Category Archives: Discrimination

An Antiracist Index for State Level Assessment

Source: Samantha June Larson, State and Local Government Review, OnlineFirst, Published March 24, 2022
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From the abstract:
In 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified white supremacists as the most lethal threat in America. White supremacy is a system rooted in racist policies and ideas that produce and normalize racial inequities. Combatting white supremacism thus requires identification and promotion of antiracist policies, actions, and systemic changes. This study constructs an Antiracist Index comprised of 15 indicators to assess the degree to which American states exhibit antiracist conditions across political, economic, and cultural dimensions. Indices are rank-ordered for all 50 states, from Very High to Very Low scores. Results demonstrate that three indicators—self-defense laws, gun ownership, and support for Black Lives Matter—primarily impact both high and low ranking states. The Antiracism Index thus serves as an exploratory assessment tool which enables state-by-state comparisons, identification of antiracist indicators, and the ability to monitor changes in racism and antiracism moving forward.

Representing Personal and Professional Identities in Policing: Sources of Strength and Conflict

Source: Andrea M. Headley, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022
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From the abstract:
Representing diverse identities in government is important for equal employment, symbolic benefits, and opportunities to improve public service outcomes. This article uses qualitative interviews with 32 frontline police officers to examine the ways in which personal and professional identities intersect to promote or impede those benefits. The findings highlight how holding similar sociodemographic identities with the public can be a source of strength as it pertains to promoting shared understanding and reducing the social distance that comes with identity incongruence. However, internal identity conflicts arise as White officers overcome culture shock and endure learning curves, whereas officers of color navigate the dual pressures of empathetic treatment (that comes with shared personal identity) versus arms-length treatment (that comes with professional identification). Even then, as seen in this study, the way officers treat and interact with the community is imperative and can overcome symbolic identity barriers.

Intersectionality and Social Welfare: Avoidance and Unequal Treatment among Transgender Women of Color

Source: Adam M. Butz, Tia Sherèe Gaynor, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022
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From the abstract:
This research adds to the emergent literature on intersectionality and public administration through examining how transgender women of color (trans WOC) are interacting with U.S. social welfare offices. It is our contention that trans WOC, facing a compounded set of negative stereotypes derived from racial and gender identities, will be more likely than other transgender identifying persons to: (1) avoid seeking out public welfare benefits and (2) be more likely to report experiencing discriminatory treatment in social welfare offices. Using data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey we uncover evidence that trans WOC are more likely to avoid social welfare offices and face discrimination in social welfare offices. Scholars and administrators of social welfare programs, including Social Security related benefits, should be aware of the potential for public benefit avoidance and administrative discrimination directed toward historically marginalized groups and prioritize social equity considerations among clients facing compounded intersectional barriers.

Representative Bureaucracy Theory and the Implicit Embrace of Whiteness and Masculinity

Source: Shannon Portillo, Nicole Humphrey, Domonic A. Bearfield, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022

From the abstract:
Throughout much of representative bureaucracy literature, scholars have primarily focused on the representation of people seen as other in the professional workforce—people of color and women. However, whiteness and masculinity have been central to the development of public administration as a field of scholarship and practice. As a field, we have often avoided explicit discussions regarding the impact whiteness and masculinity. We argue that silences around race and gender have significant implications. Using representative bureaucracy as a frame, we seek to highlight how acknowledging whiteness and masculinity in our scholarship can help provide a more comprehensive understanding of race and gender in public administration.

Is There a Glass Cliff in Local Government Management? Examining the Hiring and Departure of Women

Source: Lang Kate Yang, Laura Connolly, Jennifer M. Connolly, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022
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From the abstract:
Women are underrepresented in public sector leadership positions, including municipal management. We examine one explanation that may contribute to gender inequity in the profession—a “glass cliff” phenomenon whereby councils are more likely to hire women as managers during difficult times, increasing the likelihood for women to fail in the position. Using original observational data on municipal managers in Florida, we test whether municipalities are more likely to hire women during times of fiscal stress and whether women are more likely than men to leave the position if municipal finances do not improve. Our results show that increasing budget deficits are associated with municipalities hiring women as managers. Post-appointment, a lack of improvement in the deficit condition is associated with a higher probability of women, but not men, leaving the position. A glass cliff in municipal management could be one factor that hinders women from advancing within the field.

Recognizing and Responding to Microaggressions at Work

Source: Ella F. Washington, Harvard Business Review, May 10, 2022
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Microaggressions, the insensitive statements, questions, or assumptions aimed at traditionally marginalized identity groups can happen to anyone, of any background, at any professional level. The research is clear about the impact seemingly innocuous statements can have on one’s physical and mental health, especially over the course of an entire career: increased rates of depression, prolonged stress and trauma, physical concerns like headaches, high blood pressure, and difficulties with sleep. Getting better at noticing and responding to microaggressions — and at being more aware of our everyday speech — is a journey, one with a real effect on our mental health and well-being at work. Microaggressions affect everyone, so creating more inclusive and culturally competent workplace cultures means each of us must explore our own biases in order to become aware of them. The goal is not to be fearful of communicating with each other, but instead to embrace the opportunity to be intentional about it. Creating inclusive cultures where people can thrive does not happen overnight. It takes a continuous process of learning, evolving, and growing.

Is Generational Prejudice Seeping into Your Workplace? Age stereotypes can undermine your programs, policies, and decision-making.

Source: Kristi DePaul and Vasundhara Sawhney, Harvard Business Review, March 8, 2022
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If you had to name three characteristics of Millennials or Gen Zers right now, you probably could, right? But your generalizations may be largely borne from stereotypes. And they’re not just momentarily unhelpful; they influence everything from how we perceive and treat our colleagues to how we design processes at work. If generational differences aren’t as big as we think, how do we make our workplaces, policies, and processes rely less on assumptions and more on ideologies that aren’t rooted in age? First, understand the history of generational stereotypes at work, who has benefited from them, and why we like to place people into buckets. Next, learn how to create prejudice-free processes and policies that can work for all employees, irrespective of birth year.

Regulatory Spillover and Workplace Racial Inequality

Source: Letian Zhang, Administrative Science Quarterly, OnlineFirst, Published March 18, 2022
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From the abstract:
This article suggests that regulations targeting the U.S. public sector may influence racial inequality in the private sector. Since the 1990s, nine states have banned affirmative action practice in public universities and state governments. I theorize that although these bans have no legal jurisdiction over private-sector firms, they could influence such firms normatively. After such a ban, executives who have been skeptical of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policies may feel more normative license to reduce commitment to EEO practices. Using a difference-in-differences estimation on 11,311 firms from 1985 to 2015, I find that the bans are indeed associated with slower racial progress in private-sector firms: after a state adopts the affirmative action ban, growth in the proportion of Black managers in establishments with corporate headquarters in that state slows by more than 50 percent, and this slowdown is mostly concentrated in firms with politically conservative CEOs. These findings suggest a mechanism for the persistence of racial inequality and show that regulations can influence actors well beyond legal jurisdictions.

Up to No Good? Gender, Social Impact Work, and Employee Promotions

Source: Christiane Bode, Michelle Rogan, Jasjit Singh, Administrative Science Quarterly, Volume: 67 issue: 1, March 2022
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From the abstract:
Firms increasingly offer employees the opportunity to participate in firm-sponsored social impact initiatives expected to benefit the firm and employees. We argue that participation in such initiatives hinders employees’ advancement in their firms by reducing others’ perceptions of their fit and commitment. Because social impact work is more congruent with female than male gender role stereotypes, promotion rates will be lower for participating men, and male evaluators will be less likely than female evaluators to recommend promotion for male participants. Using panel data on 1,379 employees of a consulting firm, we find significantly lower promotion rates for male participants relative to female participants, female non-participants, and male non-participants. A vignette experiment involving 893 managers shows that lower promotion rates are due to lower perceptions of fit, but not commitment, and greater bias against male participants by male evaluators. Taken together, the results of the two studies suggest that the negative effect of participation on promotion is conditional upon participant and evaluator gender, underscoring the role of gender in evaluation of social impact work. In settings in which decision makers are predominately male, gender beliefs may limit male employees’ latitude to contribute to the firm’s social impact agenda.

Unpacking the Status-Leveling Burden for Women in Male-Dominated Occupations

Source: M. Teresa Cardador, Patrick L. Hill, Arghavan Salles, Administrative Science Quarterly, Volume: 67 issue: 1, March 2022
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From the abstract:
The challenges faced by women in male-dominated occupations are often attributed to the men in, and masculine cultures of, these occupations—and sometimes to senior women in these occupations who may fail to give a “leg up” to the women coming up behind them. As such, prior research has largely focused on challenges that women experience from those of higher or equal status within the occupation and on the negative climate that surrounds women in these positions. We introduce a novel challenge, the status-leveling burden, which is the pressure put on women in male-dominated occupations from women in occupations lower in the institutional hierarchy to be their equal. Drawing on interviews with 45 surgeons, we present a model that unpacks this status-leveling burden. Our research makes novel contributions to the literatures on challenges to women in male-dominated occupations and on shared demography in cross-occupational collaboration, and it suggests new avenues for research at the intersection of gender and occupational status in the workplace.