So I’ve got something to share and hopefully get some opinions about. I started a new job at the beginning of this month. It’s quite a large company that does outsourced technical support and customer support for different companies. Other than it have EXTREMELY stringent rules and such, it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve been in ‘training’ for my product since I started and we’re nearing the end.
But one thing I’ve noticed is that the atmosphere in the workplace is…different…from any I’ve seen in California (I just moved here to Oregon). Frequently the guys in the class make off color remarks or tease other classmates. Some of it’s quite cruel…comments about other peoples’ weight as they walk by the classroom, making slighty subtle (but not really) comments about peoples’ weight IN the class. Mimicking foreign accents in situations where it’s meant to be derogatory. But there’s been two incidents that have bothered me the most.
It was a normal day, the usual teasing and ribbing but nothing too bad. Then one guy goes “Well, your momma!” as a comeback and the other one replies with “Well at least I only have one.” My friend in the class was “What’s that supposed to be? Is that supposed to be an insult?” and he shut up but kind of smirked. The issue was dropped.
But today…today is what prompted me to write this. We were discussing the proper way of talking to customers on the phone. Your tone, words, speed, and such. The trainer commented that you had to avoid talking too fast and one of the guys pops up with “Like Asians.” My friend and I were just flabberghasted. She said “Excuse me? What did you say?” and he repeated himself. I finally was able to blurt out “That’s so stereotypical!” and he laughed and said “No, it’s true.” I was so mad, I couldn’t say anything else. I didn’t want to start an argument in the middle of class.
Cut to later in the day during a break. I pull the trainer aside and the following conversation is had:
Me: I just wanted to talk to you about something. I think that what ‘Bob’ said about Asians today was not cool at all. In fact alot of things that are said in class step out of line alot.
Trainer: About the fast talking?
Me: Yeah, completely inappropriate.
Trainer: Well have you known any Asians?
Me: complete shock What?
Trainer: Well ‘Bob’ lived in Japan for a year.
Me: It’s still not appropriate! I was too shocked to reply with much else
Trainer: Well, I’ll talk to him about it.
Me: shocked, goes back into room
Later I hear the end of a conversation he had with ‘Bob’ outside of the room.
Bob: Well, it’s true.
Trainer: I know, but even more reason for you to watch what you say.
I can NOT believe this happened. I don’t know what to do. On one hand, this is blatant bigotry in the workplace. But on the otherhand, I don’t want to cause a huge deal over something as small as a single incident. Does anyone have any ideas or opinions on what I should do? Did I overreact?