And so then she said, “I've decided, I pretty much never want to work for somebody that is Asian again. I'm done.”
And you were surprised. You liked her, your fun co-worker, but you did not like to hear her say things that hurt your skin. She had lowered her voice, as if she knew it maybe was not an ok thing to voice aloud to someone that is not your mother or your twin, but she still jutted her chin stubbornly and kept her arms crossed in a defensive stance. And you said, “Come on. You can't really believe that, or say that. Everyone is different, and you never know who your next boss will be or how they will handle things.”
“No. I know. I do not want to work with Asian bosses.”
So you looked at her compassionately, hoping she would feel the compassion and soften her arms and her heart. You did not want to argue, but you also could not stand generalizations, or bigotry, or racism. Now did not seem like the time for a fight. So you said, “Listen, let's not argue,” and you gave her a half smile, and went back to your novel.
And then later that day, while you were eating your lunch, you heard her say it again, this time with a little more unction and with a wider audience. And then. And then your other co-worker, the one who has a chip on her shoulder that always hits you when you walk by, the one who brags about her attitude problem and whose youth is glaringly bright alongside your older years-your co-worker heard those words and she immediately stood up. “You can't say things like that. It is wrong. That is wrong. You cannot be serious.” And while her words mirrored your own, her aggressive stance gave them more weight which produced more impact. Or maybe it was the two attacks combined that broke through.
It is hard to say, but it does not matter. She stopped making her proclamations and you found yourself looking at your younger co-worker in a different light. You are used to being disappointed in people, so it is always a warm surprise when someone blows your mind with genuine conviction.