The Finer Points of Harassment


  • a feeling of intense annoyance caused by being tormented; “so great was his harassment that he wanted to destroy his tormentors”
  • the act of tormenting by continued persistent attacks and criticism

My students and I were talking on our break about harassment.  I have three female students; all of whom state that they were victims of sexual harassment.  We also talked at length about hostile work environments.

I have been the victim of all kinds of harassment over the years.  Since I am of Amerasian descent, I never seemed to fit into any kind of racial category.  I am an amalgam, in a country of those who, like their forebears “were kicked out of every decent country in the world”.  When I was young, I seemed to fit into a category that many women deemed “exotic”.  Now, I am one of so many who are a plethora of races all balled up into one body.  Yet, I am still dealing with occasional harassment in the workplace.

What I find fascinating, is that when I was in the service, I created teams.  My job was to take the sweaty nineteen year-old young manager, who only knew how to yell at his peers, and turn him into a bona fide manager — one who watched over his flock like a caring shepherd, his other eye always on the lookout for anyone who tried to disrupt his territory. 

I hear the horror stories of many small busineses today, where the owner is condescending, bitter, paranoid, or even manages through intimidation.  In the case of a business where one is subjected to a person with a coercive management style, what can be said about such a manager?  Or for that matter, a person who acts in such a way?  A good manager is one who fosters respect.  I have a perfect example in mind…I only wish I could give you his name in this blog.

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