Dear Annie: My 29-year-old daughter works at a large multinational corporation.
On numerous occasions and in different divisions of the corporation, she has heard anti-Jewish comments. In fact, at one event, she was so upset by what was being said at a group dinner that she had to leave the table for fear she would cry.
For whatever reason, she chooses to remain silent when these remarks are made. We are Jewish, and her grandparents were Holocaust survivours. I have told her she needs to speak up, but she doesn’t want to make waves.
It pains me to know that my daughter is working in an environment where the employees have no qualms about displaying their bigotry, and that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the U.S.A. I am also upset that she lets these opinions go without challenging them or, at a minimum, telling the bigot that she is Jewish and such statements are inappropriate in the workplace.
Any suggestions as to what I could say to my daughter to convince her that it is her duty to confront the bigotry head on? — Dismayed in the Boston Area
Dear Boston: While we understand your daughter’s reluctance, it is incumbent upon everyone to speak up when they witness bigotry of any kind. We contacted David Kurzmann, assistant director of the Anti-Defamation League in Greater Chicago and the Upper Midwest. He said the law protects workers against religion-based harassment, intimidation and repeated insult, especially where it harms the employee’s employment, position or compensation.
Most large companies have complaint processes (usually through HR, an ombuds office or an ethics line). They will often take the complaint seriously, investigate the situation and take action to change the environment. Your daughter may also have legal claims against the company and may wish to talk to an employment lawyer. Organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (adl.org) and Workplace Fairness (workplacefairness.org) may be able to offer further advice on how to proceed.
Dear Annie: Please do a huge favour for those of us with hearing problems and ask the people who sponsor or produce TV programs to reduce or eliminate the loud music. It is so bad that I can’t understand what the actors are saying.
If it were not for closed captioning, I wouldn’t bother to watch any of the programs. Even friends without hearing problems have a hard time understanding the dialogue.
I also mute most commercials because the noise hurts my ears. The music is incredibly annoying. — Kuttawa, Ky.
Dear Kuttawa: There is no question that the music and background noise in TV programs and advertising are louder than they used to be. And certainly louder than necessary. Producers respond to the bottom line. Let them know you will not watch any show in which the background noise drowns out the dialogue.
And inform sponsors that you will not purchase their products if the commercials are blaring. Money talks.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.