We are living in an era that is progressing towards modernism rapidly on a daily basis. We have achieved degrees in different disciplines. We like to think of ourselves as educated by showing our manners and kindness and knowledge. We contribute to society by looking after each other regardless of someone’s caste, creed or color. We are of the view that we are way past the time when whites used to pick on blacks. However, this racial behavior still prevails around us and not even workplaces are safe from it.
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What is Racial Discrimination in the Workplace?
Workplaces have started incorporating diversity in the work environment. Organizations now promote mixed cultures and a range of different norms and values. This is not beneficial for the workers only but it benefits a company too with a maximum reach. However, we are not as civilized as we pretend. Subconsciously, the sense of superiority still resides in our minds. While at work, when we are in a position superior to others, we try to suppress others by showing our dominance. We subjugate others just because of their backgrounds and nationalities.
There are different forms of racial discrimination in the workplace.
a. Indirect Racial Discrimination
This type of racial discrimination at the workplace entails the concept of superiority and racism in a very subtle manner. The company set out some policies that provide advantages to a certain group. This form of racism is prevalent in almost every type of workplace. Even the quota system is based on nationalities and regions. A person who is highly qualified for a job will still be rejected over a person who is less qualified due to job quota.
Microaggressions are the acts or behaviors that a person does consciously or subconsciously in order to subjugate a marginalized group. This particular behavior is very prominent in the workplace. Those who are in charge, indirectly manipulate racial or ethnic minorities in so many ways. Microaggressions can be unintentional. We might not be aware of our wrongdoings about racism but we do them anyways.
When those who are superiors in position at a workplace, act barbarously with minorities or with those who have different ethnicities that is victimization. Victimization is intentional and direct. This act promotes biases and favoritism.
d. Racial Harassment
This type of racial discrimination at the workplace prevails even in a diverse work environment. Those who stand out among others just because of their different social appearance often become victims of this act. We make fun of others’ appearance and culture and we call it humorous while in reality, it is just plain cruel.
e. Reverse Discrimination
Not only have those who are less in power fallen prey to these racial prejudices. Those who are superior and belong to a majority group now suffer from this too. No one is safe from it because we fail to maintain a balance between the two groups. We are still conducting out the same activities just towards a different set of people. We try to create a balance by picking on those who were superior just because we ourselves cast out minorities before. So the biases and bigotry remain there, just the pointing fingers change its directions.
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How to Tackle Racial Discrimination in the Workplace?
Racial discrimination does not promote a healthy work environment for anyone. It needs to be eradicated from the source and there are numerous ways through which you can achieve that.
a. Inculcate Diversity at Workplace
To say is one thing but to be practical about it is another. If you really want to see a prosperous change in your workplace, promote diversity. Do not just say it but take action to achieve that. Conduct activities that welcome all sorts of employees. Change your company policies to those that happily accept employees based on their skill set and not on their ethnicity. Know that people have different values and different cultures. Respect each of them. Bring people together by creating a sense of affection for other people’s norms and traditions.
b. Create Internal Discussion and Events at Your Organization
Racial discussion at the workplace is not something that you can overlook. You should not tolerate any racial behavior towards anyone. For this, you can arrange events that promote and enlighten your different employees’ cultures. You can create awareness by setting up a meeting that addresses this sensitive yet important issue. You can arrange short seminars that cover the importance of acceptance of different cultures. You can also target one community or a group and prepare an event that promotes their culture and traditions. You can do this weekly or monthly for every different group. This will help your employees in understanding other employees better.
c. Embed Anti-Racism into Your Company Values
Your company values are the reflection of your own thoughts and principles. What you incorporate through your company values is what your employees learn and it is what they represent onwards. A person can be a racist but if your company’s ground rules and regulations strictly prohibit racial discrimination, he will never have the audacity to be racist towards anyone. Besides, if they are not allowed to practice racism in a work environment, they might as well get rid of it from their personal lives as well. People’s work has a great impact on their lives. Try to bring a positive one.
d. Support Your Black Employees
By that, we mean to support your minorities. Any member of a racial group that is less in number will always have difficulties surviving among the workforce. This is your responsibility that they feel secure and comfortable in working with other members of the group. Maybe an employee who is from a different ethnicity feels insecure between other employees. Talk to them in person. Let them know that they are equally a part of the organization and that you will do everything in your power to keep it that way.
e. Acknowledge the Injustice Happening Around You
Chauvinism is not something that should be overlooked. There is a lot of negativity in your work environment that you will not feel if you do not start addressing all the biases and unfairness that is going around. If someone is being intolerant towards someone or dealing with anyone with harsh behavior, you need to take notice of it and handle it by yourself. You best take care of these matters by yourself. Make sure that justice is always served, regardless of someone’s color, race or class. Justice delayed is justice denied and you do not want that happening in your workplace if you want to give everyone a secure and healthy work environment.
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Racism is not an act or behavior but a disease. We all are indulged in activities that are racist in some ways. We are sick but we are just not aware of it. A change begins within ourselves. If we are to eradicate this disease from the very core of our society and not just the workplace, we have to ponder upon our own radical thoughts.