Does standing up for one's self, make one a whinner?

Let’s say we work in an office. You’re of German background and I’m not. I don’t like Germans and while I treat you civil, you know I don’t like you…

Because you’re German.

One day, you walk into my office and the walls are covered with WWI/WWII Anti-German propaganda. German Posters Warning: Site contains graphic pics and moviation…however tons of pics.

I say it’s historical art and besides when were German’s systematically oppressed in the US? It’s not like they’re black or anything and were oppressed for over 400 years. At the most we’re talking a few years after the war…what are you complaining about? You are an ** american** aren’t you?

Besides, Jim in accounting has a poster of “Rosie, the Riveter” There is no rule against posters in the office, as long as they are not offensive. I’m a WW2 buff and this is history.

Offensive being decided by the staff, none of who, besides you are German. In fact all they know of Germany is the dreaded “N” word.

These posters arent’ promoting that.

You notice that the staff and clients, who all know you are German, are beginning to act funny around you, after they leave my office.

Are you standing up for yourself, by calling me a bigot; if you complain are you a whinner?

Or do you just leave them up?

You just shot your claims of civility here.

Now you’re definitely trying to provoke a negative reaction here. Two strikes.

They’re offensive to your German co-worker. If someone was offended by Jim’s poster and he kept it up, then you may have a point.

Great, now it’s an entire office full of idiots.

“Whiner” is a loaded word. I’d rather call Human Resources.
Or do you just leave them up? **

The OP, in my opinion, would have made a better debate if the parts about disliking Germans were left out. In other words, if the posters were in place but the OP had no problem with Germans, rather he liked the posters for their historical value, would the offended person be justified by complaining to, I assume, HR.

I would agree, but I think the biggest part of being offended is the moviation of the offender.

Real life example. One of my friend’s father was member of Black Panthers and tolerates no slight.

We had been up all night, and he had dark circles under his eyes.

Another friend who is from Russia, remarked that my friend’s father looked like a coon.

Dead Silence. We expected to have to call the cops to pull my friend’s father of this guy.

Instead he just laughed, " You mean, Ra-coon"

Had it been a American, there would have been blood, but because there was no harm intended, it just was a comment.

Moviation of the offender to me, seems key to claiming offense…

Considering what precipitated this thread (and there’s no need to get into that here) I’d say one does’t always know the motivation of the ‘offender’ and it is in such cases when one must decide to a) be offended, b) ask the ‘offender’ why, in this case, s/he chooses to hang such posters or c) give the ‘offender’ the benefit of doubt and let it be.

I agree, in cases when you can’t confront or the ‘offender’ doesn’t give a rationale. However once that rationale is given, the dynamic changes.

Especially if the material isn’t really offensive to the majority of people.

I’m not talking about the hardcore stuff, but say a wall full of variations of full color lithographs of Uncle Sam kicking Nazi butt or some old Unknown Soldier comic book covers, that I framed.

All beautiful art, with message that was important over 50 years ago…but most people may not see.

It’s easy if it’s Mistral art or Uncle Tom stuff, that’s the easy stuff to see…but this, I don’t think anyone’s going to catch it. It’s WorldWar 2 patriotism…what’s wrong with that?

Now, you know and I know what I’m doing, because you know me…but unless you explain it to HR, they will never see the connection.

How many of them will consider you a whinner or thin skinned?

If he starts putting up posters of David Hasselhoff…

calling you a bigot is insulting you, not standing up for himself.
If he just complains, then it’s whining. If he has a purpose, an action he wants taken and he asks for it or demands it, then he’s standing up for himself.

You admit in your post you do not like people of German descent. While no one is forced to like anyone else, freely admitting it within the workplace has no postive benefits. On the contrary, you are establising an immediate adverse working environment based upon personal beliefs and attitudes. Deliberately creating such a work environment has potential negative repercussions for yourself, and your employer.

You admit in your post an ignorance that time has no bearing on alleged discrimination and oppression. You fail to understand that discrimination nor oppression is required to have a minimum time test before it is valid.

You admit to posting personal materials in a workplace that have no bearing on the place of employment. Though the materials may have some sort of historical value, out of context they will be seen as offensive. Of course, that is your intent in the first place.
While it may be “your office,” the fact remains you do not own it nor control it. Your employer does.

You are attempting to deliberately incite an incident based upon your own personal beliefs in the workplace, and then blame it upon the victims.

The real whinner in this scenario is you.

I think we can all agree that the picture of Adolf spanking the maid is sort of hot.

Disagree. If a person is offended, they are offended, the motivation of the offender is irrelevant. If the offender is ignorant of the offense, he or she shouldn’t be blamed, but should be made aware of the offense. If, after being made aware of the offense, the offender declines to remove the offense, the offender is both an offender and a jerk.

You just might be a bit hasty, here.

Real life examples:

Wiccan art on a desk. offensive to some Fundamentalist Christians

Crucifix (or, at least a cross) on a desk. offensive to various people (crucifix may actually be offensive to Christians who consider that image idolatry)

Photo of wife holding stillborn child in farewell actual event documented by the husband/father on the SDMB

Model of B-29 Enola Gay encountered by immigrant child of Hiroshima survivors?

Wehrmacht souvenir bearing swastika, kept on desk by former infantryman who took it in battle?

Each of these incidents actually occurred and the desk’s owner, in each case, was “made aware” that someone else found it offensive. Are you saying that the owner of the desk in each and every one of these cases needs to remove the “offending” image in order to avoid being a jerk?

You’re absolutely correct…

The problem is only I and my German co-worker know my true feelings. My employer, who fought in WW2, finds nothing offensive with my historical interest.

In fact, he’s given me some of his relics and is considering creating, a “wall of honor” in the lobby of the building.

While he knows our co-worker is of German decent, he’s not one of those Germans. His family left Germany before the war, why should he be offended?

Besides the posters and comic books are of soliders–Nazi soldiers, certainly not ALL Germans, why should it bother anyone; anyone who doesn’t agree with what the Nazi’s did that is?

If you didn’t know my real motivation, wouldn’t our German friend seem to be over sensitive?

What you’re overlooking is the fact that people in any given minority are justifiably more sensitive to anything offensive, than most people not in that minority.

Most white people recognize an overt act of racism when they see it, but people of color are more sensitive to more subtle forms of racism that they have to deal with every day.

Most women are very much more aware of the intricacies and ramifications of sexism than most men, who only see the more obvious offenses.

The same goes for Jews, gays, atheists, short people, fat people, and as the case may be, Germans.

Would you put up a poster of a black man being lynched, and then say it doesn’t depict **all **black people, only the ones who deserve to be lynched? Would you understand a black person (and others) being offended by this?

If your coworker is offended, it’s his call, not yours. And if you listen to him more carefully, you just might learn something, especially about yourself. I don’t buy the line about him being hypersensitive. You could learn to be a little more sensitive yourself.

Otherwise, you’re being a jerk.

Actually, Germans were systematically oppressed in the USA in the early part of the 20th century. We were fighting a war against Germany at the time, but anti-German sentiment went far beyond what was reasonable. Some states outlawed the teaching of German, and it was upheld in their courts.

Need some clarification, please.

Define “employer.” Are you referring to your immediate supervisor, manager, etc.? Is this company privately owner or something else?

I’d recommend a negotiated compromise of some sort, myself. A blanket suggestion like “remove it or be branded a jerk” doesn’t work for matters like these – it all depends on the people and circumstances involved.

You don’t like Germans? Now that sounds like either bigotry, racism, or both. That is grounds for complaint to the HR.