Racial Discrimination against African Americans in the U. S. Labor Market Josefina Anorga Carlos Albizu University Abstract The following work deals with racial discrimination against African Americans in the workplace. Terms as racial discrimination, racism, race and African Americans are going to be defined to a greater understanding of these. It presents different types of discrimination at work, statistics of the African American population who works in the U. S. , the way how it is changing over the years and the laws and entities that protect discrimination at the workforce.
Racial Discrimination against African Americans in the Labor Market There are many ethnic and racial groups in the United States, such as Euro Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, Latin Americans, and others. Some of these groups have faced severe discrimination in social, political, educational, and economic opportunities. In our days, there are still large differences among these groups in areas like employment opportunities, income, education, criminal justice, voting and elections, health, and other fields.
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Because of this, many ways of unequal opportunities and discriminatory treatment persists in the United States in many ways, especially with African Americans. The term African Americans, also called Afro-Americans or Blacks, refers to residents or citizens of the United States who have African origins. It also describes a very diverse group of people in the American society. They may come from different ethnic backgrounds such as African, Caribbean, Central American or South American.
According to Robert Hill in “The Strength of Black Families” African Americans have family characteristics such as strong kinship bonds, strong work orientation, adaptable family roles, high achievement orientation, and strong religious orientation (Harry, 1992; Hairston, 1983). Afro-Americans make up collective family structure and subjects like family and spirituality are very important for them. Although the number of African American Muslims has increased, their choice of religions tends to be Christianity (Harry, 1992).
Even though the workplace is more diverse than ever and there is more consciousness of racial discrimination, African Americans, a racial-ethnic minority group in the United States, still have to face many discrimination problems. Many people in the U. S. have prejudices about African Americans describing them as inferior. “Research in social psychology suggests that categorizing individuals on the basis of salient, observable characteristics such as race, gender, age, and even patterns of dress and speech is inevitable, occurs automatically, and activates biases associated with these characteristics (Measuring Racial Discrimination, 2004).
There are also many stereotypes that qualify them as poor, unemployed, unintelligent, uneducated, smelly, dirty, lazy, and also violent offenders. Discrimination means unequal treatment. To treat an individual or group of people differently based on their racial origins is called Racial Discrimination. It is also important to understand two terms that will be mentioned throughout the project, and those are: race and racism. The term race was used to distinguish populations in different areas on the basis of differing physical characteristics that had developed over time, such as skin color, facial features, and other characteristics” (Blank, Dabady, Citro, 2004), and “according to the US Civil Rights Commission 2010, racism is an action or attitude, conscious or unconscious, that subordinates and individual or group based on skin color or race. It can be enacted individually or institutionally”. The United States has been dominated in many aspects including the workplace since the colonial era by the predominant group, Euro-Americans or Whites.
White men are twice as likely to get management jobs as qualified black men, and three times as likely as black women (Smith & Elliott, 2004). It is expected that by the year 2050 Whites are not going to be the predominant group in this nation anymore. This is because the demographics are changing very fast and many of the minority groups are increasing enormously. By the year 2000, African Americans comprised the United States largest racial minority group comprehending 12. 3 percent of the total population Nowadays Latin Americans are the largest minority group in the U. S. ollowed by Afro-Americans that are expected to be 15% by the year 2050. Seventeen million were the number of Blacks that worked in the United States by the year 2000 and it is expected that by the year 2050 there will be 27 millions of this group in the workforce. This significant amount represents an important part of the population for this country (U. S. Census, 2001). As mentioned before, diversity in the U. S. workplace is growing fast and it is bringing more opportunities to the minority groups. But just as it brings positive things, also brings challenges, such as racial or ethnic discrimination, especially against African Americans.
Although there are many types of racial discrimination, two of the most important and most common in the workplace are Direct Racial Discrimination and Indirect Racial Discrimination. The Direct Racial Discrimination is intentional and easier to recognize because the employee does not try to hide being discriminatory with another employee, but this can be very difficult to prove. In most of the cases, the person who is discriminating believes that the discriminated employee or co-worker is not going to blame or take any action against them.
Some examples for this type of discrimination could be when an employee jokes that blacks cannot sit with whites while having lunch or when simply an employee makes uncomfortable comments and jokes about the skin color of another worker knowing that he is listening just to make him feel humiliated in front of other people (Mighealth, 2007). The second type of discrimination is Indirect Racial Discrimination. It is when a supervisor or employee is committing an act of racial discrimination but tries to hide it so that it does not seem they are discriminating against the other employee.
It is to place a group of African Americans in disadvantage with other groups and it is also very difficult to prove because those actions can be justified very easily. Examples of this type of racial discrimination could be when a black employee is not recognized for their job or being denied for deserved promotions while Euro Americans are not. Other cases of this type of discrimination could be when a supervisor gives similar tasks that require the same amount of work to all their subordinates but more difficult tasks to African Americans or also, not evaluating their jobs as they do with the others (Mighealth, 2007).
It is important to emphasize that many American companies are reported annually because of racial discrimination against African American employees. An example of this are the cases of two American companies Nike, a sportswear company, and Walgreens, the largest drugstore chain in the U. S. In the year 2007, 4 former employees of the Nike Company, who used to work in the Niketown store in Chicago, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company. They accused one of the managers from the store for eferring to black employees and customers using inappropriate and discriminatory language, making false accusations against them, segregating them to low-paying jobs and sending security guards to closely monitor both employees and black customers (ABC News, July 31, 2007). According to the CBS 2, 2007, a lawsuit against Walgreens was filed based on the widespread racial bias toward thousands of black employees. The company was accused of making decisions about employee promotions and assignments based on race. There are two important entities that defend racial discrimination in the workplace in the United States.
These are the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The Civil Rights Act says that is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or a current employee because of the person’s skin color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because they have complained of discrimination, filed charges of discrimination or has participated in an investigation of employment discrimination.
This law applies to all work situations including personnel selection, hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, salaries and benefits. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws against discrimination in the workplace. In the year 2007 according to the statistics issued by this Commission, 30,510 racial discrimination charges were recorded, compared with 82, 792 total charges in the workplace. In 2006 75, 768 charges were reported and 27, 238 or 35% were related to racial discrimination. In 2007, charges of racial discrimination increased 12% from the previous year, reaching their highest level in 13 years.
By the year 2009, 33, 579 were the charges reported. There is an increase in discrimination against African Americans in the labor area as the statistics show, and this is expected to continue growing over the years. Racial discrimination is a social problem that is learned and can be solved with education and the help of government authorities and the various companies that comprise the workforce in the United States. Diversity in business is very beneficial, either to avoid charges of discrimination, increase productivity or the company’s corporate image.
Every individual, regardless of their skin color or origin, have the right as a human being, to be treated in a fair way. References Hairston, E. , & Smith, L. (1983). Black and deaf in America. Silver Springs, MD, TJ Publishers, Inc . Harry, B. (1992). Cultural diversity, families, and special education system: Communication and empowerment. New York, NY, Teachers College. US Civil Rights Commission (2010, January). . Retrieved January 30, 2010 from , U. S. Government Web site: http://www. usccr. gov/ Blank, R. M. , Dabady, M. , Citro. C. F. (2004).
Measuring racial discrimination. National Research Council. Retrieved from http: //www. nap. edu/openbook. php? record_id=10887&page=26 Smith, R. A. , Elliott, J. (2004). Race, Gender, and Workplace Power,. , 69, . doi:10. 1177/000312240406900303 Grieco, E. M. , & Cassidy, R. C. (2001). Overview race and Hispanic origin 2000. Retrieved January 31, 2010 from , U. S. Census Bureau Web site: http://www. census. gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-1. pdf Mighealthnet (). Explanations of race discrimination. , , 1. Retrieved from ht tp://mighealth. net/uk/index. hp/Explanations_of_Race_Discrimination Clark, A. S. (2007, March 7). Feds sue Walgreen Co. for bias class-action lawsuit alleges drugstore chain discriminates against black workers. CBS 2, , 1. Retrieved from http://www. cbsnews. com/stor ies/2007/03/07/business/main2546179. shtml U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (). Charge statistics fy 1997 through fy 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2010 from , U. S. Government Web site: http://www. eeoc. gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/charges. cfm Appendix [pic] EEOC, 2009 Appendix [pic] Census, 2000 Appendix [pic] Census, 2008 [pic][pic]