> The college I attended was small and very LGBT friendly. One day someone came to visit and used the word “gay” as a pejorative, as was common in the early 2000s. A current student looked at the visitor and flatly said, “we don’t do that here.” The guest started getting defensive and explaining that they weren’t homophobic and didn’t mean anything by it. The student replied, “I’m sure that’s true, but all you need to know is we don’t do that here.” The interaction ended at that point, and everyone moved on to different topics. “We don’t do that here” was a polite but firm way to educate the newcomer about our culture. [...]

> It turns out talking about diversity, inclusion, and even just basic civil behavior can be controversial in technical spaces. I don’t think it should be, but I don’t get to make the rules. When I’m able I’d much rather spend the time to educate someone about diversity and inclusion issues and see if I can change how they see the world a bit. But I don’t always have the time and energy to do that. And sometimes, even if I did have the time, the person involved doesn’t want to be educated.

> This is when I pull out “we don’t do that here.” It is a conversation ender. If you are the newcomer and someone who has been around a long time says “we don’t do that here”, it is hard to argue. This sentence doesn’t push my morality on anyone. If they want to do whatever it is elsewhere, I’m not telling them not to. I’m just cluing them into the local culture and values. If I deliver this sentence well it carries no more emotional weight than saying, “in Japan, people drive on the left.” “We don’t do that here” should be a statement of fact and nothing more. It clearly and concisely sets a boundary, and also makes it easy to disengage with any possible rebuttals.

> Me: “You are standing in that person’s personal space. We don’t do that here.”
> Them: “But I was trying to be nice.”
> Me: “Awesome, but we don’t stand so close to people here.”

> Them: Tells an off-color joke.
> Me: “We don’t do that here.”
> Them: “But I was trying to be funny.”
> Me (shrugging): “That isn’t relevant. We don’t do that here.”
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