How has racism affected people in the work place while at work, or getting a job?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is very difficult to answer this question in any objective way.  This is because it is very difficult to know when racism has affected a person’s chances of getting a job or their chances of being treated well in the job.

Of course, racism still exists in the United States.  It stands to reason that some of the people who have racist attitudes will be in the position to hire people for various jobs.  Such people are not likely to be willing to hire people from racial minority groups.  There have been studies that purport to show that people with stereotypically black names are less likely to get interviews for job openings than people with names that sound white. There are also anecdotal stories about people being treated in extremely racist ways in their workplaces.

However, there is no objective way to measure how often this sort of thing occurs.  It is, for example, very difficult to show that any particular hiring decision has been based on race.  Employers are smart enough not to simply reject people explicitly on the basis of race.  It is hard to conduct surveys that will accurately determine how often racism actually occurs at work since different people will perceive racism (or not perceive it) in different circumstances.

Therefore, racism surely affects some people in trying to find work and in their work environment.  However, we cannot quantify the degree to which this happens.

 

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