Racism at my job

  1. I don't know how to feel about this. So here goes the story. Our department is small and made up of 6 people (4 ex-pats and 2 Americans). Our industry is facing competition from Chinese imports and I was ordered to find information on this so we could possibly file a case. I asked a Chinese guy in the department if he had any information that people within our company had sent him regarding this issue because he has been working here for 3 years while I've only been here 6 months. The coworker who handed me the project (an expat from Latin America) overheard me and pulled me aside into a small conference room. He said not to let the Chinese guy know anything about projects or research we do regarding China because the other guy is a Chinese citizen and we don't know where his loyalties lie. He then went on to say that he could be a Chinese spy for all we knew. He was very serious about this. This really disturbed me. I'm not sure how to handle this. Should I let this go or let the boss know? I think the boss might be in on this too because they are very good buddies.
  2. Not sure if the guy is racist or just an idiot (or both?). How does he think he can work productively alongside a colleague whom he thinks could be a spy?!

    Since he asked you to do the assignment, I'd get his thoughts on how he expects you to complete it, since he didn't agree with your (very rational) approach of talking to a colleague who has historical knowledge. Depending on what he says, I'd take it up the chain.
  3. Since you mention that the boss is this guy's friend, can you go to someone higher up?
  4. that's so sad. =( Imagine people thinking like that even today. :wtf:
  5. Is the guy talking about industrial esponage? Is that at all possible in your industry? Otherwise, I can't imagine where the guy is coming from.
  6. This type of thing makes me so mad.......... can relate.
    do what is moral and what sits right with you.....
  7. It can't possibly be industrial espionage. We work in a market research department and study market indicators. Now that I think about it, the Chinese guy is not really in charge of much except for forecasting. I really like this job and don't know if I should just let it go. I don't want to cause problems because the guy who told me this is the most experienced out of all of us and the department would collapse without him.
  8. I don't think he was trying to be a racist..I think he's just clueless and thinking he's a spy of sorts when in reality what are the chances?? Very slim if you ask me..he needs to stop watching action flicks. :rolleyes: I'd tell my boss about it though.
  9. Sounds like somebody is taking his job way too seriously if he thinks that just because the coworker is Chinese, he could be a spy.
    I almost don't think his ignorant comment is worthy of your wasting your energy. I would chalk it up to his stupidity & continue on with your assignment.
  10. Wow! I hope that Chinese guy doesn't feel singled out. I know how that feels (I'm an Asian woman). Is it possible for you to go to HR?
  11. I don't think the Chinese guy knows about this either. I'm not sure if I should take it to HR. I don't want any retaliation since I am the newest member in the department. As an Asian woman, I feel that I have an obligation to do something, but at the same time I don't want to risk my career.
  12. That's a tough situation... Of course it's all about ethics and morals. Do you think if you brought it up to your HR team that they would side with you?

    Could you possibly talk to your co-worker and let him know that as an Asian women you feel uncomfortable?
  13. Without knowing the background and personality of that Chinese guy, I don't know what to say. But I can see where your coworker is coming from.

    There are several people from China working in my company. Earlier when there was this whole Chinese product recalls going on and everybody was talking about it, those people seemed to be a little defensive. One of them actually got pissed off. So my impression on Chinese people is that they are pretty proud of where they came from and are very sensitive to bad news related to Chinese people. As a matter of fact, there were several Western movies being banned by the Chinese government because they were posing bad reputation on them.

    I once went through some Chinese forums. They said they felt so proud of their country because all the made-in-China goods sold in the US, everywhere...

    So, come back to your case - maybe your Chinese co-worker has been giving a pro-Chinese reputation to all other people in the office and making others feeling uncomfortable. Since you're new, you're probably not aware of this. If this is true, from a company's perspective, why would I want to hand out a project to a person who has conflicts with the company's interests? Do you really trust a pro-Chinese guy to give un-biased judgments on Chinese competitions? Not me.

    If I were you, I would just sit back and observe. If he wants to live and pay taxes in this country but gets offended when talking about lead paints, I don't think this situation is racism. Saying that he's a spy is a little extreme though, but of course I don't know what this Latino has gone through with the Chinese.

    And of course if none of the above fits him, then he should have a fair chance to get the project if he qualifies for it.
  14. Hmmm...

    Would the person pulling you aside ever think to say, "Oh don't tell any men about what we're doing because they could be spies!" Or "Don't tell Buddhists what we're doing because they could tell on us!" That would be ridiculous and plain silly.

    I think if there's information that you really could use from your Chinese colleague that you don't think you can get or get effectively elsewhere, sit your Conspiracy Theorist down and tell him that his suspicions are hindering your work, and ask if that's a cost he's willing to write off, in order to thwart this possible industry espionage. If he elaborates and says yes, exclude him, ask him if you should take that as a blanket statement to exclude all Chinese. If he says yes, then yes, that's unfair practice.

    I also wonder if your Chinese colleague's work is effected or stymied due to this order of exclusion from your superior. If his work is directly affected, you should think about sharing this bias with someone -- maybe the coworker, maybe HR.

    In the meantime, I wouldn't rock the boat at HR unless you've had another talk with this superior and confirm his intentions. Something that could be considered a one-time trespass or an offhanded remark won't be taken too seriously at HR, but will make your day to day very awkward.
  15. nevermind