How can employees effectively respond to overtly racist comments in the workplace?
My manager at the time started talking about how they dislike Russians. They didn’t know at the time that I have Russian heritage. My other coworkers chimed in, agreeing. This was at a company known for their supposed “good” culture, too.
How did you respond?
I didn’t say anything. I decided to hide my background.
What were your takeaways in hindsight?
I later sent them an email from an account that I didn’t realize used my Russian name. They asked me about it, and asked where I was from. When I said Russia, my manager didn’t make eye contact. I didn’t end up working on the team in the long-term. It’s happened actually twice since then, and I haven’t learned how to deal with it. I think the media in America gives people permission to openly talk about hating Russians.