ETL confrontation!!

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Today, one of my peers sent me a text accidentally saying that she felt that she was being followed up on because she's black. She said that she thinks that the ETLs (we are ETLs) micromanage her in a way that we don't do to each other.

I confronted her about it and told her that I thought she was making the racism up in her head and she just has a guilty conscience. She gave me examples of times she thought that racial discrimination happened. She gave an example of how a black team member was coached for FFF because she did not saying hello to a leader after that leader kept her waiting outside for 30 minutes before opening the door in the morning... but then a team leader (my team leader) sent confrontational text messages to her about work when he was off the clock (she's black) & he wasn't even coached. She also gave an example of a white team member making a negative comment about the texture of her hair. I thought the examples were kind of funny, to be honest. I basically told her that racism exists in this world, so I'm sure that racism exists in our store, which is true I'm sure. She had also claimed that the black team leader said he thought the STL was racist, but when the STL asked him he was afraid to admit it. She apparently has text messages from him. I don't know. I told her I don't believe her and it's all in her head. She told me that I "was out of line for saying these things because I'm white and I "don't understand her struggle & will never be in her shoes".... I told her that I'm sure that there could be some black people who could be racist against white people in our store too. She said if that were ever brought to her attention that she would address, but she hasn't heard or witnessed anything like it. She mentioned that one of my peers called a black team member a monkey but I'm friends with him and I don't think he's racist. He's Hispanic so I don't think the monkey comment was that bad. I told her I was insulted that she thought racism was going on and that I would only be having a professional relationship with her going forward. I feel like she was wrong for even saying that to anyone, even though she didn't mean for me to see it. I told her that I'm going to tell the STL, and I am (He's on vacation). She was visibly upset when I walked out of her office. I honestly don't feel bad, I feel like it was the truth.

I just want your opinions on the situation.
 

commiecorvus

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1) TM was coached for not being friendly after having to stand for 30 minutes outside to be let in. Maybe not racist but certainly frelling obnoxious.

2) Confrontational text messages off the clock with no (as far she knows) coaching. Really bad management at the very least but we seem to be starting a pattern.

3) Negative hair comments. Eh, stupid and offensive but that kind of stuff can be really wearing if you have to put up with it on a constant basis.

4) Calling any TM a monkey who isn't your best friend? Doesn't matter if you don't think he's racist, it's a racial comment unless the person he's talking about is BR and climbing in the steel and even that is pushing it.

5) Telling her that it's all in her head. You're making it so much worse.

6) She isn't wrong.

The best description of white privilege I have ever seen is riding a bike in a tail wind. You're going like a bat out of hell and it feels like you're pumping that bike.
You don't feel the wind so you don't realize just how much help you have.
Your coworker is riding into a headwind and has been doing it all her life. Every gust of wind, she is going to feel it.
You don't see it because it's wind, sometimes something gets knocked over but most of the time, it's going your way.
 
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She DOES have a point that you "won't understand because you're white", but if she has an issue, she needs to take it to the STL or to HR, NOT you. If ANYONE sent her text messages about work when she was off the clock, they should be coached, regardless of the color of their skin....did she report the text messages? Also, what was the context of the "monkey" comment? Was he climbing something at the time? How did the TM that was called it take it?

Unfortunately, there are some people who are going to think they are being discriminated against, and see "racism" in every little slight. With people like that, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. We had someone who applied for a job and tried to claim discrimination when she didn't get it, until she found out how diverse our management is. We have just about every color, religion, gender, and sexual persuasion covered.
 
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Oh, and getting your panties in a bunch because someone makes a "negative" comment about the texture of your hair? Suck it up buttercup, people make "comments" about my hair all the time and I'm white. If I had $1 for every time someone made a comment about my hair, I'd be richer than Gregg!!!
 
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I found out through black peers at school the hair thing is really offensive. There are a lot of comments made, to the point of people expecting to be able to touch a black person's hair simply because they are curious about the texture. In the end, it isn't up to those of one race to determine what another race should or should not find offensive.
 
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Telling her that it's all in her head is not very polite and will probably make things worse. About the monkey thing : That can be very offensive to some African Americans because the term "porch monkey"was once used as a racial slur.

When I used to work in a restaurant, I had a fellow waiter who would swipe all the food/debris onto the kitchen floor instead of into a trash can making *huge* messes on the floor. After many attempts of politely asking him to sweep it into a towel/trash can I got mad and said he made huge messes like a little monkey. He took it the wrong way and thought I was being racist. You should tell your friend to apologize to the girl about the monkey comment. He probably did not realize that what he said could have been taken out of context and might have been racist too her. She will appreciate the apology and it might ease her fears that people are being racist towards her.
 
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The comment about the hair was along the lines of "your kids are going to suffer in life if they get that kinky hair you have" then the team member who made the comment (admitted) that she said she "hopes her kids don't get that kinky hair and have pretty straight hair" like her family. I think that team member who made the comment is dating a biracial man. The argument was actually with the ETL HR, who is black, she brought it up to me because i asked her about a text message that I saw that she sent someone.
 
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She said that she does not want to speak to me personally, professionally, or otherwise, because of what I said..Very immature. No the TM wasn't climbing on anything. He was saying he thinks the TM is "all over the place" like a monkey. He didn't make the comment to the team member, he was overheard. Apparently it was taken negatively, but I don't think it's racist. What is "white privilege"?
 

commiecorvus

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She said that she does not want to speak to me personally, professionally, or otherwise, because of what I said..Very immature. No the TM wasn't climbing on anything. He was saying he thinks the TM is "all over the place" like a monkey. He didn't make the comment to the team member, he was overheard. Apparently it was taken negatively, but I don't think it's racist. What is "white privilege"?

It's when YOU can tell people racism is all in THEIR head.
Hard to explain if you haven't been paying attention in history class.
Here's some examples.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/michaelblackmon/17-harrowing-examples-of-white-privilege-9hu9

 
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White privilege is the belief that white people get preferential treatment over people of color, whether it's actual or simply perceptual.
 
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I suggest that you stay out of it. If it doesn't involve you I would just not get involved. He said she said, you probably will hear all 10 of your stories from different perspectives from 10 different people, theres no way that we can determine what really went on, and what really should be done. If YOU witness something racist, then you have an obligation to report it, but you shouldn't get involved in hearsay.
 
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I'm not getting involved in that. I'm just insulted that she implied there's racial tension in the store. When I asked her for example, that's how the other situation came up. She also brought up a situation where she thought 2 GSAs were treated differently. GSA 1 (white) didn't understand the cash office and kept messing up so we trained someone else so she didn't have to do it anymore (she didn't get coached), GSA 2 (black) got coached for all her mistakes and eventually told she had to demote. GSA 1 was in role longer but she saw it as her being treated better than GSA 2. I don't think white people get preferential treatment. It could be unfair and coincidental, but doesn't mean it's racial.
 
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i would be pissed if i was coached on not saying hello in the morning but someone else didn't get coached for working off the clock. Can't say if that's racism or not but the way you have handled this situation is ridiculous.
 
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that situation you just posted looks racist to me.
You can't determine racism from hearsay. Plus in order to determine racism there would have to be a clear and consistent pattern of a minority group being treated adversely in order to be proven. OR there needs to be evidence that they've made racist remarks or slurs.


Also read closer, saw this involves ETLs... Texting off the clock is okay for ETLs since they are salaried, so depending what EXACTLY happened, it might not be that big of a deal.
 
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The problem is, in order for her to prove racism she has to show what is called *disparate treatment*. In other words, if she came in with a white TM and they both did not say hello but only the black TM was coached... that goes in the "paper trail of racism" file. But it is not enough.... you have to show a pattern of disparate treatment of people who are similarly situated. So, it can't be "white TM was not written up for being late" but "black TM has written up for pushing 40 carts at a time". It has to be the same (or very similar) situations and people of one race were treated differently than the others in the same situation.

On the hair comment... honestly, that is (at best) hostile work environment sexual harassment. It would honestly be easier to prove that than racism.... unless the TM who said it was stupid enough to say something like "I don't like your hair texture that you black people have"

Now, does this mean they are not racist? No, not at all... the problem is, though, in order to actually have someone with power (read: corporate or the courts) do anything about it, she needs way more than this to meet the burden of proof required.

The one, and only exception to having to get enough solid evidence, would be if the ETL in question was stupid enough to literally admit it. In other words, he says something like "Hey, I don't like black employees and I make my management decisions with that in mind and always make sure to treat white employee better". Then it is slam dunk on his ass regardless of how much evidence you have.
 
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White privilege is being able, as a white man, to walk into a store and not have to prove that you aren't up to no good.
If I see a white guy walk in wearing a hoodie and carrying a skateboard, I'm probably going to keep a close eye on him in Elec. Same thing with a black guy.

If I see a white guy walk in wearing a suit and nice shoes, I will probably think nothing of it. Same thing for a black man.

People don't need to be black or white to look sketchy.
 

commiecorvus

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You might also want to think back to what she was trying to say before you got hyper defensive on her.
Was she trying to tell you that there was racial tension?
If that's the case, it doesn't matter if she can prove racism per se, it means the store has issues that need to be addressed probably at the district level.
She was giving you examples (that you laughed off) to prove that people had a right to feel uncomfortable.

It's important that you realize that you don't get to judge what is going to make people uncomfortable.
You handled it badly by judging her.
The work environment needs to be cleared up.
It's not your job but it's going to be someones.
 
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@commiecorvus

I think he has a right to say what he thinks. If he doesn't think there is a problem, he shouldn't have to keep quiet about it -- the other ETL brought him into it. Hes well in his right to laugh it off (if he truly thinks the accusations are ridiculous) considering he didn't go out of his way to get into the conversation in the first place, and the other ETL should have brought it to ETL-Hr/HRBP instead.

I agree that there is some underlying issues that will need to be dealt with, hopefully the OP doesn't get involved any more. The other ETL should address their concerns to HRBP or DTL.
 
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@stateoftarget11 she thinks the 2 GSAs were similarly situated (see above post). I'm scared I'm going to get in trouble for what I said to her, if she reports it. I thought free speech allowed me to tell her what I thought about her discrimination remarks. Now she has requested that I don't talk to her at all. We work together. She's being too sensitive If you ask me.
 
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