The current movie, “The Dilemma” has caused quite a controversy lately because the character portrayed by actor Vince Vaughn says, “Electric cars are gay.”
There are two sides to the controversy over this line in the film: one side says it supports discrimination against gay people while the other side claims gays are too sensitive.
In Campbellford, Ontario over this past weekend, members of the Royal Canadian Legion there expressed anger and disgust when a partygoer dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member and led around a man in blackface. The two were later awarded a prize for best costume.
Online comments about this incident range from, “lighten up—it’s Halloween” to “these racists should have been kicked out of the Legion.”
I laughed at one particular online comment: “It was Halloween for crying out loud. Who is going to get offended next? Miss PIGGY???
I saw some incredible costumes displayed this Halloween season. Now I’m wondering… Should people with a mental illness be offended when someone dresses up as a serial killer? Is a man who dresses as a woman for Halloween being disrespectful to women or to transvestites?
Too politically correct?
Where do we draw the line? Have we become too politically correct, or are we honestly struggling to create a sensitive and respectful society?
Managers and business owners are legally responsible for creating a safe and respectful work environment. Do you know where to draw the line?
- Are you stifling the right to self-expression in the name of human rights?
- Do your personal values and biases affect your professional judgment?
Ask yourself the following challenging questions:
- Do you “celebrate” Halloween and other holidays in your workplace? Why or why not?
- Do you have guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable costumes/practices?
- How would you react if an employee showed up in a Ku Klux Klan costume?
Respect for human rights does not necessarily mean creating a list of prohibited activities.
Respect for human rights means having an ongoing dialogue about what respect means to the people that work in your environment.
Learn don’t Litigate
Have important discussions with your employees BEFORE someone feels disrespected enough to file a human rights complaint.