On the editorial page of yesterday’s Times, in response to the piece we’ve just published about banter at work:
“Okay,” said the instructor. “Do we know why we’re here?”
PC Smith and PC Jones looked at each other. Neither of them did. Nor did they quite understand what the instructor meant when she told them it was all about PC banter.
“Don’t know him,” said PC Jones. “But there’s a DS Banta over at Sun Hill.”
“Not ‘police constable’,” said the instructor. “‘Politically correct’.”
“He is black,” agreed PC Jones.
“No,” said the instructor. “Look. The fact is, I have been informed that during your last arrest, one of you committed a microaggression.”
“Was it when I hit that bloke in the face with my truncheon?” said PC Smith.
“Didn’t look micro,” said PC Jones. “Not at the time.” The instructor shook her head. Actually, she said, it was when he called the suspect “a fat slag” just afterwards. In the hearing of PC Jenkins.
“Police Constable Jenkins?” said PC Smith. “Or politically correct Jenkins?”
“Actually Jenkins is both,” said the instructor. “And she was offended.”
“But she ain’t fat,” said PC Jones.
“But did it occur to you,” said the instructor, “that she might identify as fat?”
“Eh?” said PCs Smith and Jones, in unison.
“Okay, look,” said the instructor. “The point is, everybody wants a fun workplace, but we need sensitivity, too. An awareness not to mock appearances, or backgrounds, or unusual names. And I warn you, this initiative has support from the top.”
“You mean . . .” said PC Jones.
“Yes,” said the instructor. “Cressida Dick.”
“Ha!” chuckled PC Smith. “Still cracks me up.”
“Not PC,” chided the instructor.
“Well obviously,” said PC Jones. “She’s the commissioner.”
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