use social psychology theory to explain what would lead someone to confront the person who made the offensive comment or joke, when doing so may likely make them the target of the joke teller’s retaliation.
When reflecting on this discussion prompt, the first memory that came to mind was during my service as an active duty law enforcement member in the Air Force. During a work day, I was working on the security flight line with my other shift members and one of them, being a cisgender heterosexual Caucasian male, referred to my skin as being of similar color to dirty mop water. This comment was also made in front of my other Black coworkers as well. While this individual claimed that it was just a joke, me and the other Black coworkers present took this with extreme offense. Not only was the joke racist, disrespectful, and unprofessional, but it made me question the level of hidden biases and prejudices that he may carry toward BIPOC people. Aronson and colleagues (2019) teach us that people learn to hide their prejudices in situations where they may be labeled as racist, sexist, misogynistic, etc. My other offended coworkers did not want to raise it as a matter of concern, but I chose to speak up because that was completely racist to say especially in a work setting. Additionally, I did not feel safe serving next to an individual who may perceive me as inferior to him simply because of my skin color. While I voiced my concern to shift supervisors, the matter was quickly dismissed with no action or repercussion. By dismissing the matter with no action or repercussion, it further perpetuated the self-fulfilling prophecy that we as minority active duty members had, which was that we were allowed to be racially assaulted and discriminated against with no protection from supervisors and our unit leadership. Now that I am a veteran, I work with BIPOC active duty members and veterans that struggle with these situations in the workplace. I also advocate for them by providing racial bias training and a safe space in their individual sessions.