A question for my readers????

I know, I know.  I did the math wrong on Stonewall.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  I knew it was 40 years, but on two different occasions wrote that it was 30 years.  Hmmm.  Maybe I’m getting old.

Speaking of gay pride.

The word “FAGGOT.”

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been in a snit over the use of the word.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like it when gay people use it.  I especially don’t like it when straight people use is.  Unfortunately the word gets tossed around a lot at work.  Tonight I counted four different occurrences including being called a fag by a fellow waiter who thought she was being cute.  There’s a hispanic worker who calls me a “maricon” every time he get annoyed with me.  I hear things like “don’t be a fag.”

For the past couple of weeks I’ve really been calling people on it.  Tonight when John used it I explained, once again, that the word was offensive.   There is no other way around it.  If I were black there isn’t a single person in the restaurant that would say to me “don’t be a nigger.”  It wouldn’t happen.  What I don’t understand is why people assume it’s okay to call me a fag. 

I don’t like it.

So my question to you guys is:  What do I do to make them stop?  Do I go to management and have them do something?  Do I just realize that if I had a sense of humor it wouldn’t be an issue?  Do I just take back the night and start using the word as well?  I’m kind of in a quandary.  Clearly it’s bothering me or I wouldn’t be writing about it here.  I’m tempted to go to management and have them say something but I’m about 90% sure everyone will know who’s said something.  

Before you say it’s inappropriate, I agree.  But in a wait station in a restaurant there is a lot said and done that is not appropriate.  There are sex jokes, innuendoes, lots and lots of inappropriate conversations.  I do have to admit that for the last couple of months I’ve gone out of my way not to engage in these activities.  

What would you do in this situation?

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6 thoughts on “A question for my readers????

  1. Rick June 30, 2009 / 05:05

    Before going to management, I would confront the culprit(s) one on one. You need to politely bring them aside and tell them it offends you when you hear those words. You said you’ve been “calling people on it” — not sure what that means. Again, a one on one approach is best. My gut tells me they think it’s funny and they mean no harm by it; that somehow it may be a way to bound with you. Regardless, if it offends they need to know.

  2. catrina June 30, 2009 / 12:01

    I agree with Rick. Try to handle this one-on-one (and calmly, too, of course). It IS offensive, no matter who says it. I work with someone who’s always saying ‘that’s so gay.’ I asked her what the hell she meant, and she said, ‘you know—weird.’ Then I asked her why she didn’t just use the word ‘weird.’ Educate your co-workers, and if that doesn’t work, mow ’em down! Oops, sorry—I was fantasizing a bit.

  3. Peter June 30, 2009 / 12:33

    J, I agree with Rick and Catrina, handle it calmy and if that doesn’t work ask that person what word he/she finds offensive to be called. Sometimes that does the trick.

  4. javabear June 30, 2009 / 14:45

    I’m not in the situation, so I don’t know what I’d do. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a few thoughts to share. (of course)
    -I wouldn’t go to management. I doubt there is anything they could do about it, and it might make me look like a whiner.
    -I wouldn’t make a big deal out of it in front of others. I’d try not to let them see how much it bothers me, because some sad suckers love making other people squirm. It’s sick, but it happens.
    -As previously suggested, I’d privately, calmly mention to the culprits that it’s offensive when they say it, but probably only once. If I keep bringing it to their attention, that brings my feelings to their attention in a negative way.
    -It’s a bigger problem that extends far beyond the bounds of your wait station and your restaurant. That term (like the term “that’s so gay”) is being used by lots of people in almost every context. To really fix the problem, we have to make it socially unacceptable to say anywhere, just like what happened to the word “n!gger.”
    -Take a little dose of “get over yourself.” I don’t say that to be snarky, either. It is a problem, but the problem is so pervasive that what you by yourself say about it makes very little difference. At this point your choices are to try to ignore it or make a big fuss. No matter what you choose to do in your corner of the world, people will still use the word offensively. It takes less energy to shrug it off than to get upset. It’s better for your blood pressure, too.

  5. Sarah July 1, 2009 / 10:45

    I think it makes sense to take some time and explain to individuals what hearing the word does to you, what childhood and teenage hurts it brings up.

    If that doesn’t work, try Peter’s suggestion and find an equally offensive word to describe their race, religion and ethnicity. Ask if they are comfortable with you calling them that on a regular basis.

    I have to disagree with Java on one point: If you discover someone is using the word to intentionally make you squirm, talk to management about it.

  6. Urspo July 2, 2009 / 00:22

    What a question
    First , limits and structure with these folks; point out in a firm way you don’t like this and please stop. Keep reminding with any slips. Point out they would not like to be called (fill in what derogatory word is apt here)
    If it persists, then move higher up.

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