While I may be a social justice warrior online, I'm extremely non-confrontational in real life. I try hard to redirect problematic behavior when it occurs, but speaking out about things with people I'm not close to makes me very anxious.
When someone says something cissexist, for example, I try and gently correct them by using proper terms in my speech and asking questions that underscore how wrong their thinking is. If someone spouts awful racist philosophies I do the slow-fade instead of yelling at them and kicking them out the door. There have been occasions when I've spoken out directly and harshly but those were heat-of-the-moment blaze-of-glory things where I see red and my adrenaline starts pumping. Normally though, I freeze.
This happened last night, when my boss used a cissexist slur when talking about someone who pick-pocketed a customer. Make no mistake, that person did steal it. We caught it on camera. But he had no right to use that slur. It wasn't to the thief's face, and I don't think he meant it maliciously, but that doesn't matter because it is hurtful and wrong and all sorts of not ok. I want to tell him this, but I don't know how. I've tried countering it politely "so you mean that WOMAN stole the purse?" but he kept doing it. I ended up abruptly ending the conversation and walking away. But subtlety isn't going to work in this situation.
How would you deal with this situation, social-phobic jezzies? How do you talk to someone higher up than you about their offensive language?