We are in a very sensitive place as humans right now.
It feels like nobody knows how to talk to anybody… about anything.
Things can get especially touchy when any topic is viewed as even slightly political.
Everyone seems to have forgotten how to have civil discourse.
An example, two words… Climate Change.
Case in point…
Redditor askeirt wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for bringing up a ‘politically sensitive topic’ with my coworker?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I work remote so I hadn’t met any of my coworkers before since I was hired during the pandemic.”
“Last month I went to Denver to meet them for a team get together.”
“It was really fun and we all went to a bar after work.”
“Most of my coworkers are from Texas, I’m from B[ritish] C[olumbia] Canada.”
“I was struggling with the 35 C weather and complained it was way too hot.”
“My coworker agreed but said it was way hotter in Texas.”
“And I said I was happy the team get together wasn’t in Texas because I would melt.”
“He laughed and asked if BC Canada was hot.”
“I said it use to be really nice but it had been getting hotter recently especially last year.”
“He seemed interested and said he didn’t think Canada could ever get hot because it was so far north.”
“I said due to climate change it got up to almost 50 C last year in interior BC.”
“And I experienced about 45 C which is basically Texas weather but it was unusual and it’s normal 25-35 C at the hottest.”
“He got really quiet and a few coworkers who were listening, their face changed.”
“I was like ‘What?'”
“Not really sure why everyone was acting strange.”
“The coworker said ‘well climate change isn’t real so I’m not sure what is causing Canada to get so hot but that isn’t it.'”
“I was pretty shocked because I’d never heard anyone deny climate change ever.”
“I tried to shrug it off not wanting to cause issues at a company meet up and the rest of the get together was ok but more awkward.”
“Then last week I got a ‘religious and political sensitivity training’ from H[uman] R[esources].”
“And when I asked about it they clarified it was due to me mentioning ‘politically sensitive topics’ like climate change at our meet up.”
“I think it’s insane I’ve worked multiple offices including very conservative environments in Canada and never has anyone had an issue with mentioning climate change.”
“But I’d never worked with US coworkers for a US company before…”
“So AITA for mentioning a ‘politically sensitive topic’ in front of coworkers?”
Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Many Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.
It’s a tricky situation.
Let’s hear some thoughts…
“It really is a strange time to be alive.”
“I’m a college instructor, and on one of my evaluations from last year, a student lambasted me for being ‘too political’ in class.”
“We never discussed politics at all.”
“So I have no idea what that student was talking about, and we didn’t cover any particularly controversial topics.”
“The general worldview of many of my fellow US citizens is… to put it lightly… odd.” ~ GayCatDaddy
“Well, to be entirely fair to the US, look how it was made.”
“You send an entire continent’s worth of religious weirdos and criminals and poor people to a place and tell them it’s theirs for the taking.”
“Encourage them to encroach on the recently-plague-bereft locals, steal bits of another continent and enslave them there.”
“Run several wars through the area just in case anybody still liked each other, and then half-seal it off to stew for 100 or more years.”
“This ain’t great? But it is, uh, not the worst possible outcome.” ~ The_Ambling_Horror
“Texas in general tends to be super resistant to the reality of climate change because so much of their economy is oil and gas based.”
“Huston has an amazing Natural history museum.”
“But it’s mostly been paid for by oil companies so it has a ‘super fun’ exhibit on the wonders of fracking.”
“And no mention of climate change ANYWHERE.” ~ ruinedbymovies
“NTA. Next time tell them the Earth is round and see what happens.” ~ Adorable_Accident440
“NTA. And climate change shouldn’t be ‘politically sensitive,’ because it takes a complete halfwit to argue that objective facts are a political issue.”
“Also, his being Texan just makes me laugh.”
“I’m Canadian and my best friend lives in Texas.”
“She has been absolutely HORRIFIED the last couple of summers that my Canadian city has several times been hotter than hers in Texas.”
“But she doesn’t question it (she can literally look it up on any weather map).”
“And if anything she is just concerned about my safety and well-being because I’m chronically ill and vulnerable and she understands how this weather can impact me.”
“Intelligent, well-informed people don’t say, ‘Well, I don’t understand that, so it clearly can’t be the case.'”
“They say, ‘Wow, that’s shocking . . . let me try to understand it by learning more from all of this information that has been made available by experts whose entire careers exist to make sense of things like this!'”
“You are NTA, and HR might do well to GENTLY and SENSITIVELY point out to him that matters of scientific fact are not ‘political.'” ~ FoolMe1nceShameOnU
“NTA – how are you supposed to know what indisputable scientific facts people chose not to believe in?”
“They get upset because you tell them you tripped because you didn’t know they chose not to believe in gravity?” ~ OrangeCubit
“NTA. WTF is wrong with your HR department?!?”
“Weather is one of the go-tos of ‘safe’ conversations.”
“You can’t help it if your co-workers are offended by reality. Sheesh!” ~ SirMittensOfTheHill
“Ah, I can see why you’re confused.”
“See, the Republican Party in America are complete idiots who are embracing religious fascism instead of science.”
“Hopes this clears things up. NTA.” ~ Molenium
“NTA- You could frame nearly anything as a politically sensitive topic (look at twitter).”
“I think at work you should probably avoid party political topics with people you don’t know but denying climate change is a pretty extreme belief.” ~ thejackalreborn
“I think there is a cultural difference here.”
“Climate change is a political topic only in the US.”
“Everywhere else we see it as a scientific topic.”
“The measures we take against it is a political topic, but OP didn’t talk about it.” ~ praleva
“NTA! I feel sorry for you and I found your post hilarious at the same time!
“Do the training.”
“If anyone says anything during work hours or at an event simply refer them to the training module you had to do.” ~ Pascalle112
“NTA – do you work for an energy company or something?”
“I’m probably not representative of the general population because I work mostly with folks that have significant formal education.”
“But this would not be a controversial statement at any job I’ve had (US based).” ~ bravenewchurl
“NTA, and document your disagreement with the need for the extra training, that climate change is a political issue, and that your co-worker brought up the issue initially.”
“Then get another job and post a review on GlassDoor.” ~ WokeJabber
“As an American, a person who has lived in Texas for 15 years and also lived in a lot of red states all I can say is welcome to America.”
“I’d like to think I have a worldly view as I was born in Germany and also lived in Norway for a long time ( my dad was in the army).”
“And I’ve just learned to not talk about politics.”
“Even climate change.”
“I can’t even discuss it with my parents with my own father calling me names and getting into a huge argument.”
“I don’t know what has happened in this country (one could argue the world) but everything has become so polarized.”
“It’s a shame.” ~ someGuy6241
“NTA and that’s crap.”
“The existence of climate change is not a political debate it’s scientific fact.”
“Had you gone on a tangent about the governments response to climate change I could see an issue as that’s political.”
“But simply brining up the fact that it’s happening should not have warranted any response from your HR.” ~ Rough-Parsnip2594
“NTA. You’d think people who live in Texas- which has in the past year and a half- had such extreme and up until now unheard of cold that their grid failed and people died AND such extreme heat that they were worried about their grid failing and people died- would understand from experience that climate change is very real.” ~ MissMagic1112
Well OP… welcome to America.
Reddit is sorry for your situation.
It doesn’t sound like you were doing anything but having polite conversation.
Hopefully you can find a way to navigate the fragile waters.