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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Big Q Blog

Students studying on the grass

Students studying on the grass

An Offhand Remark

Danielle and Lindsey, new freshman roommates, become at odds when Danielle makes an offensive comment at a party.

**DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**

Lindsey and Danielle are new freshman roommates. Although they come from very different backgrounds—Lindsey is from a small town in Minnesota and Danielle is from Los Angeles—they’ve already bonded. The third week of the quarter, Lindsey and Danielle go together to a party. They’re having a great time chatting with some people they’ve just met when Danielle makes a crack about the “chink” who lives on their floor and how she will probably “mess up the curve” in the calculus class they’re taking together because Asians don’t do anything but study. Lindsey is taken aback. She didn’t think Danielle was the type of person who would make such an offensive comment.

Should Lindsey say something immediately? Should she wait and talk to Danielle in private? Or should she just let the comment go without remarking on it at all?

Useful Resources:

A Framework for Ethical Decision-Making

One of College's Most Exacting Lessons: Roommates

College Relationships: Roommate Tips for Dorm Life

How to Handle a Bad College Roommate