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My office says they respect diversity, but my manager made a joke or two about me being Asian. Am I being too sensitive?

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Context is important, but ultimately if it bothered you enough to post here, you should probably address it. Just remember, there is no such thing as a "pure" workplace, so being offended by everything is also not the right play (and probably just means you need to get out). Pick what matters to you the most and establish boundaries early. I'm rarely offended. I laugh with the group when it's clear I'm embodying certain cultural stereotypes and I'm being called on it. I never find it harmful or toxic - we all need to be able to laugh at ourselves. If it turns to exclusionary behavior, I take a very different view.

likehelpfulfunny

I think the mere fact that you're posting it on here means it's impacted you. I have found the best way to handle this type of situation is right in the moment. Call it for what it is but in a casual unbothered way. "yeah, that stereotype is wild right?" "Oh wow, yeah it's crazy how ppl think/say that about Asian people" It's a direct way of making them rethink how they not only speak to you but how they approach those kinds of jokes in the future. The reality is we're at work. It's clear it bothered you otherwise you wouldn't be ruminating on Fishbowl. So folks asking what was specifically said or discussing the manager's intent is meaningless.

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I'm from a minority (Latino) and I think most jokes are fine! People have gotten waaaay too sensitive. IMO, most stereotype jokes are like caricatures, but instead of highlighting distinctive physical attributes, they highlight distinctive funny human behaviors. Sure, you can see a little bit of yourself in them, but you know they are not a true representation of reality. Obviously, there are offensive jokes that cross the line, but most of them are only a problem if you let them get to you in a personal level. So, lighten up.

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Software engineer 3, You extrapolated a lot from that one statement. How is constantly guessing someone's intent (hard to really know unless you're a mind-reader) rather than assessing impact on you (something that's easier to figure out as it pertains to ...yourself) lead to grudges and therefore a miserable life? Assessing how something affects you and then decide how to act is how I would hope people strive to live their lives. It's called self awareness. Either way I think folks have given appropriate advice based on limited knowledge to either talk about it with manager, let it go, or look to work for another manager (if this is a pattern, things can add up). I hope OP realizes their feelings about the joke are as valid as any other feelings one may have.

IMO, no. I used to think jokes were just for fun. But I learned at work that they often harbor some beliefs that impact decision-making on people. And if they’re not openly joking about their superiors, definitely watch out.

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HR videos are useless. I learned from paying attention.

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I was in this situation before where I confronted my manager about his sexist comments. I thought I was doing the right thing but I got fired a few months later. Here’s what I wish I had done: 1. Document all instances where your manager did this. If there are witnesses, send them a slack and say “I can’t believe he said …” or, depending on the state you’re in, record convos with your manager. 2. Go straight to HR to leave another paper trail. If your company values diversity there should be a way to report these things. If you ever get fired you have more of a case for wrongful termination. 3. Change teams or leave the company when it is safe to do so - you deserve better treatment. It exists out there. PS: those asking what the jokes are or how serious the jokes are have made racist jokes themselves before.

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I agree, going to HR will not help. Their job is to protect the partners, not you. Also agree with PM1 that there’s no point confronting. If it becomes systematic and offends you, then start building your defenses

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No, you aren’t being “sensitive,” you’re being a responsible human who should correct your manager. “I know it’s in jest, but race and identity are sensitive topics…” or whatever you think you need or want to say.

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“Hey. It seems you don’t mean anything with the banter. But I was made fun of and put down a lot growing up because of my Asian heritage, so I’m a bit sensitive to it. I like a friendly tone around the office though, and think it’s important for the team. How can we continue doing that without race?” (delivered with an inquisitive - asking for help - tone of voice and body language)

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What kind of joke are we talking about? There's a long range of Asian jokes possible from mildly OK to wtf

likehelpful

Your manager is not your office. It’s possible to work for an amazing company with terrible team leadership. As for your question, it really depends. It’s hard to answer, “Am I being too sensitive,” without knowing the entire situation. I’m a minority as well. I try to frame the situation in terms of intentional aggression. Was it observational humor that happened to have a racial component or is this person making fun of my blackness at my expense? You can always talk to the other person. This usually works well if the other person isn’t meaning to be hurtful. Sometimes people get too comfortable without realizing a line has been crossed. Keep in mind that a direct approach can require decent emotional intelligence and tact. You can escalate the issue to someone above you as well. HR is also an option as well, but this is usually the nuclear option. HR isn’t there for you nor the other person. Disciplinary action (be it a minor write up or someone getting fired) will likely be taken. Edit: clarification

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The depends on the jk stuff is BS. A persons sensitivities should matter regardless. I might not be as offended as some folks, but that doesn’t mean their experience doesn’t matter. It’s shit like this that allows people to think it’s ok to bully Asians. As an Asian male, we’ve always been used as punching bags in American society, and quite literally in the past year. Watch any Coen bros movie (which I love) and you see there’s always one or two Asian jokes and probably not by coincidence. Not trying to victim blame but you’re in the right to speak up as someone who took offense to your managers joke. Otherwise it’ll keep happening. Rep your set!

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I think it depends on the joke. Having equal opportunities, feeling like you can communicate and share your ideas without prejudice, having your work respected by peers, those are crucial to succeeding in your career and certainly part of being inclusive. Friends and coworkers will sometimes make jokes, ideally light-hearted and hopefully funny to you as well. If you feel uncomfortable with the joke they made, whatever the reason might be, let your manager know that you don't find that funny.

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There are two concerns here. First, micro-racism. Yes, it exists, and yes, it should be handled. Micro-racism is how racist folks generally pretend to be diverse (Biggest cliche example: I have friends of color). Second, sensitivity. If you are feeling uncomfortable, you are never too sensitive.

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Nah. Seems that maybe human behavior and psychology is not your forte. And what’s funnier is rather than make a counter-argument with some basis, you’d rather insult. So guess I’ll fight fire with fire. Interesting person you are.

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You need more context on this post and share the joke....

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How many people on here can possibly be all three: 1. A manager of an Asian employee 2. At Lyft 3. Who has recently made questionable jokes to their Asian direct report And if the manager _is_ watching: Stop making racist jokes at work.

likesmart

What was the joke

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There's no such thing as "too sensitive" – feelings aren't correct or incorrect, they're not "your fault" for having them, and it's not "your fault" for feeling a certain way or another. That line of thinking just keeps us all paralyzed and permits abuses to continue. If you were Black, would you even be here asking this question? Nope. The fact that being Asian is somehow "jokeworthy" is beyond me. I'm tired of Asians being the only minority that is still "acceptable" to poke fun at. Bottom line: If it made you feel bad, it's worthy of bringing up as a point of discussion. Tactfully. Respectfully. I don't know your manager, and as my mother says, "ignorance can be cured, stupidity cannot." So if your manager is simply the former, you have some hope of enlightening them and making Lyft a better workplace for yourself and other Asians. But if you are bringing it here and feel that you require anonymity to even discuss it, it means that we aren't really at any point of workplace psychological safety where we can feel free to address concerns without having our selves, our careers, or professional growth threatened. What you do about it is up to you, because retaliation does exist, you know your workplace best, but it doesn't make joking about someone's race any less wrong or you "too sensitive" or some other BS defense that just exists to protect the aggressor.

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Don’t ever confront! He/she will say sorry and build a case against you on sth completely unrelated. You’ll regret it for the rest of your life. 21 century politics is not about man-to-man conversations

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Is the manager From a minority ?

funny

If it affected you to the point of asking this question, it is worth addressing with the jokester. Addressing doesn’t need to be formal- maybe just a “too soon” or “nah, not cool” or even a prolonged Rock-inspired eyebrow raise. Context is also interesting - was this done in front of a group? In small talk before a meeting agenda item? Finally is this someone with whom there has been enough relationship development over coffee, a meal, or a drink? Each of these steps, in my book, can change the situation a bit.

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If it’s a joke, it’s usually fine. When malicious acts happen, that’s when you should counter-attack

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You're not sensitive at all. It's a slimy tactic the majority employs to make you feel small and apologetic. Ask them to explain themselves and submit a complaint to HR. The workplace is for work, not for d-grade open mics.

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Micro aggressions are real and not acceptable in professional offices. If it bothers you, it bothers someone else too. There are great ways of shutting it down politely and publicly so that others can feel empowered to voice their discomfort in those situations.

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Shutting down someone publicly is the definition of dick behavior. If you expect someone to respect you, you need to offer them the same respect in kind and work it out in private. This is also a great way to give people a reason not to want to work with you.

No you are not

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