Don't you just love the smell of racism in the morning?

Let me set the scene:

I work in a small call center. It is one of those places that is overwhelmingly xtian, and while I am most assuredly not xtian, they hired me and I just keep my mouth shut when religion comes up and make comments like “You know, I am trying to tell you what to believe, please do not involve me in this conversation” when someone tries to drag me into it.

I tolerate the vast majority of people with whom I work. hell, even the hateful old biddie who made the comment in front of me (not just in front of me, but directly to me!)while watching a commercial for Gastric Bypass Surgery that “if those fat asses would just stop eating, they wouldn’t need surgery” is tolerable. And I have had GBS.

There is one thing (gods, I even loathe using the word “person” here) that I simply cannot tolerate, though. Let’s call her “Serina.” Serina has been with this company for something like a million years and there is no way she is going anywhere as she is buddies with way too many of the upper management. She is one of those people who thinks that walking into a garage makes one a car…er, I mean, walking into a church makes one a Christian. That is as far as her “Christianity” goes. When TN was going through the whole “let’s keep gays from getting married” thing, she actually had the gall to tell me how I should vote on the amendment. Nevermind the fact that I am bisexual. Nevermind the fact that my BIL is quite flambouyantly gay. Nevermind…oh, nevermind. I tore her a new asshole over that one and at that point told her that I was not trying to be rude, but I neither could nor would tolerate her ignorance and hate and that it would be best if she just never spoke to me again.

It worked for about a week. After that, she (as is the wont of the ignorant) would try to speak to me when we would be in the break room at the same time (which is far too often, as her lunch and mine are at the same time on Mondays, and her lunch coincides with my arrival the other days of the week). I would try to avoid this by sitting down at the table farthest from her, picking up the newspaper and covering my face with it. Think Ward Beaver at the breakfast table. She didn’t grok and would still try to speak to me. I would shake the paper, look at her and say, “huh? I was reading, surely you weren’t talking to me, I wasn’t listening.” Yeh, she’s that fuggin’ stupid.

Fast forward to today. I am working a full day, so I take a lunch. I have the imfamous summer cold and am congested as all get out. I run over to Fortune House (the Chinese Soup Nazi – OMG they have THE BEST FOOD!) for some “extra, extra spicy Wonderful Shrimp, yes, I know it is very spicy, yes, I really want it extra extra spicy. Thanks so much!!” When I get back, there she is, tv on soap opera, full volume. Yay, think I, she’s watching her soaps! But of course, it was not to be.

I sit down and start eating my Chinese food (with chopsticks, of course) and the following ensues:

Serina: What did you get?
Me: Chinese
Serina: I don’t see how those people can eat like that.
Me: Huh?
Serina: (points to my chopsticks) You know, with those things. how do those people eat with those things?
Me: What people?
Serina: THOSE PEOPLE, you know, the Chinese.
Me: :dubious: The same way I do? pick up newspaper, put it in front of my face, making it a little difficult to eat with chopsticks, but dear Og, is she seriously going to act like that in public?!?!?

Serina: So, you getting crazy customers this morning?
Me: rattlerattlerattle huh? No, just the same old same old.
Serina: Man, is it bar missa (yes, she said “bar missa”) time already?
Me: What?!?
Serina: Is it bar missa time? I keep getting a lot of them on the phone.
Me: Serina, uhm, a bar mitzvah is the 13th birthday of a boy – it can happen anytime, it’s not a specific holiday.
Serina: Oh. Well, it must be one of their holidays coming up or something, I have had a lot of them on the phone today.
Me: I have to go poop.

Seriously, what could I say at that point? Now, the truth is that we do have a lot – too many – annoying Jewish customers who will call and want to order $5 worth of gift wrap for their kid’s bar/bat mitzvah and then complain about the freight, service charges, etc, but still. We also have a lot of Southern bitches who want to call and talk to me as if I give a shiyat about their stupid gift basket business. And a boatload of brides who cannot understand that no, we cannot have their ribbon custom printed for their wedding that they’ve been planning for 12 months ready in time for the actual wedding NEXT FUCKING MONDAY.

This should probably be in the pit, as I could really use some expletives about this person, but I am just too lazy to make it less mundane and more pointed as I would like to in the pit. Oh, and I am not seeking advice, as there is nothing that can be done. I have made it clear to management that I did not appreciate the hate that bitch spewed out about homosexuals at me and nothing was ever said to her. She won’t be fired for her racism or other crap and I would only be setting myself up for a world of shit if I tried to rock the boat. As it stands, I love my job, and can tolerate pretty much everyone else. I just had to get this off my chest and vent. Thanks.

I know you don’t want advice, but … why not just say to her, over and over, “I told you not to speak to me again, and I meant it. Please stop.”

As much as I would love to do that, Contrapuntal, I would be the one to be brought up for being rude. It is easier (in this case) to just try to avoid her.

Due to a death in the family, I had the pleasure of the company of a relative similar to this over the weekend. Unfortunately, I seldom think on my feet quicky enough to respond in a timely fashion, so I just smile and nod.

However, this aunt was in rare form and persisted until she hurt someone’s feelings. Later, I thought up a response that I would like to try if the occasion should arise again.

“Hey, you know the next 45 things you’re going to say? Try not saying them.”

Feel free to borrow that line and let me know how it works out. In my case, I should probably use a larger number because 45 will only keep her quite for about five minutes.

Sorry to hear about the death and that you have an aunt like that. I love that line, and will probably use it on my husband, as he can just say some dumb shit. I always think well on my feet, and have about a billion things I could say to her, except that I like my job, LOL! I did pretty much lose my self-control when she was on the homophobic kick – I told her that if we were going to decide that “teh gays” couldn’t marry, could we also include stupid bottle redheads? Or at least keep them from breeding? Yeh, she is stupid enough that she was the only one there that day who didn’t understand I was referring to her.

Your future non-business communication should consist of a series of non-commital mono-syllabic utterances. You are not going to change her and trying to is only going to give you a stroke, so just repeat “uh huh” and “erm” and the like whenver she starts talking. If she switches into stupid-talk in the middle of a work-related conversation, shut right back down into mono-syllables.

Of course, you could always claim to be whatever group/race/affiliation/gender/orientation she’s spouting off about. It could be funny!

“Chinese? Are you aware my mother is Chinese?”

“Gay? You do know I’m gay, right? And so is my husband. How DARE you?”

“Jewish? My grandfather DIED in Auschwitz, you insensitive woman!”

“Black? How could you be so insensitive as to say such things to a black person?” Then when she starts looking around, point to yourself. Bonus points on this one if you’re albino or something.

So just be whatever she’s on about and get really, REALLY offended every time she opens her mouth–but politely, politely. Try to let a little tear go to show how hurt you are by all this persecution. Have fun with it! Especially if there are others hanging about listening.

“Eskimo? After all the persecution my people have endured you DARE call me an ESKIMO? It’s INUIT!” Or vice versa, depending on the original term used.

“Space alien? Why I’ll have you know…”

She’ll stop eventually if only from total confusion and you won’t have to read the paper so much! Win/win!


Sounds like you need an MP3 player in the worst way. Insert earphones and ignore. Don’t even look at her when she speaks. Tell her you’re listening to an audiobook and can’t listen to it and she at the same time. Enjoy the peace :slight_smile:

I second this. It sounds like she loves to hear her own voice, and you know she’s a total tool anyway, so don’t let her get to you. She’s a small, petty person, and engaging her on her level will only prove to her that the world is full of “them.”

These are all great ideas, but trust me – don’t work. This thing is thicker than you could imagine. Think of the stupidest person you have ever met, then remove 9/10 of their brain, insert a broken-record recording of how only WASPS are “gawd’s people” and you still haven’t broken the surface.

SmartAleq – funny enough, with the whole gay marriage thing, I did point out that I am bisexual and do not appreciate her rudeness. She was not fazed. Although I have done the “OMG, i don’t appreciate you talking about my people like that” (regarding blacks) in other circumstances – and yeh, I am very pale with red hair :slight_smile: – it wouldn’t work with her. As mentioned, she just loves the sound of her own voice, and I doubt she even hears anything that anyone says to her – unless they are standing behind a pulpit. Actually, to be honest, I bet she doesn’t even hear those people, she just swallows the words to be regurgitated later at someone else.

You know, I just want to win the lottery so that one day, I can come in here (it would be my last day, you know) and tell people things they need to hear. I would explain to my customers the concept of the coversation – you know, while I am speaking, you STFU and I will do the same for you. And I would relish explaining to Serina how she is going to hell, since she is divorced (and yes, I would make sure I had my Bible with me with all pertinent scripture marked) as well as making sure I reported her specifically to the labor board for a hostile work environment. Meh. Like I said, I like my job, I can tolerate just about anyone, this thing, though…well, let’s just say if I ever go postal, she will be the last one I shoot :smiley:

In my experience, the best way to deal with people like this is to meet them with silence, stone cold silence every time unless it’s work related.

Serina: What did you get?
You: silence
Serina: I don’t see how those people can eat like that.
You: silence
Serina: You know, with those things. how do those people eat with those things?
You: silence stare
Serina: So, you getting crazy customers this morning?
You: rattlerattlerattle huh? No, just the same old same old.
Serina: Man, is it bar missa (yes, she said “bar missa”) time already?
You: silence
Serina: Is it bar missa time? I keep getting a lot of them on the phone.
You: Customers are customers
Serina: Oh. Well, it must be one of their holidays coming up or something, I have had a lot of them on the phone today.
You: I have to go poop.

Engaging in conversations with them, even if you’re just humoring them is not worth the energy it takes to open your mouth!

I think I’d be happy to be “brought up” (written up, whatever) for being rude to her. At that point, I could bring up all the racist, unprofessional and completely inappropriate things SHE is saying and suggest that I would now like to file a formal complaint about her conduct and another against managment for “retaliation” against me for daring to tell her that I didn’t like being subjected to her inappropriate behavior.

Then the question becomes, “who owns the call center?”

Chimera, and if the management doesn’t cave?

Litoris would then be faced with being probably being made to leave the job, either through being fired, or petty harassment until she couldn’t stand working there any longer. During this time, of course, her complaint would be going through the process with the DoL, but that takes time. I think two years is a good estimate of the time required. If Litoris is correct that her co-workers aren’t likely to see much wrong with the idiot’s behavior, she’s now in the position of looking, to the labor board, like someone who has responded to a write-up with allegations of a particularly dramatic nature.

They may well believe her, esp. if they interview the idiot in question, but can she afford to lose her income for the two years that it would take to go through the process? And while there are laws against retaliation for whistle-blowers, my impression is that they’re pretty threadbare, because the standard of a reasonable doubt offers a lot of wiggle room to potential employers.

I agree it would be a good thing for Litoris to make the stand you’re talking about. But in the real world, it takes support to be able to make that kind of stand.

What I’ve done in the past (of course, it didn’t work…) was every time someone White, Xtian or mainstream in any way was mentioned, I’d go on and on about how “those” people have screwed up everything for centuries, and that I can’t wait until the revolution, when they get their comeuppance, etc.

Big honking noise cancelling headphones.

I know what you mean. One of my best friends’ family is VERY religious…the kind that built a chapel on their house. When their family was together and nobody of color was in earshot, they’d spout some of the most vile things I’d ever heard.

They tried to include me in some of their conversations, but I’d either tell them I didn’t want in their conversation or I’d just go somewhere else.

The thing is, this is the South. I have heard a lot worse racial slurs, but at least there was no pretense as to what they were. This bitch is so self-absorbed, she probably doesn’t even recognise it as what it is. They offend her poor, delicate, white-trash sensibilities.

Yes, I could raise a stink, but again, I like the job. So some of the cow orkers drive me nuts, big deal. I can continue to avoid her and continue to make comments in front of her about my gay BIL, my bisexuality, my Jewish ancestors (ROFL – my people are as Aryan as they get all the way back on both sides, except for the Cherokee on my Dad’s side), and hope that someday, she figures out that I am one of “those people” and she would be best to just not talk to me. I think I will start wearing my MP3 player when I am on lunch, though. If I could, i would just eat at my desk, but that is disallowed :frowning:

That’s rough, Litoris. I’ve dealt with the occasional overzealous Christian coworker, but nothing to this extreme. I agree with everyone who said you should start bringing an mp3 player.

I have to say, though, your OP had me giggling for a good five minutes. From now on, I plan to end every uncomfortable workplace conversation with “I have to go poop.” :smiley:

You could get one of those little personal recorder thingies and every time she starts up just say “oh, wait a sec… ::click:: okay please continue. You have such interesting views on blacks, gays, Jews and Chinese I want to get them all on tape.”

“Oh, what? I’m sorry, I’ve gotta take off. Daddy has to make some major brown.”