Editor's Note: The following is based on a conversation with a woman who works on Wall Street. She agreed to discuss the uptick in sexism, racism and xenophobia she has encountered on a daily basis with the condition we identify her simply as "Quon" to ward off potential reprisal. We have lightly edited her remarks for concision and clarity.
There are 20 of us in the office. It's mostly male, which I assume is the case for most financial organizations — older white men who live in Long Island, Staten Island, New Jersey, and the nice areas in Queens.
We deal in bonds.
There was always some animosity towards Hillary, but never a resounding support for Trump until a couple of months before the election. I can pinpoint the moment. My boss, who is a woman, was speaking to somebody and asked, "Well who do you think is going to win?" And the guy was like, "100 percent it's gonna be Trump." And you could see the little cogs start to turn in her head and she was like, "You know what? I think I underestimated him."
That's when she started fully going for Trump and the rest of the office followed. I started noticing she was saying "yuge" a lot more — unironically. There’s a "Make America Great Again" hat in my office, a pen with Trump's head on it and there's a Hillary nutcracker floating around. It's all very fucked up. It's mostly Trump’s personality that they’re drawn to, this idea that "Trump says what he wants. He's a good businessman."
It's an open office. Nobody has cubicles, so things are just kind of shouted across the office at different points of the day. We have a TV in the middle of the office where Bloomberg, very occasionally Fox News, and sometimes CNN, will be on all day. Certain headlines will come up and it will just be discussed across the office.
That's also why it's kind of a scary office environment.
When the whole "grab her by the pussy" thing happened and all those women came forward saying Trump groped them, the men in the office were vehemently defending him, saying, "What are they coming up with this stuff for?" It was very much victim-blaming, very much like the victim was wrong; like they were just trying to get Trump in trouble, despite the things that were actually coming out of his mouth!
My boss was pretty much silent on the issue. I was wondering if she would realize that this guy's psychopathic, but instead she stayed on the Trump train by mainly disparaging Hillary. She said Hillary is a "bought woman" and "I heard she hates dogs."
I hear sprinklings of racist comments. They're very skeptical of black people, of Mexicans. Any kind of minority is just generally looked down on. People who aren’t white are viewed with suspicion. They're very much interested in what China is doing over there — what these Chinese people are doing — even though me and a couple other people are Chinese.
Everybody likes me, and that's fine, but with anybody outside of their circle, their family at the office, it's like: "Who are these people? What are they trying to get out of us?"
I have years of practice biting my tongue from growing up in a Republican household. I don't want to bring anything up, because my coworkers are very irrational when they're arguing. If I got into a conversation and pointed out specific political points, they would be like: "Oh well, you're a millennial." It would be very ad hominem, like kind of a dismissal. So I never assert myself.
None of the left-leaning people in the office are going to say anything. Especially since Election Day. My boss was shouting, "Okay, if any of you guys have to leave work early to vote, please do — I mean, only if you're voting for Trump.” She literally told a client, "You're an idiot for not voting for Trump."
Headphones are one of my coping mechanisms. I kind of just sit quietly and do my work. Now and then I’m asked to type up something for our company blog about how great Trump is and I'll accidently leave out adjectives. I'm be transcribing my boss saying things like: "A fantastic victory for Trump." And I’ll leave out "fantastic." Sometimes nobody proofreads, but sometimes they do and I have to put "fantastic" back in.
One interesting problem that we have to deal with right now is that a lot of our clients are unhappy with the election. Clients have told us: "I'm scared. I'm scared that this is happening, I'm scared that we elected this man. This is really awful. I don't know what to do, I'm kind of panicking." My boss and co-workers are mostly surrounded by other people in the industry who agree with them and they are completely taken aback — they had no idea!
I can't really make any change in my office but I definitely want to get active. I have to. I attended a DSA [Democratic Socialists of America] meeting and I'm looking into getting involved with them. I'm going to be there for the Women's March. I don't know if I'll be able to go to DC, but there's going to be something in New York.