Minorities And Racial Discrimination In The Workplace: Are We Exaggerating?

May 29, 2013  |  

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A study published by the Law & Society Review, essentially tells us what we all already know: Blacks and Hispanics are less likely than Caucasians to score interviews and job offers. Employers themselves have admitted that they’re reluctant to hire minorities. Tell us something we don’t know!

But there’s something new that this research presents to us: racial discrimination in the workplace is perceived among minorities differently depending on certain factors. Society has a devious way of indirectly imposing racial discrimination on minorities in the workplace. Modern discrimination is hidden in everyday social interactions which makes it harder to point out.

With the very subtle nature of racial discrimination, how can anyone effectively seek legal action? Employers can easily refute discrimination claims by stating that the worker’s performance and lack of experience contributed to differential treatment, masking any bias. Proof of racial discrimination to pursue a lawsuit is damn near impossible.

The report also delves into how one’s gender, personality, and income affect one’s perception of prejudice.

For instance, women alone in the workforce are paid less and are undervalued compared to men. Black women, being both a minority and female are at a double disadvantage. Because of this, black women are more vigilant of discrimination than black men. As a result, more African-American women are likely view negative treatment as a product of discrimination.

The authors infer that some workers might perceive a behavior to be discriminatory if they are entitled and believe they deserve certain treatment. If that standard of treatment isn’t met, they are more likely to cry discrimination. But is it really?

Also, those who are paid higher wages expect a more objective work environment; they are more likely to identify negative experiences as discriminatory. Adversely, those who work in undesirable jobs tend to label the negative experience as a just consequence of a crappy job.

The study concludes that the ideal, fair-minded work environment hires employees based on merit and uses public advertisements rather than personal referrals for recruitment and has affirmative action policies for equal opportunity.

Do you believe that African-Americans sometimes exaggerate their claims of racial discrimination? Have you ever been discriminated at work?

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