{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "So, I am a white woman immigrant from Middle Asia (former USSR). I am blond with grey eyes and olive skin…\nI’ve only been living in the states for 7 years, and I speak with accent. Today my colleague accused me of not being nice enough. I apologized and said that a) As a feminist I don’t find it important to be nice and B) honestly I had no idea how to be nice in the States as I wasn’t a native speaker. She told me I was using my immigrant card as a crutch. I should be offended, right?", "post_id": "6193fcae0ff002002e3374cb", "reply_count": 29, "vote_count": 8, "bowl_id": "5682e6afd55b9e0f00fce669", "bowl_name": "Human Resources", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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So, I am a white woman immigrant from Middle Asia (former USSR). I am blond with grey eyes and olive skin…
I’ve only been living in the states for 7 years, and I speak with accent. Today my colleague accused me of not being nice enough. I apologized and said that a) As a feminist I don’t find it important to be nice and B) honestly I had no idea how to be nice in the States as I wasn’t a native speaker. She told me I was using my immigrant card as a crutch. I should be offended, right?

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Nice enough is a relative term. One thing we know is that each of us communicates differently based on our life experience and what she might be interpreting as rude, for you might be neutral. I would ask for perspectives and then decide if I was not being kind

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As a feminist you dont feel it is important to be nice? You do not have to be nice all the time but it is generally expected for you to have a positive attitude while at work. Depends on what your definition of nice is i suppose, like someone else said you and this other person may be interpreting that in 2 different ways. Have an honest discussiom with them and come to a mutual understanding.

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I don’t know how relevant gender and citizenship status are correlated with being nice, but don’t ever get offended if you’re a VP of HR. You can get even.

I’m more confused about the “as a feminist I don’t find it important to be nice” comment…. Are those co-dependant ideologies? I think being “nice” (and yes to others’ points in the comment section, depending on exact definition), is more a common courtesy as a human being (regardless of gender, ethnicity etc).

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Yes I just saw your responses - understood! Yah saying as not having to be “nice” threw me off (matter of relative definition so totally understand there are differences and subjectivities here), but yes - if referring to having to be nice as in, accommodating or less direct etc, then I understand where you are coming from that it’s not necessarily inherent to everyone’s upbringing or approach or preference for that matter

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Her comment was unusual and so was your reply. Why not respond with, “I wasn’t aware of that. Can you give me some examples of times I came across as unkind and how I could have done things differently?” As a fellow feminist, I think I understand what you were saying with that part of your remark, but I disagree that it’s unimportant to be nice, particularly at work… at least if your definition of nice is “pleasant and professional.”

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Thanks for support! Being honest I also never understand the borderline between being nice and being passive-aggressive, so I skip both altogether

Ask her to describe what “being nice “ is and give examples of what SHE thinks you could say in the future that would make her feel that you are nice. We are from different cultures and have different perspectives. I think by coming from this approach it will be difficult for her to say you are being dismissive of her feelings while at the same time making her articulate verbally her perspective so you both gain clarity…Sometimes after we say things allowed we pívot and modify our approach. It’s inappropriate to expect everyone to assimilate and adopt American culture….

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I think nice is a term most women have used as a substitute for submissive. It would be useful for all on what her expectations of "nice" are; I'm from the deep South of the USA, niceties are different than other states and I'm aware of that so I don't try to make people be "nicer" but I do call out people for being unprofessional. There's a difference.

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I 100% agree. I believe that if you provide an opinion, you should be able to back it up with facts and data. You can’t intimidate people into accepting whatever you have to say.

Yes, I agree that is an ignorant and racist response from that coworker, but I would be careful about stating that “as a feminist I don’t find it important to be nice.” It is possible that I do not understand what you meant by that, but being kind to all coworkers even if they are being disrespectful is important. You can politely exit that conversation.

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I didn’t have much space in the post size to give details, sorry! She was referring to me not talking nicely, and being direct

It's not what you say it is HOW you say it

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You know, it's tough for any immigrant to figure out “how” because a lot of cultural contexts goes into this one. Exactly because of it tech company's adopt a culture of radical candor. At least there is a set of rules to decipher what was said.

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My military experience has shown me that Americans don’t generally understand the personality traits and mannerisms of people from Eastern Europe/Russia. Mainly because you tend to speak your mind bluntly, as you did with this encounter. I feel like it’s a culture barrier more than anything. You be you unless being you is getting you in trouble :)

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I’m actually from Kyrgyzstan.
I’ve worked in a number of multinational organizations, and most people who are not native speakers speak English bluntly, because they are simply trying to make sure everybody understands them, and they don’t feel undertones of the language. Being candid at work is my choice, I’m a big fan of Google Radical Candor philosophy. But I am also compassionate, and I never deliver direct feedback when I’m not asked to deliver it.

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If you want to succeed in the country that you take up residency then it's very helpful to behave with the cultural norms of friendliness and niceness and politeness there which will help you move forward. As an independent woman you don't have to do any of these things but it's usually more pleasant for your coworkers and will help you.

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First of all, this comment is xenophobic, and culturally insensitive.
Second, as a person who lived in 3 countries I can guarantee you that this is not possible.
And US is the most complicated country, norms of niceness and politeness are drastically different between East, West, and South, black, white and LatinX communities, men and women, and there are no guidebooks of how to be polite in America.

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Sound like she or he might not be wrong. In the states we do try to promote a nice/ friendly work environment to boost moral at work. Building relationships with coworkers and colleagues is important to your overall growth and getting ahead in the States. I don't think being a feminist means you do or can't have a nice demeanor about yourself bc Men are also expected to have nice working personalities also.

I posted clarification, that she was talking about me not “talking nicely”.
And honestly, I’ve been working in Italy, UK, France, Brazil and Singapore, and the typical friendliness of US work environment would be at the bottom of my ranking. US corporate environment is way more cut-throat and treadmill-type than anywhere else, as people have pretty much zero protection, so they are experience much more stress and burnout and it doesn’t really leave much time for building meaningful relationship at work.

Mandatory severance, mandatory vacation time, mandatory termination procedures, state sponsored childcare and universal healthcare make workplace friendly, not a nice talk.

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