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new job - everyone is racist.

(36 Posts)
VicarInaBooTu Thu 22-Oct-09 18:24:01

i started a new job recently.

i work with several other woman - all very nice but they are absolutely dreadfully racist.

today, one of them asked me to vote BNP as a protest vote, i said i would rather die.

ive tried to ignore the comments but its starting to get to me - its all day everyday. the comments are not aimed at me - but to the people we deal with regularly. its all very very anti immigration. i get the feeling they dont really understand the truth behind it the myths.

ive tried to say - lightheartedly that i dont agree etc, and that all the scaremongering is exactly that - but to no avail. im new - i cannot rock the boat and i absolutely need this job - but its getting to me. i want to get on with them but im getting tired of the constant jibes and asides all day from all of them. one of them today pretended not to be able to read a name because it was "foreign" - it was actually very easy to read, just a different spelling of a traditional british name...
im getting very pissed off. i cant say anything to senior management, they would know it was me. im the only one who isnt racist. do i just block my ears?

mrsruffallo Thu 22-Oct-09 18:25:38

Christ where do you work?
BNP Headquarters?

MacaroonIncident Thu 22-Oct-09 18:25:45

i cant belie this

LaurieScaryCake Thu 22-Oct-09 18:27:23

I would leave.

This will be very dispiriting for you sad

MagNacarta Thu 22-Oct-09 18:29:26

Is there an HR dept? I really think you have to either leave, be far more upfront about disagreeing or tell someone more senior.

VicarInaBooTu Thu 22-Oct-09 18:33:35

i must stress this is the day job - not my volunteer job. (im a special)

its very hard. im finding it very very uncomfortable. they were all really excited that Nick wotsisface is on question time tonight.
i honestly darnt watch it cos i know im gonna disagree and theyll be talking about it tomorrow.
i cant say anything to anyone senior. i need this job - i need the money.

VicarInaBooTu Thu 22-Oct-09 18:37:09

my get out clause when they start and obviously want me to agree is that as a special i have to be neutral and not prejudiced against anyone or i could lose my volunteer job. i feel such a wimp, but they are all very strongly opinionated and i dont want to rock the boat so early on in my employment.

im waiting to find out if ive got into the police - im praying i have and i can get out of this horrible office job.

LaurieScaryCake Thu 22-Oct-09 18:41:06

I can only say that this will grind you down terribly (been there)

As others have said:

1. you can complain properly (raise a grievance)
2. you can strap on a pair and tell them they may not be racist in front of you (requires balls of steel)
3. you can leave (or ask to be moved to another department)
4. you can ignore (and say 'you'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes' in your head)

SheWhoseSocksAlwaysShow Thu 22-Oct-09 18:41:27

I hope job comes thru soon, Vicar.

I find it interesting to hear people with those ideas espouse them -- I know they are horrid views, but it's so outside of my usual experience, I'm always curious about why BNP appeals to them.

There's a Toddler group at soft play that I sometimes go to; the woman who runs the session plus some of the regulars are pro-BNP. It kind of shocks me how avid they are; terribly ignorant, and very odd that they say it all in front of me because I'm an immigrant myself!!

smackapacka Thu 22-Oct-09 18:42:02

That stinks. It's awful. How long would you have to stay if you get into the police?

My SIL is black and I have found that in a difficult situation where fighting against the majority is too difficult for a variety of reasons I have stated that I have relatives who aren't british/white etc, and it often will take the wind out of their sails.

Could you do somthign similar?

morningpaper Thu 22-Oct-09 18:44:40

Start writing down every incident / time / place person who said it

edam Thu 22-Oct-09 19:00:19

Must be awful for you - and the clients. Do what MP says in case you are in a position to raise a grievance later on.

In the meantime, why not give the Equalities Commission a call? They might be able to give you advice about how to deal with this.

Oh, and are you in a union? They come in VERY handy if you are ever the victim of a backlash.

madlentileater Thu 22-Oct-09 19:23:58

is your workplace providing a public service, or is it a statutory organization?
if so there would be legal implications I imagine.
VG idea to record everything and join a union also.

VicarInaBooTu Thu 22-Oct-09 19:45:24

ta for the ideas. today it just really got to me - they had the bloody record stuck - going on and on.

if i have got into police i doubt they would keep me on anyway tbh - im on probation. not sure they will want to continue to train someone who will be leaving anyway, but ill cross that bridge when i come to it.

im in a very difficult position for several reasons - but if it does carry one ill have to say something - ill gladly do that if i know ive got into the police as then ill have nothing to lose. (they are anti police too! they made that quite clear when they found out i was a special!)

ill block my ears tomorrow. bloody nick griffin has alot to answer for....pray for me please that ive got in the police!

VicarInaBooTu Thu 22-Oct-09 19:59:05

oh and what really really made me snort my coffee through my nose was that the ring leader reckons her children should move abroad....(and she will go later to join them)

needless to say she did NOT spot the irony...

edam Thu 22-Oct-09 20:45:39

Good question from madlentileater - if this organisation is public sector, they have a duty to promote equality (not just to avoid discriminating). Even if it's private sector, if they have any govt. contracts it may also apply.

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Thu 22-Oct-09 20:52:25

Been there, it's so difficult. I dealt with it by being bloody awful to anybody that said anything racist near me (scathing looks, telling them exactly what I thought of them etc)

Difficult, and everybody hated me for a while, work was absolute hell but I stood my ground.

It wasn't just racism, it was everything - one of my bosses was in a wheelchair, so he was known as 'The Cripple', anybody black was ridiculed for it.

I employed a black girl to be my assistant after a while (not to prove a point, she was the best person for the job), and my boss actually asked me if I was serious about employing her!!


Sorry for ranting - I would find it VERY difficult not to tell these women to shut the hell up.

(calms down)

IMoveTheStarsForNoOne Thu 22-Oct-09 20:52:57

out of interest, what industry do you work in?

ArghhhhmazingBouncingSpider Thu 22-Oct-09 20:54:29

I sympathise, my boss is like it, always going on about immigrants, people on benefits, and fat people. He is like a walking Daily Mail, drives me potty.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for you getting into the police. smile

somanyboyssolittletime Thu 22-Oct-09 21:07:36

I would ignore as much as possible and look constantly disapproving - best of luck for getting into the police.

Booooooooooyhoo Thu 22-Oct-09 21:16:40

to be honest, i would

a) make an official comlaint to senior management

b) tell these people straight that you do not wish to hear or be involved in their conversations as it is racist.

c)write down everything that is said, dates, times, person who said it.

VicarInaBooTu Thu 22-Oct-09 22:23:04

i would love to complain or tell them exactly what i think but im on very thin ice - this is my first week in a new job that i have to keep because i cannot afford to be out of work.

im working - very broadly speaking - in the public health sector.

im in a small town, with small town mentality, most of the women i work with were born and raised here. its suddenly become multi cultural and they just soak up the bullshit like sponges. im not from here and neither is my husband. he finds the attitudes around here quite shocking but he employs immigrants so he finds it easier to dispel the myths if any of his workforce start saying anything similar. there was a horrible facebook campaign - its a very commonly held belief around here that immigration is the root of all evil - it is the type of place the BNP thrive and peddle their shite.

it wont change. but i hate having to listen to it all bloody day. i have friends who have the same views but i do challenge them and i feel able to do that - but this is work, i dont know these people and i need the job! i think i would feel differently if i knew i had got into the police and i was going to leave, id feel more able to speak my mind.

one consolation is that its not a full time job. i dont have to listen to it every day as of next week, ill be on part time hours.

edam Thu 22-Oct-09 22:27:25

If you are in a local authority, or the NHS, or a body that works for a LA or the NHS, then senior management should take this VERY seriously indeed.

As well as calling the Equalities Commission for advice, might also be worth contacting Public Concern at Work - a charity that helps whistleblowers and advises the NHS in particularly. You wouldn't have to blow the whistle, or give your name or anything, but they might be able to help you think through your options.

Booooooooooyhoo Thu 22-Oct-09 22:34:03

but surely you cant lose your job for reporting racism?

that's illegal. no?

are the management of the same mindset as thes people?

madlentileater Thu 22-Oct-09 22:34:21

sounds like your employers would have duties under the race equality legislation which unfortunately Im not too familiar with, also the duty to promote community cohesion. Someone will be along with more details I'm sure if they're not busy shouting at Nick Griffin anytime now.

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