Ok. I work at a certain retail store. It's not important where. Most of my coworkers are late teens and early twenties. We had a meeting today to go over some things and clear the air (there's been lots of silly gossip.) One of the things that I brought up was that *people*- and I included myself because I have a filthy mouth (fuck, shit, that kind of thing) - need to watch what we say, that the store is mostly loud but does have sweet spots where customers can hear us. The specific example I used is how 'r-------' and 'g---' are thrown around. (Yeah, and I am SO not okay with that.)
The reaction was kind of lukewarm, as in general agreement that yes, we should watch what we say but we all know it's not meant to be anything bad, etc etc. I beg to differ. Those offensive examples I gave to everyone don't include the times I've heard a certain specific group of people referred to in a negative way- the most outlandish being "---- people smell bad." Or the times I've heard f--, NOT in reference to a British term for a cigarette and (thankfully) not in front of my homosexual coworker. I've noticed that there's some editing. When my xyz coworkers are not there, things are said about xyz people. When the pqr coworker is not there, things are said- "jokingly"- about pqr people. More than once something that has been tossed out in a sarcastic manner has left me absolutely speechless, jaw hanging open. I try to throw out a "I don't like that word," or "What do you mean?"
I don't know. I guess I need to vent in an anonymous way. Mostly I can't believe what people think it is okay to say in any context, let alone at work. And that the most effective way to stop it seems to be "oh, we don't want the customers to hear." Am I the only one who was taught not to do that? Whether or not anyone can hear you? Is it a generational thing? Is it a regional thing?
I don't know if I should/ should not have said anything. 1) I just want to collect a paycheck and keep my nose clean at work and be cool with all my coworkers. 2) Everyone pretty much knows where I stand on some things due to my standard "I don't like that word" response. Still, I kind of got the feeling of a sense of -we're-all-adults-and-we-can-say-what-we-want-and-people-shouldn't-be-so-sensitive. But when all the terms are put together, and especially when you hear what some people say when others are not there, it paints a really nasty picture.
I just think that what you say MATTERS.