Rampant Censorship At Work
Not long ago, I was talking at work (after hours) with a co-worker's husband. We were speaking about his father's Danish ancestry and the fact that he still has a slight accent. My assistant manager asked us to "take the conversation outside" which we did, assuming that we were causing a distraction in the office.
When we came back inside later, however, we were informed that since there was a gentleman from South America in the office who "had an accent" as she so astutely noticed, that using the word "accent" in a sentence could be "taken offensive" (her words) and was highly inappropriate in the workplace.
I don't even know where to begin listing the problems with this kind of thinking. First, having to take this kind of criticism of my language from someone who can't even properly conjugate an adverb is just mind blowing. Secondly, the sheer audacity that she displayed in presuming to know what does or does not offend any person who is not a native English speaker shows that she thinks of him as no more intelligent than an animal. A grown, multilingual man is certainly capable of hearing the word "accent" without taking offense.
I doubt that she even understands the PC principles that she is espousing. The situation just rang some kind of ill-formed Pavlovian bell in her mind. I refuse to alter my speech or behavior around any person of any ethnic or socioeconomic background. To me, changing the way I behave or speak based on the skin color or the race of anyone who might be listening is completely bigoted and worse, it is downright cowardice.
We are not white, brown, native or foreign. We are people. That Latino man was only a man to me. I refuse to treat him as anything other than a man. If that makes me offensive, then so be it.