Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Same Race Discrimination

I have new people coming to the site all the time. So, I sometimes like to reprint certain posts. Here’s one I’d like to share again regarding same race discrimination. I think it’s a problem that is easily overlooked and that can be confusing, since it's reasonable to question how the law looks upon the issue. Here’s the post on the subject:

I received a question, recently, that asked me if Federal law applies to cases of discrimination (harassment/retaliation) where the person doing the discriminating is of the same race as the person being discriminated against. It’s a very good question. I wanted to briefly share the answer, which is a resounding…


If a person’s rights are being infringed upon, it doesn’t matter what race the perpetrator represents.

And, yes, in case you’re wondering, there are Black people who will target each other simply because of race and/or color. We all come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives. Black people are no more homogenous than any other race. A light-skinned manager might commit color discrimination by targeting the only dark-skinned Black worker in her department because she has an inherent dislike for dark-skinned Blacks—a feeling she has vocalized by saying that dark-skinned Blacks are stupid, lazy, ghetto, embarrassing, etc. and making similar comments to her Black subordinate. Or, the opposite may be true with a dark-skinned manager harassing a light-skinned subordinate for being prissy, arrogant, a White wanna-be, etc.

In both examples, if the managers are impacting their subordinate’s ability to do his/her job (stripping them of assignments, transferring them to hard-to-reach locations, constant bullying, making threats against their jobs, bumping into them in the hallways, staring them down, refusing to answer phone messages or emails, etc.) these managers would likely be guilty of harassment because they’ve created a hostile work environment for the workers and have made it difficult or impossible for them to perform their duties. It doesn’t matter that the individuals involved are of the same race.

What matters is whether the complainant has received a significant and negative change in the conditions of his/her employment, which makes it hard to carry out the requirements of the job.

So, don’t feel that you have to tolerate mistreatment from a Black manager, coworker, etc. anymore than you would have to tolerate mistreatment from a White manager, coworker, etc. Treat infringements upon your rights in the same way!

Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are not just Black and White issues. We can mistreat each other and break Federal laws. Additionally, we can be subjected to abuse from other so-called minorities.

Remember, the same Federal prohibitions against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation apply to everyone.


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