of thing happens as it becomes a he said/she said issue, unless the evidence and witnesses are very clear. That means they have to start talking to people, and it gets around.

The accused then always demands to know who the accuser is, and always counter accuses them of being a shit stirrer with a grudge, someone who doesn't pull their weight etc etc. If they suspect who made the accusation they may well pull in witnesses of their own to shaft you.

The manager then has to investigate the counter accusations, and on it goes. So OP, if you do this make sure you are squeaky clean, and be prepared to get counter accusations.

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:11:00

'that person would not change her mind if you used your "subtle ways" either.'

Why don't you try it before writing her off as a lost cause.

"I was sorely tempted to report her, but was a bit disillusioned by my previous experience, and worried about endangering my career. But actually I regret not reporting her"

Instead of champing at the bit and reporting people, why don't you just use a subtle approach so that she realises that what she has said was wrong and can change her behaviour. She is not an ogre, she is just a person and she will change her attitude if you use a subtle approach to show her that she was wrong.

Try it, don't have regrets about not reporting, do something effective to show her the right way.

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:13:27

"and always counter accuses them of being a shit stirrer with a grudge, someone who doesn't pull their weight etc etc. If they suspect who made the accusation they may well pull in witnesses of their own to shaft you."

Excellent point. If someone reports people at the drop of a hat, they will soon get a reputation for it, and the people reported may accuse them of doing it unnecessarily and of having it in for them.

WidowWadman Fri 24-May-13 07:17:39

claig - she knew I was an immigrant. She talked about other colleagues who are immigrants, and was quite proud of having been sent to diversity training with no effect.

Since you don't know her, and didn't have to work with her, how do you know that she's not the utterly unpleasant person, I remember her as?

In the end I left to go to work elsewhere where I wasn't confronted with that shit.

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:25:34

"claig - she knew I was an immigrant."

yes, and that is why I said earlier on that you should have confronted her directly by saying "but i am an immigrant" in order to see what her reaction would be. My guess is that she would have said "but I don't mean you" and she would soon have stopped going on about it in front of you if that is how you dealt with it every time she opened her mouth about it.

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:27:26

By saying it iopenly rather than leaving it as understood not not said, it would have brought it in to the open and she would have had no recourse but to stop. By not confronting her and by just taking it, she just carried on doing it.

WidowWadman Fri 24-May-13 07:29:04

claig -so I should have said "but I'm an immigrant" to see what her reaction would be after she said "I know you're an immigrant, but think the BNP is right about immigration"? Reaheally? What do you think that would have achieved?

WidowWadman Fri 24-May-13 07:30:28

Also, you seem to be under the misapprehension that "not being meant" makes it better. It doesn't.

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:31:32

Then teh next stage is that you should have said that this conversation is making you feel uncomfortable because you are an immigrant yourself. I think she would have stopped then.

WidowWadman Fri 24-May-13 07:33:04

biscuit

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:34:35

"Also, you seem to be under the misapprehension that "not being meant" makes it better. It doesn't."

A person is allowed to hold anti-immigration views. GordonBrown apologised to Mrs Duffy for calling her a bigoted woman simply because she thought there was too much immigration.

But a person should not make you feel uncomfortable at work and if you point out that you are uncomfortable about her views then she should stop.

Dawndonna Fri 24-May-13 07:40:46

I've been watching this.
Claig I honestly think that you live in a complete fantasy world. I am of Spanish descent. I have black hair and olive skin, not particularly dark now, we tend to get lighter as we get older. My dd is similar. We have been called the 'p' word so many times. I have been beaten up by the National Front and spat at by the BNP. My dd is constantly teased at school about being Asian, even by a teacher! Admittedly she goes to school in a small rural village where multiculturalism arrived 30 years later than anywhere else, but saying my friend/partner whatever is an immigrant is not going to wash. Being nice isn't going to work. Prejudice is wrong and should be tackled and as it's a not too subtle thing, generally a subtle approach doesn't work.

claig Fri 24-May-13 07:45:26

"We have been called the 'p' word so many times. I have been beaten up by the National Front and spat at by the BNP. My dd is constantly teased at school about being Asian, even by a teacher!"

DawnDonna, this is completely different. If someone is abusing you directly and personally then they need to be punished immediately and reported and disciplined and sacked etc. There is no argument about that.

What we are talking about here, is someone saying something racist or offensive in front of somebody who is not being abused or attacked. And the issue is shoud that person then report it.

Dawndonna Fri 24-May-13 08:59:08

Yes they should, of course they should and there shouldn't be a discussion about it. That's my point. The woman's dh is probably the moron who has called me a garlic loving foreigner (insert p word) or told me to play the 'white man' if I accidently step into the wrong part of the queue. Interestingly, my fair skinned, freckly, blue eyed sister (takes after my father's side) has never had a comment. hmm

claig Fri 24-May-13 09:06:09

"The woman's dh is probably the moron who has called me a garlic loving foreigner (insert p word) or told me to play the 'white man' if I accidently step into the wrong part of the queue."

I very much doubt it was him and I don't think it is right to accuse people without evidence. I don't really understand what you mean by "play the white man".

xylem8 Fri 24-May-13 09:06:33

The 'P**i comment was unforgiveable
but the other 2 points are more factual .TB point is actually made on the NHS website ie unimmunised people coming from overseas are facilitating the spread of TB, and 'the taking our jobs' thing I wouldn't really class as racist.
BUT for your own good I would, preferably with a few colleagues confront her with the first thing.I wouldn't go to management in the first instance.A good manager will of course want to sort it out, a less good ( and particyularly if they are busy) e will find having to follow it up a ball ache and might mark your card as being 'hard work' and a 'trouble maker'

Dawndonna Fri 24-May-13 09:09:14

I didn't mean literally, I mean it is people like him who think that it is acceptable to make comments like this, in public. "Play the white man" is an old insult, still used in rural areas. It means that you are apparently, not playing fairly.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 09:46:55

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

nightowlmostly Fri 24-May-13 17:29:59

I agree that it's not dependent on being directly spoken about or to, whether you'll be offended. I'm not gay but homophobic language offends me.

It's difficult at work, I've ended up arguing with people before about their casual use of offensive terms, and have earned myself a bit of a reputation as "someone who likes a bit of a rant" hmm. But I think it may have worked in so far as people know that they can't talk like that in front of me. It doesn't change their thought processes I don't think, it just makes them think I'm too PC and they're in the right.

I think the use of the 'p' term here is unacceptable, but it might be best to say so directly to her at least once just for the sake of a quiet life, if you work closely together. If she doesn't stop then report her, I wouldn't hesitate.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 22:18:28

Ok I shall reword my comment.

claig I disagree strongly with your stance on racism.

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:01:20

That's democracy.
I am against racism.
But if someone said something racist, I would not report them. You would.

I have worked with people whom I liked a lot, who have said to me
"I can't stand .... people"
where the ... refers to a country in Europe very near to us. Now I happen to love that country and have even lived there in the past. But I did not report that person, because I think that they are entitled to think what they want, even though I disagree with them.

That is the reality, in real life people think all sorts of things that we may not like, and I think they are often influenced by comedians on our state funded TV who make jokes about other countries and other people such as that European country and other European and non-European countries.

I am against racism, I am against irresponsible media and irresponsible state TV companies who push this crap, but I am not the thought police and I accept people for what they are - warts and all.

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:06:39

And unfortunately the view of that country is not uncommon among many of the people in this country - particularly the more uneducated ones who swallow what they hear on the media, and what they hear on the media is often the educated Oxbridge comedians who perpetuate this crap.

I think it is very sad and it is about a lack of education of many people, but I think a lot of it comes from the top and from our media and our "educated comedians" who think it is funny or who push this crap for other reasons.

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:11:11

It is pathetic that in our country in the Euros, that some thug up North attacked some tourists who were holidaying in England because they were in a German car with German number plates.

That is a disgrace and shows how uneducated and unsocialised many of our people are, and I blame our culture and our media which has headlines about that country, and our state TV comedians who make cheap jokes about that country and others, which stir up mindless thugs to act in a disgraceful manner.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 23:15:30

I think if someone was repeatedly making racist comments in my workplace I definitely would report them, yes. That doesn't make me the thought police.

I'm glad you have identified yourself as anti-racist. Some people, however, are apologists for racism and they might say things very similar to you in their own defence, that's all. Something to think about perhaps.

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:18:41

I have got nothing to think about because I am not a racist.

How often have people in your work said something racist and how often have you reported them?

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 23:21:44

Oh have a little think anyway - it's fun! grin

Haven't had to report anyone, luckily. Do you suffer racists in your workplace, but leave them unreported?

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:28:30

"Haven't had to report anyone, luckily."

Exactly and that is why you haven't got a clue.

I have worked everywhere - on shopfloors, in factories, abroad and in City dealing rooms. I have met and worked with thousands of different people from all cultures and classes and that is why I have gained a good understanding of people, and in all that time I have heard hundreds of racist statements made by unthinking, uneducated people about other races and other nationalities. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon.

If I reported them all, I would not have been able to do my job.

And the racism comes from all races and nationalities towards other races and nationalities.

"Oh have a little think anyway - it's fun"

When you have some real experience of people and life, then you will be qualified to think and see that there is no fun in it.

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:29:54

How old are you? How much experience of life have you had?

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 23:33:41

Oh, claig. Don't take offence. And don't make this about me.

That must have been hard for you, to encounter in your varied work life. But all I will say is I disagree on your stance, as so many have on this thread, and I don't intend to answer any personal questions.

Preferred you when you were banging on about karma grin

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:38:13

"That must have been hard for you, to encounter in your varied work life."

It wasn't hard because that is life. that is reality. that is how people are. It is not nice, but that is how it is.

And it is not only the uneducated on factory floors who hold views like thia. I have worked with PhDs who speak 5 languages fluently in the heart of Europe (something that would be imposssoble in our comparatively parochial country), who openly say terrible things about people from the South of Europe. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon.

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:41:11

I have worked with a educated managing director no less in Italy who came from the North of Italy and who said things you wouldn't believe about people from Sicily, and I have listened to taxi drivers in Rome telling me how they can't stand the people in Milan.

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 23:43:06

No, racism is depressingly common, as we all know. And right now it's rearing its ugly head with greater force due to recent events.

We must all speak up against it when we can.

claig Fri 24-May-13 23:54:37

'And right now it's rearing its ugly head with greater force due to recent events.'

Yes, it is terrible. But in my opinion, it must be discussed openly and people must be educated - not brainwashed, not thought policed, but made to think and feel and see that people are not so different to each other, and that is best done when people come into contact with each other and share a meal and a drink and a discussion and form friendships with each other. Then the foreignness and alienness will disappear.

But before that can occur, we must get real about it. We can't deny that it is a problem and we can't sweep it under the carpet by refusing to discuss it. If we stifle people's freedom to say what they feel, then we will be fooled into believeing that they don't feel it, and we will be building up a pool of hidden resentment that will one day return and bite us (by the law of karma) and cause problems that are worse than we have now.

People on here ask why there are so many nasty messages on twitter and facebook now by people whom they thought they knew and who have now shocked them with their views. It is because those views were always there except they have been hidden.

Better not to hide our head in the sand, better to face reality and accept that they exist so that we can do something to change them and to change minds. Reporting people and punishing them won't change their minds, it will only create a worse problem for one day in the future.

claig Sat 25-May-13 00:11:10

People on here are defriending people on facebook by the dozens, defriending relatives and family members and friends of friends because they are shocked by their views that have recently been revealed. They are hiding them, blanking them and defriending them.

But that won't change anything. It is no use hiding and reporting to facebook. People need to engage with these people and change their minds, not blank them or sack them.

claig Sat 25-May-13 00:13:40

There have probably been so many reports of these people to facebook that they are snowed under, but reporting will achieve little to change minds.

WidowWadman Sat 25-May-13 08:05:39

claig A lot of people don't want to be friends with a racist, simple as that. People are entitled to have opinions, but that doesn't mean that their entitled to never be challenged, or ostracised for that matter. If someone sullies my timeline with a post from an EDL site, they're gone.

And you keep contradicting yourself, as you say people should not be challenged other than by saying "but someone I know is an immigrant", nor reported, and now those who don't want to hear/read racist or other shit should not defriend them either.

I also don't understand this banging on about how you know foreigners who are racists or xenophobes, too.

Just because you get them everywhere on the planet, it doesn't make it right.

claig Sat 25-May-13 08:22:32

'claig A lot of people don't want to be friends with a racist, simple as that.'

You are kidding yourself. People have been friends with people for years and now they are seeing on facebook that they are making racist comments that shock them. These people have not changed, they are the same people that they were before, except they hid their views. Now they think they can make them public, because they believe there is safety in numbers and that lots of others feel the same. Most of those people will still remain friends with them. I haven't ended my friendship with colleagues at work because they said something racist, because they are decent people in many other ways, even though they hold some views I disagree with. That is reality.

"And you keep contradicting yourself, as you say people should not be challenged other than by saying "but someone I know is an immigrant", nor reported, and now those who don't want to hear/read racist or other shit should not defriend them either."

I never said people should not be challenged. I am against people being reported, because I think that is counterproductive and will build up a hidden resentment that will one day resurface in a worse form by the law of karma. I think you should have challenged your boss and said you felt uncomfortable rather than keeping silent and regretting that you did not report her. I believe in engaging with people openly and trying to change their minds, not in reporting them and punishing them, because I think the former is teh more effective way of effecting change.

'and now those who don't want to hear/read racist or other shit should not defriend them either.'

I believe in freedom of people to do what they want. If they want to defriend them, that is fine by me. I believe everyone is a free agent and has responsibility for their own actions. I don't believe that others are complicit for the actions of what other people do. But I don't think that defriending people is an effective way to change their ex-friends attitudes. I think it is better to engage with them and change their opinions, but not in a confrontational, accustaory, blaming mannner but in a subtle manner that makes them realise how similar people are and close they really are such as saying "my sister's boyfriend is an immigrant", that brings it close to them, brings it home to them and makes them realise how ridiculous they are better than telling them off and punishing them.

"I also don't understand this banging on about how you know foreigners who are racists or xenophobes, too.
Just because you get them everywhere on the planet, it doesn't make it right."

It is not about "making it right", it is about "getting real".
It is not right that New Labour created an environment when people's concerns about immigration could not be openly discussed and addressed without accusations of immigration, and New Labour have now realised that and apologised about that and said that they are starting to get real

It is about getting real and facing reality and changing minds rather than what you may think is right

claig Sat 25-May-13 08:32:05

And your boss happened to disagree with the levels of immigration, and you wanted to report her. But New Labour now say that people can disagree with the levels of immigration, and Gordon Brown apologised to Mrs Duffy for saying, behind her back after having shaken her hand, that she was a "bigoted" woman because she questioned immigration.

They have started to get real and that is right

claig Sat 25-May-13 08:39:48

Gordon Brown called Mrs Duffy a good woman and shook her hand on camera. He was getting down with the people, he had stepped out of his ivory tower. But then behind her back, he spoke ill of her and called her a bigoted woman.

Then the law of karma had its way, and his actions were revealed and he had to apologise.

I stick by the law of karma and the wise pagan "law of three", known as the threefold way, "don't speak ill of others", "don't do unto others what you would not have done unto you", don't report others, otherwise the fates wil intervene and karma will come to you.

claig Sat 25-May-13 08:48:06

Gordon brown broke the three fold law and he then got what for, and now he knows the score. Don't mess with karma because it is a chameleon and comes back in many guises and strips you of your power and prizes.

WidowWadman Sat 25-May-13 09:01:35

Weirdly your Karma woo seems to only hit people who object to racism and xenophobia.

Dawndonna Sat 25-May-13 09:08:00

ODFO Claig
You've worked with the whole fucking world, you've learnt to speak bullshit fluently and still you peddle views that are essentially racist. I pointed out that I've been beaten up because of the colour of my sking and that my 16 year old gets racist remarks and still you go on about Karma. You say that when people have real experience they can comment. Well, I'm 54, I have real experience and I have the various degrees you remark upon. I still say from factory floor to boardroom a racist remark is a racist remark, it's illegal and should therefore be reported. Now go peddle your crackpot karma elsewhere.

claig Sat 25-May-13 09:09:05

'Weirdly your Karma woo seems to only hit people who object to racism and xenophobia.'

No it doesn't. Karma affects everybody on the planet. No one can escape however rich and seemingly powerful that they are, for the high can be brought low if they transgress the universal law. The threefold law has no boundaries and has no favourites. Gordon Brown and the powerful are subject to it in the same way as the ordinary person.

Do not speak ill of people, do not make nasty comments about them, do not be racist towards them, do not speak ill of them behind their backs, do not be a hypocrite.

"Do not speak ill of others", "do unto others as you would have done unto you" is a universal law.

claig Sat 25-May-13 09:11:13

'I pointed out that I've been beaten up because of the colour of my sking and that my 16 year old gets racist remarks and still you go on about Karma.'

And I said that was wrong and those people should be punished. We are not talking about that, DawnDonna.

claig Sat 25-May-13 09:12:53

"Do not speak ill of others", try not to say ODFO, because karma really exists

Dawndonna Sat 25-May-13 09:13:00

No, we're talking about the fact that people continue to call you on what is basically a racist apologist attitude and you have not backed down and refuse to see where you're going wrong. So in fact, we are talking about that, aren't we Claig.

claig Sat 25-May-13 09:16:54

You have misunderstood what we are talking about.

I am against racism and I don't back down to it or to bullies who tell me to ODFO because they have no argument, and who change the subject and bring in the fact that the National Front have attacked them, which is nothing to do what we are talking about.

Dawndonna Sat 25-May-13 09:35:44

It's okay Claig, if Karma does exist then you'll get your little bite on the arse won't you.
Outa here!

claig Sat 25-May-13 09:40:42

It exists alright, but it won't get me because I do not tell others to ODFO or speak ill of them behind their backs. I do not harbour bitter feelings and do not wish ill on anyone and do not wish that karma will bite them.

I follow the threefold law, "do unto others as you would have done unto you".

claig Sat 25-May-13 09:41:51

"Outa here!"

Goodbye and have a nice day.

WidowWadman Sat 25-May-13 10:15:31

"It exists alright, but it won't get me because I do not tell others to ODFO or speak ill of them behind their backs. I do not harbour bitter feelings and do not wish ill on anyone and do not wish that karma will bite them."

And you don't speak up for or stand by those who are at the receiving end of racism and xenophobia, as you value no ill feeling from the racists and the xenophobes more.

"I follow the threefold law, "do unto others as you would have done unto you"."

I don't call it threefold law, but basic human decency. And part of this "doing onto others" is defending them against racists, xenophobes and other unpleasant bigots instead of not doing anything at all, which is what you advocate.

Ever heard of Bonhoeffer?

claig Sat 25-May-13 10:40:04

But I do stand up for those who are at the receiving end and I do it by using reason and trying to change people's minds.

There have been numerous times when I have tried to change people's attitudes. At work, it has been very common for me to have heard anti-French sentiments for example. Now I love france and I have lived there, so I have tried to correct their misconceptions of France and the French.

Colleagues have said that they hate or dislike the French, that the French cheat us on the EU as usual etc etc

I simply say "do you know any French people? Have you met any French people? Have you ever been to France?" and of course teh answer to all 3 is no.

So where do they get these opinions about France as opposed to Austria, for example. They get them from our media, our culture and from teh top. they only have to watch their idols and their "comedians" on our state TV channels and in programmes like "Have i Got News For You?" where they can hear the Oxbridge set making jokes about how the french have stitched uus up again or "that's the French for you etc".

I am against all this crap by ignorant people who haven't got a clue about France or many other places either.

I have challenged people and in my early days I would get angry with them as I defended the French, but my experience taught me that that does not work and their views only become more entrenched.

I am for defeating ignorance and racism and I believe that is best done by using a subtle approach rather than punishing people for their views and forcing them to keep them secret, which only breeds a latent resentment that will return one day in a much worse form.

claig Sat 25-May-13 10:48:44

UKIP gained 25% of the vote in local elections recently. New Labour have admitted that they were wrong to try and stifle open, honest debate on immigration.

Stalinist suppression, restraints on free and open discussion and burying heads in the sand will not work and the consequences if those policies are carried out will be far worse. And unfortunately, i don't think that diversity training will solve it either, I think it may even make it worse.

"Ever heard of Bonhoeffer?"
Yes, I have heard of him.

Have you ever heard of Kenan Malik?
He is anti-racist just like me, and here is one of his Guardian articles.

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2003/oct/29/race.world1

cat Sat 25-May-13 10:50:27

OP - please think carefully before you do anything

I never thought I'd type those words, unitl my own experience last year, which I posted about on MN extensively.

I worked in a further education college as a subject tutor. My line manager casually used words like chink and paki in relation to students.

None of us were brave enough to say anything to her face as she was a bit of a cow anyway so I had a quiet work with our 'Equality and Diversity representative'. Next thing I knew I was dragged up to HR to give a statement. Four days later I received a letter in the post from HR saying I was being investigated for bullying and negative behaviour in the workplace. My boss had got her two friends to put in false complaints about me. My boss was investigated and got a slap on the wrist. I was investigated and it escalated all the way up to the principle. They pulled apart every aspect of my work and my relationships with colleagues. And every level it went up in the system, they all just closed ranks and protected each other. I had the Union involved from day 1, but it was no use as everything was twisted to make sure I looked terrible.

I was eventually sacked for gross misconduct.

But you know what? I would do it all again tomorrow. I've now left education as the corruption and the fact they were prepared to turn a blind eye to casual racism has disillusioned and left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Thanks Cat. I think there is not much chance of this in our organisation. People would be shocked and disgusted with her. We even have a section at the end of meetings where a diversity and equality monitor asks if anyone has been offended during the meeting. Someone made a joke about an autistic accountant and that was brought up so the word paki would be really be taken seriously.

And do you know what, I am like you and would rather not work there if this sort of crap is tolerated.

Sorry to hear about your experience though. Bloody awful situation.

I did speak to someone who has advised me what to do next time it happens. And pointed out that we have a policy where obvious racism has to be reported. Not sure if this is obvious or she just really stupid but either way needs to stop.

claig Sat 25-May-13 10:59:38

"I travelled with a group of Asian 10-year olds from the all-Asian Farnham Primary School in Great Horton as they visited their white counterparts at the largely white St Anthony's Catholic school. For most of them, it was their third trip. "What was it like the first time you visited St Anthony's?" I asked one child.

"I was nervous," he said.

"Why were you nervous?"

"Because I didn't know what they'd be like. I'd never met them before."

"You'd never met white children before?"

"No."

"Do you know any white children apart from those at St Anthony's?"

"No."

Could this really be Britain, 2003?"

www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2003/oct/29/race.world1

It is when people meet each other and see that they are all the same that the divide and rule strategies from the top against the French or anyone else will fail. When the idiots at work meet French people and when they go to France, then they will realise that the media and some of the Oxbridge set have been misleading them.

I think you are Polish if I remember rightly. I hope you remember on the thread about the Euros in Poland and Ukraine how I stood up for the Poles and Ukrainians against our BBC state media bullshit propaganda programme where they tried to scare the public that people black people risked being killed if they went to Poland and Ukraine to watch the football. They smeared the entire nation of Poland and Ukraine and I explained why they did it and why they did the same to the entire nation of Spain when they were competing with them to win the Olympics.

This crap comes from the top. Their views influence the ordinary people who have never been to France, Poland or the Ukraine.

claig Sat 25-May-13 12:12:02

'I did speak to someone who has advised me what to do next time it happens.'

Did they explain why the policy doesn't apply this time, and what is different about next time?

hackmum Sat 25-May-13 13:31:10

You could always try reasoning with her politely. For example, if she mouths off about TB you could point out that the British wiped out whole populations when they colonised other countries by introducing diseases such as measles and syphilis that the natives had no immunity to.

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