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Racism in the Workplace

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Racial discrimination is very rampant even in the corporate world. Racial discrimination in the workplace can even be categorized into Black racism and/or Asian racism. Needless to say, these two belong to the minority groups who have long been complaining about unfair and unethical treatment they have been experiencing in the workplace. What is more worth noting is the fact that both of these minority groups have a vast history to tell when it comes to racial discrimination.

The Blacks Once, blacks were considered as slaves.

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They were being sold and used to serve the whites. This started the long and continuous battle of the black people to eliminate racial discrimination. Also, there have been several attempts to alleviate the economic status of the blacks because poverty was the primary reason why the whites (and other race for that matter) took advantage of them. But it seems that improving the blacks’ economic status is not an easy task.

There is one survey gathered last 2000 revealing that Blacks has the highest percentage of unemployment rate when compared to the Hispanics or the Whites (Blacks, men most likely to experience unemployment, 2001).

Moreover, one survey revealed how the level of education is among the Blacks. On this survey, the level of education between the blacks and the whites are also being compared, and surveys show that (Byars, 2002): • 85% of Whites, 25 years old or higher, have graduated high school, while there are only 79% from the Blacks 18% of Whites in the same age group are in the “some college, no degree” category while 19. 7% of Blacks are in this category • 9% of Whites have achieved an associate’s degree, as compared to 8% of Blacks • 37% of Whites have received any type of college degree, as only 24% of Blacks With this current trend in employment and education status of the Blacks, we may now ask… have they really find ways to eliminate racial discrimination on their part? We may agree that we now see the Blacks as an equal member of our society.

We may not find it hard to treat them fairly and respectfully as how we regard the whites. But the Blacks seem to lack in perseverance and consistency in continuing what they have fought before. They should not stop in aiming improving their life… they should not be complacent in alleviating their economic status and pursuit for educational excellence so as to enjoy the equality that society has bestowed on them. The Asians One journal states that stereotyping and subjugation is a common problem among Asians (Wu, 2005). Whites commonly look at the Asians as helpers, cleaners, or any ‘dirty’ jobs.

Although there are lots of Asians all over the world who has gotten themselves with new citizenship (such as American citizenship), they could still not escape the injustice and/or the unfair treatment given to them by most of the Whites. “… the attempt to use Asians and West Indians to prove that ‘race’ cannot explain the plight of Black America is fallacious at best and sinister at worst …they are all racial minorities which are very different in terms of social class origins, structures of opportunity and depth of racism… ”(Steinberg)

Indeed, the root of racism and other problems regarding difference in race and ethnicity cannot be measured by immersing oneself to just one race alone. What is happening to the Blacks is totally different from what is happening with the Asians or Indians. How the Whites (or other seemingly dominant race) treat the Blacks is not the same as how they treat the other ethnic minorities. At the same time, the problem cannot be traced nor proved if the Blacks alone will be studied and analyzed.

The Call to Take Action With the continuing movement of the economy and the ever-changing requirements of the modern labor force – may it be a decline or growth – every businesses and companies are using every possible means to keep the company at a stable end. Every organization must have the capability to adapt to the movement of the market and the ever-changing needs of the customers. However, an organization can only do this if the people – the very members of the workforce – are working smoothly as a team.

Moreover, now that diversity in the workforce is seen as advantage rather than a problem, management have been seeking every possible means to maintain the competitiveness of each and every member of the workforce, thereby benefiting the company in the end (Becker, 1964). Diversity in the workplace has taken on a new face today. Nowadays, workplace diversity is no longer just about the issue of anti-discrimination compliance. Leveraging workplace diversity is increasingly seen as a vital strategic resource for competitive advantage of the people and of the business.

More companies are linking workplace diversity to their strategic goals and objectives. Because of this, the human resource department (HRD) plays a key role in diversity management and leadership to create and empower an organizational culture that fosters a respectful, inclusive, knowledge-based environment where each employee has the opportunity to learn, grow and meaningfully contribute to the organization’s success (Jayne and Dipboye, 2004). Organizations intending to introduce multiculturalism in their workforce have two avenues of guidance.

Organizations can base their structures on multicultural pedagogy and team management theory to help them prepare for an increasingly diverse workforce. Companies can benefit from academic studies, which have already provided an outline of difficulty. Pedagogical methodologies facilitate the re-conception of the relationship between the self and the ‘other’, and the active participation in the learning process. On the other hand, industry’s team management theory, which recommends participatory structures over hierarchical structures, offers methods for eradicating barriers and fostering unity.

In a multicultural setting, collective decision-making is more desirable than individual actions. It emphasizes the importance of cooperation and team goals (Hambrick et. al, 1998). With the increasingly multicultural workforce, companies are implementing programs to address diversity. It is suggested that industry’s own team management theory, which dismantles hierarchical structures in favor of participatory ones, suggests ways of dissolving barriers and creating unity. Working together to reach a common goal underlies team management theory.

Successful teams in industry support the fact that collective decision making is more productive than that of the individual. New workplace structures should focus not on individual change but on cooperation and team goals. Pedagogical methods of inclusivity and workplace teams can assist companies as they prepare for the increasingly diverse workforce (Hambrick et. al, 1998). Organizational structures based on multicultural pedagogy and team management theory can assist companies as they prepare for the increasingly diverse workforce.

Business organizations adopting a multicultural approach can profit from academic research, which defines the crux of multiculturalism as the problematic sharing of power and the valuing of difference. Pedagogical methodologies enable students to reconceived the relationship between the self and the “other” and to become active participants in the learning process (Hambrick et. al, 1998). Working together to reach a common goal underlies both collaborative/cooperative learning and team management theory.

Thus, new workplace structures – in response to the increasingly multicultural workforce – should focus on cooperation and team goals rather than on individual change. Further, communication plays a key role in working with others to achieve company goals, and thus, in the successful corporate shift to a multicultural, cooperative philosophy (Hambrick et. al, 1998). The desire to maintain individual identity operates in all employees — those within current corporate structures and those who attempt to enter them – and can create tensions between cultures.

Germaine Shames (1986) explains that cultures clash because individuals feel that their “own ways of behaving seem natural, right, and normal, and not merely the result of cultural conditioning”. Therefore, the culture shock that the “other” experiences is a “cumulative and debilitating state of disorientation, one that builds slowly from each experience in which the sufferer encounters contrary ways of perceiving, doing, and valuing things” (Shames, 1986). Such culture shock can result from differences in race, gender, physical ability, aptitudes, outlooks, backgrounds, and learning styles.

One aim of multicultural management is the reduction of such culture shock. Also, it is possible that work in small groups can create new corporate cultures for getting things done. Newcomers may have different approaches but will reach similar ends; therefore, true collaboration and negotiation can lead to positive results. Marlene Fine’s (1995) study of the multicultural success of nine organizations confirms that companies valuing “diverse cultural modes of being and interacting” do benefit from this approach, where “all cultural voices participate fully in setting goals and making decisions”.

Other studies reinforce these findings. George Henderson’s (1994) analysis concludes that successful culturally diverse organizations are able to build trust; “create an open, problem-solving climate”; allow widespread responsibility for decision making and for setting diversity goals; and foster increased “awareness of the diversify `process’ and its consequences for organization effectiveness”.

According to Henderson (1994), the “building blocks for a diversity program include team building, inter-group problem solving, confrontation meetings, goal-setting and planning, third-party facilitation, and consulting pairs”. Finally, Gary Heil’s (1993) study indicates that companies prosper when they reward experimentation, non-conformity, and the questioning of current practices.

In sum, successful diversity programs possess the basic components of well-functioning teams: trust; a non-judgmental atmosphere; conflict resolution and negotiation skills; goal-setting abilities; and pervasive individual responsibility. Thus, team theory facilitates diversity in organizations. With all of these being said, there is one final action that company managers must do in order to eliminate any sign of racial discrimination in the workplace and highlight the value of multiculturalism instead.

This final action should be the training for managers and all other enablers. Training for diversity is a natural step for companies that encourage participation of the individual through team management theory. In response to current workplace statistics, a recent survey by the Olsten Corporation concluded that nearly 50% of the responding companies indicated increases in the number of female and minority employees in the past five years (Spragins, 1993).

Many of the companies surveyed listed attitudes, communication, and training as the greatest challenges to managing diversity. Most businesses are accommodating diversity by improving corporate communications, observing religious holidays, offering training seminars, forming task forces, and offering management training. Similar to the teaching methods for multicultural classrooms, cultural awareness training in the workplace addresses communications issues, utilizing exercises to instill participants with a better understanding of other perspectives.

In addition, multicultural managers need to set goals and objectives and to understand “the beliefs, attitudes, and talents of various backgrounds” as well as the aspirations of minority employees; they need to “create systems that allow people of different cultures to work together to fulfill organizational objectives”. Such managers can work towards imparting self-esteem, discovering what each worker can contribute, and teaching the rules of the corporate game (Spragins, 1993). The starting point in all cultural diversity training programs is an analysis of the self.

Most employees are unaware of their own biases, how they are formed, and how they emerge in the workplace in overt and subtle ways. Thus, good multicultural managers should have an understanding of themselves; be able to communicate effectively through verbal and non-verbal messages; be respectful and empathetic; and understand other cultures’ “sense of time, concept of work, and basic beliefs” (Casares, 1993). Managers who lack some of these qualities can develop them through training programs.

In many ways, cultural awareness training is the key to developing effective managers. For example, managers need to learn what is offensive to other cultures in terms of grooming, dress, and communication methods as well as understand that what is perceived as “odd” behavior is really just different (Shames, 1986). Through management and employee workshops, trainers can utilize case studies and role plays to sensitize participants. Also, “diversity” modules can be incorporated into other courses.

Companies that promote mentors and on-site training will have the most success with multicultural issues. Training of new employees should include information about company conventions because mastering such customs becomes a “ticket of admission to a group” and a way to establish membership in an organization (Shames, 1986). All these actions and plans, when executed properly, will provide the much needed change for the Asians, Blacks and other minority groups – and that is the elimination of discrimination, especially in the work place.

Cite this Racism in the Workplace

Racism in the Workplace. (2017, Mar 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/racism-in-the-workplace/

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