How To Address Racial Discrimination

It is hard to believe sometimes that even in a highly modernized era, and in a continually globalizing world, issues like racial discrimination still exist in some areas, including the workplace. History has blatantly shown us lessons on the drastic consequences of hardcore racial discrimination, but some people just don't learn. Even laws have been set up to address this issue, but it's still a problem that some people inevitably find themselves faced with. So, what do you do if you are in a situation at work which clearly spells racial discrimination? Here's some advice to keep in mind that could help you deal with this very sensitive issue.

  • Know and fight for your rights. All human beings are created equal, whether under the law or as dictated by one's religious and moral beliefs. The fact is that no one race is superior to another and no one race has the right to discriminate against people of another race. Today, discrimination may not be as blatant as it was decades and even centuries ago, but it is still real and statistics show that most cases occur in the work environment. In 2005 alone, 27,411 race discrimination cases were filed in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the US, the federal government agency that regulates and handles workplace discrimination cases. Most charges were filed by African-Americans. Prejudice racial in nature is ingrained in one's beliefs and we can't change people's beliefs overnight. What we can do is be aware of our rights as citizens and the provisions dictated by the law so that when someone commits an act of racial discrimination against us, we know that our rights have been violated and we may call upon the law to back us up. A particular law is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which aims to protect individuals against employment discrimination which is also based upon one's race, gender, age, sex, religion, national origins, etc. It stipulates that job-related concerns are to be based on a person's merit and performance, and not on his race, gender, sex, religion, etc.
  • Gather evidence and consult someone in authority. If you feel like you are being discriminated, or have been offended with regard to your race, inform your employer or someone in authority. Some examples and scenarios include being publicly ridiculed or called derogatory names, being the subject of or being told race discriminating jokes, being harassed, shown contempt or an offensive act, etc. If this doesn't happen for one time only, make sure to record what has happened in detail, so you will have evidence to back you up. Make a full written account including the exact words said and remarks made, the actions itself, even the time and date. When you have done all that you could and consulted your employer about the issue, it is up to him to decide what action should be taken upon the offender, or to follow what is stated in the company rules for handling situations like racial discrimination.

If, however, the employer has been given enough time to resolve the issue and doesn't do anything about it or has taken ineffective action, or in some cases that the employer itself is the offender, it is time to notify and consult the EEOC. The EEOC will be responsible in carrying out investigations, interviews, and depending on the degree of the offense, will also enforce appropriate action on the offender like charging a hefty fine, revoking business or employment/professional license, taking instruction and training courses on federal laws covering regulation of racial discrimination or a combination of any or all of these.


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