I have had severe interpersonal problems in the workplace. I believe I have been targeted as a scapegoat in the workplace. I believe I saw hints of anti-Semitism in the interpersonal dynamic between me and coworkers.
Years ago I told my sister that I was a victim of anti-Semitism-as-a-metaphor. She had no idea what I was talking about.
When I attempted to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism with my psychiatrist at the time, Stanley Palombo, M.D., he cut me off. He thought that anti-Semitism as a factor in my workplace difficulties was ridiculous.
I continue to believe that the issue of anti-Semitism cannot be ignored as it relates to my difficulties in the workplace.
I believe that in the workplace I was scapegoated by coworkers — coworkers who had assumed, in the language of group theorists, the status of a fight-flight basic assumptions group.
In the basic assumption of fight-flight, the group behaves as though it has met to preserve itself at all costs, and that this can only be done by running away from someone or fighting someone or something (a scapegoat or external enemy). In fight, the group may be characterized by aggressiveness and hostility; in flight, the group may chit-chat, tell stories, arrive late or any other activities that serve to avoid addressing the task at hand. The leader for this sort of group is one who can mobilize the group for attack, or lead it in flight.
A fight-flight basic assumptions group is a type of paranoid group formation in which the group splits good from bad and proceeds to idealize the group-as-a-whole (“the good”) and projects the bad onto a scapegoat in the group or an external enemy. A law firm is well suited to fight-flight phenomena since the rational work task of representing clients against the opposing party can assume a paranoid fight-flight posture of projecting the primitive proto-mental states surrounding the good object onto the client and projecting primitive proto-mental states surrounding the bad object onto the opposing party. In Akin Gump’s Eastern Airlines litigation perhaps the client Eastern was the “good breast” and the unions were the “bad mouth.”
I believe that owing to the similar scapegoating dynamics in anti-Semitism and the scapegoating dynamics in fight-flight basic assumptions groups there can be a leakage of anti-Semitic ideology and stereotyping into the paranoid fight-flight basic assumptions group — and this is significant — where the scapegoat in the paranoid fight-flight group happens to be Jewish.
I would say that I was not subjected to anti-Semitism per se, that is to say, because I was Jewish. I would say that I was subjected to a paranoid group process and that because of my Jewishness there was a leakage of anti-Semitic thinking into the paranoid group process.
In some ways my treatment in the workplace was indistinguishable from anti-Semitism, though my treatment was distinct from anti-Semitism.
If you put both sugar and Sweet-and-Low in your coffee your tongue will not tell the difference between the two. (“I can tell that you put sugar in the coffee in addition to Sweet-and-Low.” Seriously?) Your pancreas will tell the difference, but your tongue will not. Sugar and Sweet-and-Low can be indistinguishable, but they are distinct.