The Nightmare Strikes Again

Coming in the wake of that Desperate Housewives slur against Philippine-educated doctors is this alleged harassment by an employee of H & M store to a Pinay shopper. Frannie Richards, a nurse, says she was shopping on September 13 at this popular store in Chicago's Magnificent Mile when this white male sales clerk made remarks about a "mail-order bride in the house" and giggled about it with another employee. To add insult to injury, the same employee made it look like this woman doesn't know how to speak English when she asked for the location of the fitting room and was instead told "Can you read the sign? It says fitting room". And as if that was not enough, this man brought himself to the lowest level, openly ridiculing her ethnicity by mouthing "ching, ching, chang".

H & M stores (Hennes and Mauritz), a Swedish clothing chain, is found all over the United States, Europe, Japan and some Middle Eastern countries. I sometimes shop for clothes there because it is affordable and what they sell is actually trendy (Madonna even endorsed them). In New York, I find their flagship store in 5th Avenue crowded with tourists and lines for the counter are busy. There are people of various colors and various persuasions, attracting a truly humongous crowd of customers who want affordable fashion. The sales clerks that I deal with have been welcoming and helpful at most times. I haven't heard of anything nasty or deplorable coming from their employees, not at least while I was there.

It is thus very distressing that someone from H & M could not be sensitive enough and keep himself from being foul-mouthed. Everyone in America should know by now how racist and sexist remarks could lead to a firestorm leading to lawsuits. Time again has shown that not even lawsuits could deter some misguided tongues from talking the language of the sewer. Racism and bigotry has been coming out on and off like the nightmare that it is, not just here in America but elsewhere in the planet. Discrimination based on race, gender, religion, creed, political affiliation and economic status should never be tolerated. It should not even exist anymore. American companies and government agencies should be smart by now not to allow a single employee to drag them unnecessarily to courtrooms. Employers therefore should emphasize the need for more employee training on sensitivity issues or make that as part of ongoing programs for improvement.

Anyone can speak their mind and say what they want but when something guides that mind before it becomes an explosive remark shooting out from the mouth, then disaster is averted.

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