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Closing The Door On Racist Attitudes

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 2, 2018

(We just hired a new girl to the office. She seems highly capable at her job as the new administrator and everyone generally likes her. About a week after she starts, I witness a strange interaction between her and one of our male coworkers. She is sitting in the common lounge area, having some lunch, when our male coworker sits next to her. They chat for a bit, but then after she says something, he gets a look of pure rage on his face and quickly gets up and walks away from her. Curious, I approach her and notice she is laughing quietly to herself. She notices me and waves hello.)

Me: “Hey, what was that? He looked mad.”

New Girl: “Oh… Oh, man, did I piss him off.”

Me: “Care to share?”

New Girl: “Well, he was complaining about how our doorman spoke Spanish, and how he should have learned English before he got here. Sounds familiar, right?”

Me: “Oh, that’s kind of horrible.”

New Girl: “Yeah. [Doorman] is super friendly, and he was that one who walked me up here and showed me where my interview was. He’s only been here for like five months on a work visa! This is his second job on top of the first one!”

(At this point I feel a little ashamed that I never took the time to ever talk to the new doorman, or ask him about his life. I have been working at the company for five years and have never bothered getting to know any of the staff, and this girl who has been here a week has done that already!)

New Girl: “So, yeah, [Male Coworker] was going on and on, so I asked him if he ever took a foreign language class in high school or college. He said, ‘Yes. I took French for three years in high school!’ Then, I asked if he was fluent in French.”

Me: “Was he?”

New Girl: “No! He got all frazzled and was like, ‘Oh, that’s different. You know, it’s just an elective. I’m not fluent in French because I don’t have to be.’ And I told him, ‘Think about it: if you took French for three years and aren’t fluent or even partially knowledgeable in the language, how do you expect a man who has been in an English-speaking country for less than five months to be fluent in English?’ Besides, [Doorman] speaks English just fine; he just stutters.”

Me: *speechless*

New Girl: *laughs harder* “Was that too mean? He left after that. I thought he was going to yell at me!”

Me: “Can you please be my new best friend?”

(We fist-bumped, and I bought her coffee afterwards. I hope she sticks around because our coworker never says anything racist around her anymore. It’s been a few months now, and she runs the office better than people who have been around for years, even me!)

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