The CFO of my company came to my office and stated that there were too many black people in my department. They are all qualified employees. How do I respond to this racist statement?

Posted  12-08-2010

Ann Kiernan replies:

A senior executive who has such a racist attitude should be reported immediately to your HR Director or your legal counsel. His remark should be grounds for serious discipline, if not dismissal.

It sounds as if you were so shocked that you did not say anything at the time. This is perfectly understandable, but if something like this ever happens again you could stare at the person and say something like: “Wow. That’s offensive,” or, “I’m so surprised to hear that from you. I thought better of you,” or, “I have a terrific staff. Why did you say that?”

The insidious thing about comments like the CFO’s is, each time we let them go, the person saying them feels validated. Silence is as good as permission.

Thank you for standing up against racism.


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