Should I have been more assertive at work today? Something bothers me about the situation from this morning. There is this woman who works in the same office space as me but for a different manager. She is loudly and proudly conservative about politics and social issues (which is funny since she had three husbands and two kids already) —she considers current Polish far-right government as not conservative enough, she is homophobic, xenophobic and anti-Semitic. There are three colleagues of her in the same space, and they usually agree with her, but it is her that always starts those topics. She has a higher position in our corporation than me and works for a different boss, so I don’t know if I can react the way I would want to confront her and her views. I kept quiet when she spoke like that, and usually she catches herself quickly — stopping any controversial topics that should not be discussed in the work place and adding — “I am sorry if I offended anyone, I’ll keep quiet now”. Today she started on Covid-19 vaccinations, she is obviously anti-vax, saying how horrible people who refuse vaccination are treated. That they will be second class citizens soon, that they are discriminated against, that they have to fight back against this “apartheid”.
When she said that and compared anti-vaxxers to people who suffered under apartheid (be it in South Africa or Israel) I couldn’t believe it. I was so speechless that when I came to and wanted to respond, the topic was already changed…. I thought for a while if I should say anything, to go back to this topic and explain to her that comparing a choice that anti-vaxxers make (to be stupid and potential burden to the rest of the society) to institutionalized oppression based on a race and/or skin color (that lead to loss of liberty and life for so many) is mind-boggling wrong and stupid. I wanted to call her and her views idiotic, but in the end I stopped myself. I don’t want any drama at work, so as always I was passive and quiet when any controversial topic comes up. And now it bothers me — that lack of reaction and assertiveness from me. Even to say that those kinds of topics should not be discussed at work. To say anything….
I didn’t, and now I feel bad about it. Like I am not really a good person. A good person would have said something, would have reacted in some way. I feel like I failed my morals and ethics — I know what is in my head, what I believe in, but I am not ready to publicly defend it.
I need to find an answer — WHY?