I work in a small office. We've had the same cleaning lady for a number of years now, and when she comes once a week to dust/clean my office I'll chat with her.
Recently she's made a few comments about black people that make me... uncomfortable.
The latest, and most unnerving comment came last week when she said something along the lines of "I was cleaning an empty apartment for the landlord. Of course it was a mess because the last tenants were black." Not her exact words, but this is the gist of it.
Before that, she gave me the impression that she wasn't thinking normally when I had mentioned a brewery that opened up down the street from where I work, and the first thing she asked was, "Is there a lot of black people in there?"
In both cases I was caught off guard, made pretty uncomfortable, and just clumsily changed the subject because I didn't really know what to do. She hasn't explicitly stated her thoughts on other races to me, but judging by comments like the ones above, you could infer that they don't exactly fall under normal thinking.
My fears are that, since I didn't outright object to her, she thinks that my thinking falls in line with her's. This is bad because:
1) I don't think it does at all.
2) I don't need her saying this things to a coworker of mine and going "ThatEngineerGuy knows what I'm talking about." or something like that.
So my question is: How do I make it clear that I don't what to hear these kinds of things, especially at work?
I feel like if I confront her head on, she'll take this as an allegation of racism. This will probably be met with a denial and an argument. I also don't want to go straight to management, because we're both adults and I'd rather try to settle this between us first. I also don't want to put her job in jeopardy, because while I feel she displays some Not Okay Thinking, I haven't seen her treat my black coworkers differently.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? How did you handle it?
(Also, if it matters, we are both white)