While they aren’t typically accounted for, multiple workers have constantly expressed experiencing racial discrimination in the workplace. Though they comprise only a tiny percentage of the population, admitting that this inequality is still a prevalent issue is the first step to a solution.
Many factors affect relationships and the distribution of opportunities in the workplace. One of these is people’s racial identity. For many years, this difference in treatment between races has constantly been the center of criticism. Undoubtedly, the higher the diversity is, the higher the chances people experience inequality primarily due to race. And with the globalization that the world is experiencing, diversity is one thing society can’t avoid.
When looking at the bigger picture, it’s easy to assume that racial inequality has been eradicated. Lesser and lesser accounts of this behavior have been reported. However, it’s important to note that media coverage shouldn’t be the sole basis for its existence.
Simply because people can’t hear about it shouldn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Racial discrimination now happens in micro settings – subtle and minuscule instances that can be easily overlooked and undetected. This is especially common in workplace settings.
Direct Racial Discrimination. Discrimination happens more frequently than people are aware. In some circumstances, one’s racial identity plays a significant role in whether one can be considered for a job. Some people have been denied promotions or job opportunities because they aren’t the “conventional” or part of the more significant portion of the population.
Indirect Racial Discrimination. Companies make policies for their employees’ comfort and safety. But what happens when these policies put others at a disadvantage instead? This is the most common among the various manifestations of inequality in the workplace. These occur in simple actions such as prohibiting specific hairstyles or wearing accessories that belong to certain races. To the general public, these may seem trivial details that don’t deserve to be mentioned, but to those affected, they are significant and disrespectful to their culture.
Racial Harassment. As indications of racism have transcended physical harassment, multiple cues were once disregarded and are now considered offensive. Racial harassment in the workplace occurs and is especially frequent during arguments. Some employees experience degradation on account of their race. They can be thrown insults or physically humiliated, which can cultivate hostility.
What Can Companies Do to Eradicate Workplace Racism?
Multiple movements have been executed these past few years to fight racism. Numerous books were published to address and spread awareness of this continuing issue, from Paul Kivel’s Uprooting Racism to King Bell’s book of different race relations in America. Movies about it came to the spotlight, hoping the people would stop in their tracks and sympathize with the struggles these people face.
However, these initiatives can’t possibly zero down and influence the workplace’s systems to change. For a more radicalized change, these organizations should take hold of this responsibility and take action.
While racism is a prevalent and well-known issue, some people don’t realize or acknowledge that their actions are causing it. Companies must first educate their people and make them understand how their actions and decisions oppress or put others at a disadvantage. Making sure everyone looks at the situation similarly is a crucial step in the process. Let people identify their faults and the victims define behavior that is deemed offensive and puts them at a disadvantage. Everyone must admit their faults because those who can’t acknowledge and see theirs can weaken the support for the policies against racial discrimination.
Once behaviors have been put to light and people have been made aware, it’s essential to tackle the following process – one imposing more challenge: willingness. Policies can be established. But at the same time, they can be easily broken. Ensure employees are aware of their responsibility to carry out these policies; enforce ramifications if necessary.
Awareness of the issue shouldn’t be the final step to changing the system. Companies should continuously hold themselves accountable for their behavior. If an employee complains about falling victim to another circumstance, they should be treated with respect and assured that the company would investigate the situation thoroughly. And in doing so, there should be transparency throughout the process. The companies should relay the measures they have taken to ensure the event won’t happen again.
To address this inequality and unfair treatment in the workplace, a radicalized systemic change must be handled properly. This whole process would require excellent leadership with equally accountable and responsible supporters. This change needs commitment and determination as this can’t be done in one day alone. While it may be taxing and complex, the benefits of this change isn’t only limited to the victims but rather the whole company.