Life Advice



Non-drinker brings out the 'sober curious'

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

We all decided to dress up as people from an iconic TV show. However, two of my co-workers, who are light skinned, are going over the top to change their skin tone to match the darker-toned cast members.

I personally do not feel comfortable with this and I think it is not only insulting, but very unprofessional.

I'm not sure how to get that across without being rude and my attempts at reconsideration have fallen on deaf ears -- it is clearly innocent and meant as a joke in their minds.

I personally do not see it as a joke, and I don't want to be involved in a group photo with two people doing something I don't agree with. What can I do?

-- Insulted

Dear Insulted: Artificially changing the color of your skin in order to use another person's race as part of a costume is demeaning and racist -- no matter who does it.

Iconic TV characters likely have many characteristics aside from the actor's skin tone that your co-workers could use as part of their impersonation.

Given this rude, ill-considered, potentially career-ending behavior on the part of your co-workers, why are you worried about being rude?

You should say, "I get that you think this is lighthearted and funny, but I'm not comfortable with it. I think this is racist, and not cool or funny at all."


Do not, under any circumstances, appear in a photo with these "jokers."

Dear Amy: Sorry, but I don't think a distant relative has any business searching for and outing people who may have a genetic connection.

Mind your own business out there. Stay out of the genetic pool.

I think encouraging such butting in is detrimental to all. You shouldn't do it.

-- Disappointed

Dear Disappointed: The thing about the genetic pool is this: you can't actually "choose" to stay out of it. A person can definitely choose not to search for (or reject) DNA relatives, however.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)



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