Dealing with workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination to create a respectful workplace

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Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

ARTICLES

 

People do this all the time. If I’m talking to a friend, colleague or someone I know well enough to have a frank conversation with, I’ll bring it up. I find it a funny quirk and I know where people are coming from. Someone might say to me, “I was speaking with Barry, the black fellow I work with, and…” They lower their voice ever so slightly. It’s kind of like a whisper and is noticeable from the rest of their sentence. If you could see it visibly from their stance, it’s like the person crouches down ever so slightly with that one word. It’s a fear of saying a word that has or has had some negative connotation. Or the person doesn’t want anyone overhearing our conversation thinking they are saying something negative, merely by using a word to describe them. If you haven’t noticed this before, you will because you read this…I think you’ll find it as interesting as I have.

 

TRY THIS:

 

Ask your friend why they lowered their voice when they said “black” or any other word. I’ve found it with gay, lesbian, First Nations, woman, Jew, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and many other times a person is referencing a person who is different. Some will say they don’t know, or will confess that they didn’t want others to overhear them saying something “negative” about that person or someone with similar characteristics or features. Let them know it’s not illegal to use those words and unless their description includes something negative or inappropriate, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about. To be clear, whenever I say anything, I never use judgemental or accusatory language or tone.

 

HOW ABOUT:

 

“Why did you lower your voice when you said ‘black’ just now?” I’m quite sure Barry knows he’s black and I’m quite sure it’s not a crime to talk about black people or say the word black. By the way, you’re not the first person to do this…since I noticed it, I now hear people doing it all the time. Of course, you can do what you want, because I never hear you say anything negative about the person, but I think it sends a message that there’s something wrong with being black or gay or different in a wide variety of ways.

 

 

 

Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP

 

If you have any questions, please contact Stephen.

#45
PERSONS LOWER THEIR VOICES WHEN TALKING ABOUT SOMEONE WHO IS
(WHISPER)BLACK

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Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

© STEPHEN HAMMOND HARASSMENT SOLUTIONS INC.
 
  
 
CONTACT