3. What could Baker and Rennalls have done to improve the situation described in this case?
Baker could have tried to be more objective in his assessment of the situation. Rennalls was already the favorite of the company, and the manifestation of his racial disposition appeared to be a minor factor compared with the benefits that his employment with the company offered. Baker fell prey to his personal need to have Rennalls like him, setting aside the probability that the number of Rennalls’ personal confrontations with Europeans, as a whole, were no greater than those between two Europeans or two Barracanians.
Baker should have stuck to a stance that presented his observations as strictly that, “his” observations, so that it would not appear that the entire company felt that Rennalls was deficient in the area of social interaction. Baker could also have stifled the urge to continue the interview when common sense told him that it was already over. Knowing that Rennalls had a high degree of racial consciousness, he should have steered away from any inference which compared Barracanians with Europeans, especially one that put Barracania in a deficient light. His desire to “be proven right” was his final undoing.
I feel that Rennalls acted appropriately throughout the interview itself. He could have objected to the “200 to 300 years vs. 50 years” point immediately without appearing obstinate, but I’m sure his mindset at the time was more concerned with his own factual qualifications rather than inferential opinion about the past. Had he not given so much weight to Baker’s opinions, opinions which he had obviously been unable to silence during the interview, he could have seen beyond the cloud of anger to the chief engineer’s seat which awaited him, and then to the benefits which that seat would bring both to the company and to his people.