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Am I a White Supremacist for Discussing Politics?

If you haven’t read the work of Penelope Trunk, you definitely should check out her blog. She now even has a column on Yahoo! Finance.

While politics doesn’t come up much on Legal Andrew, I felt compelled to respond to something Penelope wrote today. She posted that we shouldn’t discuss politics at work because it can be racist. In today’s politically correct world, Penelope’s probably right. Even saying that I don’t support an increased minimum wage might offend someone, possibly for an unforeseen racial reason.

Liberty Bell

But should we be silent?

Just yesterday, some friends and I were discussing that democracy relies on discussion. We need information to make decisions about our government, elections, etc.

Sitting here at Thomas Jefferson’s university, I wonder what ol’ T.J. would think about being silent on politics. Would our country exist if people held their views in, for fear of offending someone? Would we have even declared independence from Britain? I’m sure the Declaration offended a whole bunch of people, but I’m glad the Founders stood up to be counted.

Discuss politely

With that said, there is a time and place for everything. I’m not saying that we should discuss politics any time of the day, especially during the middle of work. However, is it bad to discuss something during lunch? What about a coffee break?

In the proper time, discussing politics at work (or just with coworkers) shouldn’t be offensive. But be sure to tackle sensitive matters in a polite way. Respect differing viewpoints and especially ethnic or cultural backgrounds.

Let’s talk!

Now that I’ve spouted my thoughts, I’d love to hear what you think. Am I being crazy? Do you discuss politics at work? Do you completely stray from it?

Please post a comment or drop me a line.

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6 Responses to “Am I a White Supremacist for Discussing Politics?”

  1. Nick Kasoff
    February 13th, 2007

    I discuss politics with everyone. Of course, I’m a former talk show host, and now a freelance consultant. So I have quite a bit more pent up hot air, and quite a bit more liberty, than your average employee.

    Having said this – I completely agree with you. Civilized political discussion is as American as apple pie. Unfortunately, there are some who would rather label and smear those with whom they disagree, than engage in a reasonable conversation. It is they who should be muted, not us.

  2. Andrew Flusche
    February 13th, 2007


    I really think you sum it up well with your comment about “civilized political discussion [being] as American as apple pie.” Very nice!

    Thanks a ton for your comment. I like your “Thug Report” site. It looks like you gather some great content there.

    Take care,

  3. Penelope Trunk
    February 17th, 2007

    Hi, Andrew. Thanks for linking to Brazen Careerist. I know what you guys are saying. I mean, we can’t have a democracy if there is not discussion of politics. So we definitely need that.

    But I think the point is that we have 100s of places in the world to talk about politics, and 100s of topics to talk about at work, so we should avoid politics since it makes some people uncomfortable at work. It’s just common decency to not want to offend someone at work if you don’t have to. People do better work under those conditions.

    Another way to think about it: Blow jobs are as American as apple pie, too. But I bet you are not grandstanding about how important it is to talk about them at work.


  4. Andrew Flusche
    February 17th, 2007


    Thanks for stopping by to comment. I definitely see your point, and I agree that there is a time and place for everything. However, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on the proper place for political discussion.

    I think your analogy to sex acts is a bit off-base. You’re right that talking about private sexual conduct can be very offensive to people. We definitely wouldn’t talk about things like that at work (or at least, we shouldn’t). However, politics is inherently public. It’s about deciding how we should govern our joint affairs.

    I guess the real irony is that today sex is a more accepted topic in many circles than politics. To each his own, I suppose.

    Take care,

  5. Nick Kasoff - The Thug Report
    February 18th, 2007

    An attractive woman says “blow jobs are as American as apple pie” … I think somebody’s mailbox is going to be quite full for a while! Seriously, though … discussing sex acts at work is commonly regarded as creating a sexually hostile environment, so that analogy is more than “a bit off-base.” Personally, I’d rather hear somebody talking about politics than be solicited by my boss for the United Way, which the big companies around here do every year.

  6. AzGun
    November 11th, 2007

    Oh! It is very great and really useful post for me, thanks!

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