RE: re stereotyping, generalizations, offense and wishful (wistful?) thinking

Subject: RE: re stereotyping, generalizations, offense and wishful (wistful?) thinking
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2001 17:01:15 +0100

Bal Simon wrote:
> It used to be that people might get annoyed with each other. You
>might get irritated with me. I might feel and express anger toward you. I
>might be impatient with a fool and later have to apologize when I belatedly
>realized that it was I who played the fool.

I don't know. I find it hard to see this as anything but a *good* thing, if
people are required to be on their best behaviour with people they work
with, until and unless all parties get to know each other well enough that
they understand personal foibles (such as a tendency to be in a bit of a
snit mornings after Partick Thistle plays Manchester United). So, my
manager's angry with me for something she thinks I've done and she calls me
a fool. I happen to know that she's wrong: the mess-up was due to something
my manager had failed to do. Can I lose my temper back and call her an
idiot? Not if I'm wise: she may be an idiot, but she's the boss. Politeness
*upwards* is something that's usually a job requirement: I find it hard to
see it as a *bad* thing if politeness *downwards* is also required. And if
you're being polite both up and down, is there a problem with sideways, too?

>It used to be that I didn't have to speak in hushed tones. It used to be
>that I didn't have to worry about stepping on people's toes so much. It
>used to be that people - me included - kept their feet more or less under
>their bodies instead of extending them into the aisles to see which
>unsuspecting slob might not see the all too naked toes and inadvertently
>step on them.

The workplace is generally the main place where people are required to
associate with people whom they would not otherwise choose to share half an
hour, let alone half a cubicle. Having shared an office once with a woman
who was perfectly capable of projecting her voice into every corner - and
*did* - everyone who had to listen to her would have cheered (quietly) if
someone had made her speak in hushed tones. If you're sharing one room with
two dozen people, that's only polite. It's not easy to be polite to people
whom you are used to being able to offend with impunity - but it does make
life in an office that bit easier, for everyone.

>It used to be the "minority" meant less than the majority, that "gay" meant
>happy, that I didn't have to keep track of what a person with darker
>than me needed to be called.

Er... A "minority" still does mean "less than half": I can assure you
personally that being gay does indeed mean being happy <g>, and I would hope
that you keep track of what everyone wants to be called, regardless of their
pigmentation. ("Elizabeth? Who's Elizabeth?" - "Your sister." <that's "West
Wing", my current favourite TV programme>).

> I know that things weren't perfect years ago. But
>at least there was honesty. Now we've got tepid niceness. Isn't that

Yes, it is. You got something *against* niceness? If someone's a bigot,
anywhere else I'd be glad to have an argument: in the workplace, all I ask
is that the bigots refrain from exercising their bigotry (be nice!) and I'll
refrain from making fun of them.... at least, till I get home.

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Digital Bridges, Scotland
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

PS: Yes, the same Jane Carnall that was working for Compaq till recently <g>
now working for a *much* smaller but much friendlier company - Compaq never
brought round free beer and crisps to celebrate a win for the company! <ggg>
Happy Friday afternoon.


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re stereotyping, generalizations, offense and wishful (wistful?) thinking: From: Bal Simon

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