A Gallup poll in 2020 revealed that 18% of the 8,000 respondents felt they had experienced some racial discrimination in the workplace in the past year. That figure included people of all races.
There are a few misunderstandings when it comes to race discrimination and how it happens. It does not have to occur only because a person is of a certain race. The federal definition also includes other situations that could spawn racial discrimination.
Association with a particular race
Racial discrimination can emerge due to an individual’s association with a specific racial group. This may include friends, family members or a spouse. It also extends to casual connections, such as social circles or event participation.
Association discrimination is a subtle yet pervasive form of racial discrimination that can take root without anyone noticing. A person may not realize their relationships are at the heart of the treatment they are receiving.
Discrimination can manifest when others think an individual has characteristics associated with a particular race. People may look at hair texture, facial features or skin color and assume a person is part of a certain race even if that person is not. This type of discrimination underscores the importance of recognizing and valuing individuals for who they truly are, rather than making hasty judgments based on appearances.
Acknowledging that racial discrimination can happen to someone who is not even part of a particular race is essential to recognize when it is occurring. Only in understanding all the ways in which someone may discriminate is there a hope to rectify these practices within the workplace, fostering an environment of equality and respect.