Can discrimination occur in a majority that has become the minority?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2013 | Workplace Discrimination |

When most people in Indiana think about racial discrimination, we often times think about a minority racial group. Whether we think of an African American or another racial group, we are really boiling it down to a minority group who we feel are not receiving equal treatment in the workplace or other situation.

On the flip side, when people are asked what they think of as the majority, people across the nation will respond overwhelmingly with this answer: Caucasian. If we delve into this idea of majority a little more, we see the answer evolve into that of: heterosexual white male.

According to most people, this description of the majority in no way fits the description of a minority group; in fact, the general consensus nowadays is that this group of people still has the “privilege” when it comes to things like getting into college or receiving a good-paying job. But recent surveys of straight white men seems to be suggesting that what was once considered the majority, has quickly turned into a minority.

A survey conducted by Sandra Miles, a university ombudsman at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, seems to suggest that white males are facing considerable discrimination in the workplace now more than they have in the past. “I feel that being a white male often makes me a target within the higher ed community,” explains one respondent to the survey. Another respondent even described a time in which another coworker simply chalked a promotion to a new position up to “white privilege” instead of talent or skill.

But while some would balk at this, Miles explains that this is happening more than we think. As businesses and companies push towards equality, there is the slight chance that a majority may become a minority. And in situations where this is the case, workers may feel compelled to speak out actions what they feel is discrimination. But according to Miles’ survey, some workers who have complained say they have been met with retaliation such as termination from their jobs simply because they don’t fit the company’s expectation of what a minority is.

Cases of discrimination can sometimes get complicated like this and require legal representation to help both parties come to a resolution. It’s important to remember that as overwhelming as the situation may seem, having the right help on your side could make all the difference in the end.

Source: Inside Higher Ed, “Majority Disaffection,” Allie Grasgreen, March 22, 2013


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