Monday, February 23, 2009

WorkPlace 101: Political Correctness On The Job.

As you guys know, my workplace is full of accidental drama. I say accidental because there are only a handful of folks who work on my sprawling floor on a daily basis, given the nature of our client-facing work. Still, in such a large building, near a Metro stop, with lots of foot traffic outdoors and marginal security, sh*t is bound to get missing from time to time. If you've followed this feature in the past, you know this to be a regular occurrence.

Anyways, there was an incident yesterday, and since I know this stuff is semi-confidential, I'm taking the build management's alert and cleaning it up. The last thing I need to do is get canned over some ole' BS like this.
Notice to Tenants………..Please share with all employees !

We had an incident yesterday in one of our properties, where a young man in a “hoodie” entered a couple of suites where the receptionist(s) had stepped away from their desk. He was seen “wandering” through the suites until noticed and gave excuses such as “looking for a job” or “I’m here for an interview – I must have the wrong suite”.

The police were notified, but the young man was not apprehended.
The email goes on to detail further steps all employees could make to prevent such an incident happening in the future, but omits one very crucial element: a description of the young man beyond his apparel.

All this strikes me as an example of when political correctness goes awry. Sure, it's great to alert folks that they need to pull their suite doors behind them and take their gym bags home at night, but what's otherwise the point? We are given no real physical description of the suspect, although he was clearly seen by more than one person. Beyond the likely stoopid Soulja Boy hoodie, what else do we need to know about this nimrod to ensure he doesn't show up for another "interview" and end up cleaning out my Washington Wizards bobblehead collection in the process?

Personally, I know I've been extra Tresvanty about such stuff in the past, but it wouldn't have hurt to supply a physical description. If it's one of them "skater" white dudes like I typically see out here in the burbs, that's nice to know. If the guy was black, why not say so? Would anyone really be offended? How else are we supposed to use this info for future reference?

[Editor's Note To Self: Quit wearing hoodies to work.]

If my bobbleheads come up missin', I'm squeezin' first and askin' questions last!!![1]

[Editor's Note To Self: Take the Wizards bobblehead collection home.]

I understand white folks are loathe to say certain things for fear of being branded racist, but sometimes a description is essential, otherwise you're just wasting time and further confusing people.

I know one thing, I see a Soulja Boy lookin' kid in the lobby, I'm dialing 911!

Question: Should the building management have identified the race of the suspect? Is this an example of political correctness gone wrong, or would providing a description have likely lead to unnecessary racial profiling? Got any notable examples of workplace political correctness gone wrong?

[1] Yeah, I know, unnecessary and unintentionally comical tough guy talk.

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