"I was just joking."
This is the defense I hear most of the time whenever I call out someone for saying something sexist or racist. For some reason, that person thinks what they said is ok because they were "joking". I don't understand why they think this is ok.
Are rape jokes ok? No. Then why is it ok to joke about racism or sexism? (By the way, some of my co-workers think rape jokes are ok.)
Some of my co-workers describe their boss (who is male) using female pronouns. They think it's hilarious. But why? I feel like they're trying to insult him by pretending he's a woman. What the hell? Why is this funny?
What's a good reply to "I was just joking." Maybe I should say "Fuck you. Just kidding." Maybe that would get the point across. Probably not.
When I call someone out on saying something racist or sexist, they mockingly say they won't say anything like that around me again, completely missing the point. The point is that it's inappropriate to say those things at work at all. I don't care what you do at home or with your friends, but a whole bunch of diverse people have to work here and they shouldn't have to keep telling you to shut up. (They don't, but that's another point.)
They think I'm a prude and I don't like physical contact or dirty jokes. I do, just not at work. Why don't they understand this?
I hope one day to work in a place where I don't have to wince when somebody walks behind me.
I know they hate me because I call them out on their behavior. I didn't used to do it. I used to be a weaker person who didn't stand up for anyone else, let alone myself. I let people walk all over me and I never said anything. More than anything, I don't want to be that person again. Calling people out like I do also stops predators.
What predators do is start with a little comment to see how you'll react. If you don't say anything, they'll push the boundary a little further. Then a little further, every action or comment getting more severe until you finally say something. It's at that point when they'll pretend they were joking. Or they'll get angry and the situation will escalate.
Somebody out there please help me understand.