DEAR HARRIETTE: At work, we were completing a group exercise on how to respond to negative customer emails. I was working with "Matt," who read our sample email and immediately began talking about how our client was a man. I asked him why he made this quick judgment, and he said that the email was "far too assertive and reasonable" to have been from a woman. I just stared at him in shock. Is it worth my time to explain to Matt that those are sexist stereotypes, or should I just wait for karma to hopefully come around? -- Mars and Venus, Jersey City, New Jersey
DEAR MARS AND VENUS: You should have said something in the moment, but it is true that many people go dumbfounded when they hear rude comments. It is not too late to speak up, and you absolutely should say something. Tell your colleague how disturbing you thought his comments were. Be sure to point out why. Do not assume that he understands. There's a good chance he thought he was being perceptive.
Go one step further as well. Tell the organizer of the sensitivity session about how Matt reacted to the email that you reviewed. Make it clear that you felt Matt's words were stereotypical and that another layer of sensitivity training seems to be necessary.