Over the past several years, the discussion concerning race relations in America has changed significantly. Many individuals have cited events like the election of President Obama and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Voting Rights Act as evidence that race discrimination no longer plays a significant role in American life. However, a new paper that will soon be published in American Psychologist indicates that while it may appear in different forms than it has in the past, racial discrimination is very much alive in both the American workforce and other contexts.
The paper’s authors argue that, “in present-day America, discrimination results more from helping ingroup members than from harming outgroup members.” Practically, this means that racial discrimination often occurs in the form of uplifting individuals who already belong to a group as opposed to explicitly excluding minorities. Although this form of racism may be less charged and less intentional than segregation and explicit exclusion, it continues to negatively impact those minorities who are affected by it.
It is therefore important for minority workers to understand that they may be able to hold their employers accountable for this kind of subtle racial discrimination even though it may not be intentionally driven. The law protects workers from racial discrimination in the workplace, regardless of whether it is explicit and blatantly intentional or more subtly executed.
If you have questions about whether the treatment you are experiencing in the workplace rises to the level of illegal racial discrimination, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced employment law attorney who can help guide you through your legal options.
Source: New York Magazine, “Racism Doesn’t Work the Way You Think It Does,” Jesse Singal, May 21, 2014