Monday, February 16, 2009

Taboo

"Politics and religion, are two topics we don't talk about in this office.", my boss said to me after pulling me into his office. My boss dismissed me from his office, and then pulled everyone else who works in our department into his office, one by one (six of us in all). He gave each of them the same "only-talk-about-non-controversial-stuff-at-work-like-donuts-and-the-weather" speech. Are you kidding me?

Allow me to fill you in on the nitty-gritty details which precipitated this blatant censorship of conversation.

In the south, there is already a slight racial tension in the air. This was enhanced, ironically, on the day President Obama was sworn into office. During the festivities of the day, some of the ladies in my office were discussing the dress worn by Michelle Obama. They were saying things that only make sense to a female mind like, "Oh, it just wasn't that flattering on her." and "I just can't believe she picked that style." and "She looked so much better the night of the election." SNORE.

Anyway, us guys were (smartly) staying out of the whole conversation. That is, until one of the male supervisors (who happens to be Caucasian) blurted out, "Michelle wouldn't look good no matter what she wore." Cue pin drop silence. Needless to say, this did not go over to well with one of the female supervisors (who happens to NOT be Caucasian). The whole situation escalated, with the male supervisor eventually getting accused of "racism". This little episode made it all the way to the plant manager, which prompted my boss to pull us all into his office for the afore mentioned speech.

It's really sad. Grown men and women who are actually banned from entire categories of conversation! Shame on the employees who are unable to have a mature discussion about important topics. Shame on our managers for choosing the easy way out and not allowing dialogue in the workplace. Shame on us all for choosing productivity at work over freedom of thought and discussion.

Is the truth worth fighting for or not? Are there good ideas and bad ideas or not? Will we be judged by God for our views or not? Let's keep the table open, stop this needless censorship. Let's keep the dialogue going, stop ignoring people just because we disagree with them. Let's respectfully and cordially discuss our viewpoints, stop the name-calling and combative attitudes. Let's be more informed and educated, stop being ignorant of others' views.

2 comments:

  1. Wow- that would be hard, to try not to talk about religion or politics! Are you going to talk with your boss about it again, or is the subject closed?

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  2. No, the subject isn't closed. The speech my boss gave us all was basically an attempt to appease the offended coworker. Basically, we just don't talk about politics and religion around her. (She's a nominal Christian, which makes the situation even more sad, especially since the male supervisor who made the initial comment is an Agnostic.)

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