Is being politcally correct just another way to suppress the underlying issues?

I think that although Americans today are probably more conscious of being politically correct than past generations, in reality I think that racism is still very prevalent in our country today but it is just kept more under wraps than it has been in the past.  Today we are so focused on saying the right things and not offending each other that internal tensions build up. People are still just as judgmental and critical as they were in the past, they just have new mediums to express these opinions on anonymously.  They can post anything they want on the internet privately and not deal with the consequences.  Does being politically correct about racism really solve the problem? Or is it just another way to suppress the problem?

Last summer I worked as a waitress at a small restaurant in my town.  The restaurant was owned by a woman with four children who all went to my high school and was a well known family around the town.  My boss was a real stickler about recording the amount of cash that was in the drawer when you started a shift and when you ended a shift.  One day she stormed into the kitchen and started screaming at Lucas, one of the head cooks.  She started accusing him of taking $500 from the cash register and screaming stereotypical profanities at him.  Lucas immediately started defending himself and told her he would never steal from the restaurant.  Later that day when I went back into the kitchen to get an order, he started asking me if I thought he stole the money.  I immediately said no and a look of relief crossed over his face.  He was so offended that she would even think that he would consider stealing cash from a restaurant that he had been a loyal worker at for 5 years. This was not the first time that she had said racist comments to the cook staff.

Ever since that day I could not look at my employer the same way and really lost respect for her as a person.  A random person could have broken in or she could have miscalculated some numbers and should not have jumped to conclusions and immediately blamed the foreign kitchen staff.  Although most of her kitchen staff were illegal immigrants, she completely took them for granted and underpaid them because she knew she could get away with it.  She often threatened that she would get them deported.  Many of them were the main supporters of their family so she knew they needed the jobs.  I thought it was so unprofessional of her and I just could not believe one human being would treat other human beings that way. She always so composed and professional when she was dealing with her customers, always trying to make them feel as comfortable as possible.  I never would have expected her to be so racist, but these are the types of behaviors that come out when people are trying to be so politically correct all the time.  Tension and hostility builds up and when it finally comes out ends up being much worse than it needed to be.


5 responses to “Is being politcally correct just another way to suppress the underlying issues?

  1. Sounds like a tough summer job and situation. You did not want to overstep your bounds as an employee but wanted to stand up for your co-worker and what is right. I think you are correct when you point out that racism is still there its just more underwraps. Im guessing your boss did not yell at the cook in front of her customers. She wouldn’t think that it would be ok; she shouldn’t think that she can get away with it behind the counter.

  2. I agree with Josh. This seems like a pretty terrible scenario for you, Tara. Your boss really put you in a tough situation where you were essentially asked to reaffirm her blatant racist assumption. You could have easily agreed with her, which could likely put you in a better light from your boss’s perspective. I am impressed that you stood up for the cook and said that you didn’t think it was the cook who stole the money because it is frustrating how racism is still around today, and any action against it will help decrease how common it is.

  3. This is a very relevant story for this weeks prompt. Sticking up for the cook was the right thing to do in this situation Tara. Your boss showing her true colors reminds me of how the TSA actively targets Middle Eastern people as they go through airport security.

  4. The very fact that Lucas looked to you for affirmation I think says volumes about how you already seemed trustworthy. It also highlights how work experience can cut across presumed differences of identity: the White waitress and the Hispanic (I guess?) cook bond over the abuse of authority by the owner.

    The fact that her profit margins were enhanced by underpaid labor (due to illegal status) is troubling legally and morally. Maybe part of her bile towards them was displaced guilt at her own actions?

    Clarence Darrow, a great lawyer and defender of human rights, said that “we hate those we have hurt the most.” Took me awhile to understand him.

  5. I love the fact that you’ve separated political correctness, and racism. I think its true that one is not indicative of the other, and being PC is only a small component of eliminating prejudice.

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