Some of the worst workplace behaviour was laid bare in last week's report into bullying and harassment in Parliament.
While Speaker Trevor Mallard's comments about sexual assault allegations spurred loud and hasty action on one front, less publicised were details of racism in the report.
Feedback from one respondent characterised the racist attitudes and behaviour, often accompanied by sexism, as being "a really icky experience".
Another described their experience of being targeted, for what sounded like someone's dislike of all Asian people, as an "avatar".
"I don't think [he/she] saw me as an individual but as an avatar for a larger group," the respondent stated in the report. "The main reason I didn't say anything is because it has been my experience that racism against Asian people is the last truly acceptable form of racism these days and any complaints aren't taken seriously or considered 'real'."
A respondent also outlined one individual's wayward attempt at humour: "Another [woman of the same ethnicity] came into the office to drop a document off and [my colleague] laughed and said, 'is she your mother'?"
Icky is definitely one way to describe it. Backwards and terribly disappointing also spring to mind.
Unfortunately, like other comments and direct observations included in the report, those highlighted above were selected because they reflected wider sentiments among the respondents in the review.
In traversing the report, and contemplating how someone would joke like that about their colleague, the challenge of addressing racism in the workplace starts to really bare its teeth.
After all, how do you negate someone's views and beliefs (and sense of humour) during office hours? After reading last week's report, it appears that some MPs and/or parliamentary staff would be willing advocates for methods like the "silent treatment".
However, that does little to tackle the root of the problem. Not to mention the glaring ethical and wrongful workplace conduct issues.
Dr Heather Came, a senior lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology, is an expert in institutional racism in the public health sector. She refers to such problems as "professional racism".
Came, a firm believer in people's ability to learn and progress in their attitudes and behaviour, promotes anti-racism training in workplaces as an integral part of combating professional racism.
"You need to teach people how to identify racism and how to disrupt racism. That is how you build capacity towards making racism unacceptable.
"The challenge about anti-racism work and learning about Te Tiriti o Waitangi is that it's not a one-off magic bullet, where you went to a workshop 10 years ago for four hours and the job is done.
"It's about ongoing, lifelong learning," she says. "I run multiple anti-racism workshops every year and you can see people move and learn new things and commit to getting involved to try and make a difference."
Research shows a variety of workplaces engage in cultural competency initiatives, particularly in the public sector. The availability of resources in a variety of languages at places like the Citizen's Advice Bureau, hospitals, and district court houses also indicates we are moving in the right direction.
However, acknowledging the array of cultural and ethnic backgrounds in our communities is quite separate from an individual being able to analyse whether they, or those around them, are engaging in racist behaviours. In the context of the parliament report, it must be asked how those individuals reported for racist remarks can understand their comments are indeed offensive.
In workplaces like Parliament, where hierarchy among staff is significant, pointing out someone's faux-pas if you are not at or near the top can be unappealing. Add in ignorance of that offence by the person responsible and complaining can seem more hazardous than it is worth.
Anti-racism training works because people must examine comments, attitudes and behaviour through a formal framework. Individuals are asked to consider not just if something is racist, but why. For those utterly clueless about off-colour comments and jokes, it can be particularly potent. It also has a different purpose from initiatives that target cultural competency and awareness.
Parliament's report into its problematic culture has been an important first step. Anti-racism training, and how that fits in with the extensive policy and infrastructure changes recommended in the report should be next on the agenda.