Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hostile Work Environment

We're in the States for several weeks. In the week before we left, I took a temporary manual labor job so I could justify buying books at Powell's while we're in Portland. It involved building a temporary stage for a huge campus party, and then taking it down again afterwards, although we had some actual full-time workers come and lead us. On the last day of the job, one of the full-timers (they were different every day) had several tattoos, including one on his leg of a lion holding a severed, bloody arm in its mouth. It said, "So many Christians, so few lions". The hand on the severed arm was holding a cross.

I have to say I was a little uncomfortable working with someone who has a tattoo wishing violent death upon me. Of course, it's not the same thing as racism or sexism, since religion involves choice. But it was a little unsettling. I thought about saying something to him like, "That's my arm"; but I thought that would be a little surreal, since I would be pointing at his leg when I said it. Or I could have said something more provocative like, "It's pretty easy to call for the death of people who have 'Turn the other cheek' as one of their central teachings. Why not get a tattoo denigrating Muhammad instead?" I decided to just specifically thank him for every little thing he helped me with, and leave it at that.

At any rate, the next day, I hardly thought of it. It didn't really leave much of a lasting impact on me, other than the fact that I'm blogging about it. But it was kind of interesting.

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