Racism in the workplace is a persistent and serious issue in the United States. In fact, a recent study says that hiring discrimination against African-Americans is as bad as it was in 1989. While you may want to believe your boss and managers have your best interests in mind, that may not be the case.
Race and national origin discrimination take many different forms, from subtle to overt. Here are a few red flags that may indicate racism is a problem at your job.
Stereotypes are harmful generalizations that marginalize minority workers. Every person is unique and should not be seen as the same as all members of a particular racial or ethnic group. When stereotyping takes place, it creates a foundation for racial discrimination. Lookout for derogatory comments of your customs or culture. In addition, seemingly harmless terms like “us” and “them” can create a division.
Too much criticism
Sometimes, critical feedback is important. It is normal and beneficial for a supervisor to give you a warning for poor performance or provide tips for getting better at a certain task. However, the criticism may get too intense. If you face an unfair amount of negative feedback, it may be an example of racial harassment.
Does your employer fail to miss your achievements? Do you miss out on promotions, raises or bonuses despite your qualifications? If your boss is missing or purposefully ignoring your performance, you may be a victim of racism.
Discrimination is sometimes out in the open. Workers of color often face hostile comments and unfair aggressiveness from co-workers and managers alike.
If you work in an environment with racial divisions and obstacles, you may not know what to do. You may fear retaliation if you bring it up or take action. However, it is important to protect your rights through the employment and legal avenues available to you.