Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why Defend a Racist Worker Causing Strife in the Company?

Some people who read this blog or even think about the concept of racism at work probably think that most of the people making complaints are just whiners, who don't want to take responsibility for some alleged short-comings.

In their minds, what some of us consider a workplace racist is really just someone who has been misunderstood by an employee who is a race-baiter and who is just looking to throw around the race-card.

Some people probably sympathize with employers because it must be incredibly difficult to deal with so-called false charges being levied by Black workers, who simply like to portray themselves as victims.

That's just reality. Some people will never believe that real hard-core racism (covert and overt) is still a problem in the American workplace. And, even if they do, some people don't believe that the average employer would protect someone engaging in racist behavior...illegal behavior in the workplace. So, if an employer denies racism, well, for some people, the mindset is that there must not be anything there. Why would anyone protect a racist at work?

Well, a racist may be protected by a coworker, manager, director, HR staff, or executives for a number of reasons, including:

(1) A person engaged in racially offensive/illegal behavior finds a “soul mate,” another racist who is willing to put their own job and reputation on the line to keep the racist’s job safe and who may aid in targeting a complaining employee with abuse;

(2) A belief that the company will avoid any legal or financial jeopardy if there is a cover-up about a racially-based incident and pressure is applied to a complaining employee in order to silence them or run them out of their job;

(3) Friendships/cliques jump into action to protect one of their own by executing a plan to protect the guilty party, while possibly targeting the complaining employee through slander, harassment, retaliation, etc;

(4) Departmental loyalties may work to protect the guilty party, even if they have a reputation of causing racial strife in their department or throughout the workplace;

(5) A desire to advance or show company loyalty may prompt an employee to bear false witness against a complaining employee;

(6) Some employees simply like to stir up trouble or assist in troublemaking, without any thought of reward/benefit;

(7) Executing a vendetta against a complaining/targeted employee by assisting in their race-based mistreatment. The vendetta could be rooted in jealousy, an inability to bully or dominate the complaining employee or out of a sense of competition with the complaining employee;

(8) Financial reward, promotions or other benefits may be offered by management to anyone willing to bear false witness against a complaining employee. Of course, this collusion is done in secret and can be hard to prove/uncover; and

(9) A high-powered protector makes it clear to other staff (including high-level staff) that they are not to get involved in the incident, especially by coming to the aid of the complaining employee.

The reasons for protecting people, who engage in potentially illegal activity, are too numerous to name and probably can't all be known. I mean, who can really say why anyone would protect a workplace racist? The reasons probably wouldn't make sense to most of us.

But, the problem is that people do protect racists. And, they deny that what they are doing is racist. Some may make themselves believe that the victim is simply hypersensitive and blowing things out of proportions.

The fact is, denial and protection are two of the biggest reasons that racists are able to thrive in workplaces around the country and how they continue to be gainfully employed...even promoted.

Until we take a real look at EVEYRONE'S actions in the workplace, not just the racist, we will always be struggling to defeat on-the-job racism.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Wills, That was a great read.
There are so many reasons and they are all wrongheaded!
Drue

2:21 PM  
Blogger Fighter said...

This is very powerful & true. One of the racists at my workplace has been promoted. Typical!

5:12 PM  

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