A young man took to Reddit for opinions after he got flagged for racism at work. It was a pretty buggy situation overall. Here is the whole story.
He Made a Big Move
OP is a 24-year-old man who grew up in the south but recently moved to California for work.
He Needed a Change
Another perk of moving west for OP was to get away from the outdated and ultra conservative worldviews he often ran into growing up.
He Felt Targeted
Part of the reason OP wanted to get away was that he is half-white and half-Egyptian. So whenever he ran into racist attitudes back home, he took it to heart.
Things Were Going Well
After a few months out west, OP and his new coworkers settled into work relationships and got along pretty well.
He Was in His Element
One day, the water cooler talk turned to camping, and OP had plenty to say thanks to his Southern upbringing.
He Had the Inside Scoop
When a coworker mentioned that camping would be much better without all the mosquito bites, OP thought he could go one better.
They’re the Worst!
So OP replied that mosquitoes were nothing back home, at least not compared to the chiggers. They can be a million times worse, he said, because they gang up on you.
That Was a Wrap
After that, the conversation wrapped up and everyone went back to work. OP didn’t think any more about it.
He Was in Trouble
But someone was apparently replaying the conversation in their head because HR called in several employees, including OP.
They Said He Was Racist
One white employee and one black employee had turned in OP for his racial slur.
He Wasn’t Allowed
OP was confused at first, but then HR explained that “chiggers” was too close to a vile racial epithet, and he wasn’t allowed to use the word since he was white.
Everyone Knew That
That astounded OP, and he explained that chiggers are everywhere in the United States, and that’s what everyone calls them. He doesn’t even know if there is another word.
They Had to Research It
In response, HR did some online research and decided that OP was correct and that chiggers were mites that live outdoors in most parts of the U.S.
They Let Him Off the Hook
So HR’s official ruling was that there was just a misunderstanding due to regional dialect differences and that OP had not used a racial slur.
He Got Personal
Feeling better about the situation, OP told his coworkers about his heritage and shared some of his background.
He Wanted Some Leeway
OP also asked if they could not be quick to jump to conclusions about him being a racist when he used a word they didn’t understand. They all came from different places, after all.
They Were Sorry
When they realized the truth, OP’s coworkers apologized to him for turning the camping talk into a big issue.
He’s Waiting for the Other Shoe
So, things are looking up for OP and his colleagues. However, he’s still a little nervous about what sort of trouble might pop up when he drops another southern gem in the office.
For the most part, Redditors think the whole situation was blown way out of proportion just because of a difference in dialect.
A few pointed out that chiggers aren’t a thing in California, which helps explain the disconnect.
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