Category Archives: Discrimination

Bad Jobs: The Overlooked Crisis in the Black Community

Source: Steven Pitts, New Labor Forum, Vol. 16 no. 1, Winter 2007

Thirty-five years after the end of the modern civil rights movement and the end of legal segregation, the United States still has a blind spot which renders invisible the impact of institutional racism on black life. In the arena of employment, this blind spot results in the limited view of the job crisis in the Black community – a view which focuses exclusively on unemployment. Just as white supremacy is rarely seen as a constituent aspect of U.S society, the plight of low-wage Black workers is rarely seen. The racism which only sees two segments of Black society – the elite who have made it and the “underclass” who has not – also keeps Blacks who toil in bad jobs in the shadows. This limited view results in a set of policies and programs which are ill equipped to address the complexities surrounding the reality of work facing Black Americans.

A Solution in Search of a Problem? Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and the New Public Service

Source: Sally Coleman Selden, Public Administration Review, November/December 2006, Vol. 66 no. 6

Since the arrival of equal opportunity and affirmative action in the 1960s, government employment has become a major force for social mobility among disadvantaged groups and had made the public workforce more broadly representative of the population at large. Is a representative workforce still necessary to ensure equitable outcomes? Alternatively, have societal attitudes changed sufficiently that a competent workforce – assembled on the basis of merit alone, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or gender – is capable of ensuring desired policy outcomes?

Unequal Pay: The Role of Gender

Source: Mohamad G. Alkadry and Leslie E. Tower, Public Administration Review, November/December 2006, Vol. 66 no. 6

This essay, reporting on the results of a large-scale nationwide survey of public employees, detects a persistent gender bias in government wages despite applicable antibias statutes, considerable advocacy by interest groups, and alleged social change over the last 30 years. A complex mix of factors contributes to this inequity, including glass ceilings, labor segregation, and shorter job tenure, presumably to fulfill traditional female family roles. So what can be done about such wage disparities based on gender?