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Racial Discrimination In The Workplace

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Racial discrimination poses a large problem in the American workplace. While it is not as visible as it was in the 1960's it is just as prevalent. It can happen at any stage of employment whether it be hiring, promotion, assignments, or termination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The law states that is unlawful employment practice to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. In 2004 the EEOC received 932 color based filings, an astounding 125% more than the 413 in 1994.1 Some of these could be simply attributed to people out to make a quick dollar however it is such a great increase we can see that racial discrimination is still a major factor in the workplace today.

Affirmative action is a result of an executive order issued by Lyndon Johnson in 1965. The article "The Hamilton Right On Affirmative Action" by Benjamin Noble2 that rallies against affirmative action. The idea behind affirmative action may have been a great idea but the notion behind it is simply wrong. While racial discrimination should not be tolerated, affirmative action is not the right answer. The article argues that affirmative action harms the group it intends to protect by projecting more racism against them. I'm sure at one point in their career someone has heard a comment along the lines of 'They only got the pay raise because they were black or mexican.' Affirmative action also sends a message to everyone that minorities aren't capable of being hired based on their education and knowledge. It can actually hurt a persons self esteem knowing they were only accepted to a college because of their race. That person may be smart and deserving but who is to say the decision wasn't solely based on one thing. The author makes a valid point when he says "True diversity does not arise from skin colors but from different backgrounds and experiences." How can one say a classroom with a equal mix of blacks and whites that come from affluent backgrounds is diverse? No one brings a different view of how someone lives in poverty stricken conditions for example. It seems that many institutions are afraid to change their policy because of what backlash may occur. People may see this as a change to allow some form of discrimination to occur. Also some people may see this as an opportunity to file racial discrimnation lawsuits. Benjamin Noble makes a good argument as to why affirmative action is not a solution to racial discrimination.

The next article I read was "The Bias Breakdown" by Amy Joyce3. The article states that 15% of all workers feel they have been discriminated against in 2005. Surprisingly Asians had the largest reported claims at 31% with African Americans running a close second with 26%. Cari M. Dominguez was quoted as saying "We need to go back and track...what are the differences between people's perception of discrimination and the actual filings." It is true that many people have different degrees of what is right and wrong regarding racism. It seems many minorities use racial discrimination as a crutch or a cop out when if fact they are the ones at fault. I've heard opinions from different places that african americans are owed something. Does that mean the white male with a 10 years experience should be passed over for a promotion because the black male with 5 years is owed it? No, but in some cases they would consider that racial discrimination. The article goes on to state that discrimination against Muslims has doubled since September 11th. John C. Hendrickson, an attorney for the EEOC, says, "They don't seem to be going away and I suppose with everything that continues to go on in the Middle East and with the war in Iraq, that kind of thinking remains in the forefront of some peoples consciousness." However true it is, it is just a product of ignorant people generalizing ethnic groups. Next the article talks about the suit that Best Buy is facing. The statistics do show a trend towards racial and sexual discrimination. When 80 percent of store managers are white men, less than 10 percent are women, and less than 10 percent are minorities it seems to be a little



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