Category Archives: Discrimination

Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past

Source: Smithsonian Institution, 2021

Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past offers a space for dialogue about race. It provides a safe and collaborative place where anyone can share experiences and increase their understanding of the legacy of race and racism.

Drawing on the breadth of the Smithsonian’s expertise, research, and collections, our goal is to help advance the work of others. Race and Our Shared Future provides an ecosystem of resources and experiences, both digital and live, featuring real conversations from local communities to national events.

Confronting race and racism is difficult, but necessary work. The Smithsonian strives to amplify your voices in our commitment to building a more equitable path toward our shared future.

Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past is built on six thematic pillars. Each is designed to make issues of race and systemic racism understandable, relevant, and, most importantly, changeable.

Attend an Upcoming Event
The Smithsonian is hosting in-person and virtual events designed to help all of us understand, experience, and confront race and racism. We’ll see you there.

Start New Classroom Conversations
From teaching toolkits to low-tech learning activities, the Learning Lab’s resources support classroom teachers’ efforts to amplify critical conversations about the history and legacy of race and racism in the United States and beyond with their students.

Research: How Companies Committed to Diverse Hiring Still Fail

Source: Judd Kessler and Corinne Low, Harvard Business Review, February 11, 2021
(subscription required)

Even if your company is committed to diversity inclusion, you might have hidden biases in your hiring strategies. According to recent research on the hiring practices at several prestigious firms, this can take several forms. For example, you might view unpaid internships more favorably than other types of summer jobs, which introduces socioeconomic bias. And you might think that minority and female candidates are less likely to accept a job if offered because so many other firms are also interested in hiring them (something, incidentally, the research doesn’t bear out); because of this, you might be less likely to pursue those candidates. So, if you’re truly committed to diversifying your organization, take a hard look at your hiring processes and face up the fact that they might not be as effective in practice as they are in intention.

I Am Not Your N*gger: Using State Legislation to Pursue Hostile Work Environment Claims Involving Racial Epithets

Source: Shawn Grant, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 72, Issue No. 2, Summer 2021
(subscription required)

Introduction
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that plaintiffs alleging racial harassment prove that the harassing conduct was so severe or pervasive as to create an abusive and hostile work environment. However, plaintiffs encounter obstacles to bringing hostile work environment claims, based on the use of racial epithets, such as the n-word. The “severe or pervasive” standard, as the Supreme Court has defined it through the Court’s decisions, and as some courts have interpreted it, creates a high bar to establishing a prima facie case. Frequently cases based on the single or isolated use of the n-word result in dismissal or summary judgment for defendants, depriving plaintiffs of the opportunity to have their cases heard by a jury. In many cases, the court’s concern with whether the use of the “n-word” is sufficiently “pervasive” to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment, has caused the severity of the impact of the word’s one time use on the victim to be overlooked. This has resulted in the current split among the circuit courts.

Dissatisfaction with the federal courts’ interpretation of the severe or pervasive standard and the implications for the increasing number of sexual harassment cases, due in part to the #MeToo movement, has led some states to enact legislation, or amend current laws, eliminating or narrowing the application of that standard. Victims of hostile work environment based on race, particularly those who are basing their claims on incidents involving the single use of the n-word, may have a greater chance of success by bringing their claims under the laws of states that have revised their legislation to reduce the interpretive barriers to such claims.

Effecting Real Progress in Executive Diversity and Inclusion

Source: Adam Payne and Dana Kaminstein, MIT Sloan Management Review, February 24, 2021
(subscription required)

Why diversity and inclusion efforts often fail to produce the intended changes, and proactive approaches leaders can take.

Well-run companies expect good returns on their spending, and leaders who continue to support initiatives that don’t produce results usually find themselves demoted or fired. So why have the billions of dollars that many organizations have spent on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts produced so little substantive progress toward greater diversity?

Numerous reports indicate that the percentage of Black people in the leadership ranks of large U.S. companies hovers at just above 3%. This percentage remains persistently low despite large investments in diversity and inclusion training, the creation of offices of diversity and inclusion, and other companywide initiatives. Studies now indicate that DEI training rarely improves an organization’s record of hiring or promoting Black people. Companies that bemoan a dearth of qualified Black candidates for leadership roles rarely consider that the hiring process itself may disqualify potential applicants of color.

Aware of the ways in which organizations defend themselves against change that threatens their social structures, philosopher and social theorist Donald Schön noted that organizations will “fight like mad to stay the same.”…

Breaking the Cycle of Bias That Works Against Women Leaders

Source: Maryam Kouchaki, Burak Oc, and Ekaterina Netchaeva, MIT Sloan Management Review, March 31, 2021
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Women are presented job opportunities differently than men — depending on the hiring manager’s political ideology.

It turns out that gender bias in hiring and advancement is more pervasive than we thought.

While progress has certainly been made toward workplace gender parity — some companies, for example, are writing more gender-balanced performance reviews — the reality is that women are still underrepresented in private-sector leadership positions. There are likely multiple drivers of this. Outright discrimination — denying women jobs on the basis of their gender rather than their skill sets — is certainly one. But another, harder-to-detect factor can contribute to the leadership gap: the tendency of some organizational decision makers to subtly dissuade women from pursuing leadership roles….

Related:
It’s a man’s world! The role of political ideology in the early stages of leader recruitment
Source: Burak Oc, Ekaterina Netchaeva, Maryam Kouchaki, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 162, January 2021
(subscription required)

Highlights
• Conservatives describe a leadership position less positively to a female candidate.
• Liberals do not demonstrate such gender bias.
• Conservatives experience greater anxiety when communicating with female candidates.
• Anxious decision makers describe the position less positively to candidates.

Abstract:
Previous research has demonstrated the impact of political ideology on a wide variety of psychological and behavioral processes. Contributing to this research, we examine the effect of organizational decision makers’ political ideology and job candidates’ gender on how the decision makers communicate information about leadership positions to the candidate. In five studies, we demonstrate that decision makers who are more conservative exhibit gender bias by providing a female (versus male) candidate with a less positive description of a leadership position, an effect driven by the decision makers’ felt anxiety. We further show that making information on women’s success in leadership positions salient diminishes the effect of political ideology insofar as both more and less conservative decision makers will exhibit similar levels of positivity when communicating with a prospective female candidate. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications of our findings.

How to Ensure Pay Equity for People of Color

Source: Michael A. Tucker, HR Magazine, Spring 2021

Employers are scrutinizing their pay policies to eliminate racial disparities.

….That slow progress and the United States’ bloody legacies prompt a fundamental question when the issue of pay equity and race is broached: How can the U.S. value the work of people of color if it doesn’t value people of color?…

How Inclusive Is Your Leadership?

Source: Salwa Rahim-Dillard, Harvard Business Review, April 19, 2021

Many managers are ill-equipped to lead and connect with Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) employees. Until white leaders become skilled at bridging (connecting with people different from them) and BIPOC leaders become skilled at bonding (connecting with people similar to them), BIPOC employees will not experience workplace inclusion. Hundreds of socially conscious CEOs have engaged in CEO activism and pledged their commitment to advance racial equity and inclusion. But many leaders (white and BIPOC) don’t know the explicit behaviors needed to implement the desired change. The author presents a research-based, multi-use performance, assessment, and training tool that provides behavioral descriptors to identify and measure a manager’s skill level at inclusively leading and authentically connecting with people from marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Impact of Compensation on Inclusive Organizations

Source: Muhammad Irfan, Omar K. Bhatti, Rashida K. Malik, Compensation & Benefits Review, Vol 53, Issue 3, 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Discrimination in compensation for minority groups and individuals with regard to gender, physical disability, religion, and culture affects inclusion in an organization. This study is a combination of two studies and endeavors to verify our initial inference that compensation gaps are significantly related to inclusion. A mixed method approach has been adopted; in first part of the study, compensation data obtained from 32 organizations (608 observations) have been analyzed quantitatively. The study finds significant correlation between components of compensation gaps and inclusion. Gender as basis of discrimination was found insignificantly correlated to compensation, while pay for performance was found negatively related to inclusion. We have proposed a model to predict feeling of inclusion if components of compensation and discriminatory factors are known. In second part of the study, based on 25 in-depth interviews, cognitive basis of compensation gaps has been divulged, and we conclude that implementation of compensation equity and removal of cognitive bases of discrimination seem mandatory actions for inclusion.

The Retention of Educators of Color Amidst Institutionalized Racism

Source: Ain A. Grooms, Duhita Mahatmya, Eboneé T. Johnson, Educational Policy, Vol 35, Issue 2, 2021
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From the abstract:
Representing approximately 20% of the workforce, educators of color (EOC) leave the field at a rate 25% higher than their White counterparts. Despite workforce diversification efforts, few studies investigate the psychosocial consequences of navigating racialized school climate as reasons EOC may leave the workforce. This study relies on survey data collected from educators of color (paraprofessionals through superintendents) across the state of Iowa. Applying a critical quantitative research design, we examined factors that link racialized school climate to their job satisfaction and psychological well-being. Findings indicate that a racialized school climate has a significant, direct effect on EOC’s race-based stress and professional racial self-efficacy. We argue that solely focusing on the retention of educations of color acts as a distraction from dismantling the institutionalized racism that continues to permeate our school systems.

Related:
How race-related stress could be driving educators of color away from the job
Source: Ain Grooms, The Conversation, April 13, 2021

When teachers of color experience high levels of race-based stress in schools, they can also have an increasingly negative sense of belonging, according to new research.

For the study, we analyzed survey data from educators of color across Iowa. To get at whether they were experiencing race-based stress, we asked whether the educators felt supported raising concerns with their peers about racism in schools or if they felt the need to ignore or avoid it. I conducted this research along with my colleagues – education researcher Duhita Mahatmya and community and behavioral health professor Eboneé Johnson.

Teachers reported less support from colleagues than did principals. Over 75% of the teachers in our sample (175 out of 229) reported a negative sense of belonging, especially when they thought school districts would not devise policies to actively address equity and racism.