Imagine being a young Black girl who is constantly worried about racial discrimination in the workplace. Well, that’s me every day. I ask myself, “Will I get the same opportunities as everyone else?” My name is Amyah Foster. I am in the 8th Grade attending Meridian PCS. Racism towards African Americans in the workplace is damaging to society. The government needs to put new policies and standards in place to help reduce discrimination against minorities in America.
African Americans are uncomfortable in the workplace, and this reduces their ability to do their job. According to a recent study published in Harvard Business Review, “…[overall] people of color are 37% more likely than whites to feel that they need to compromise their authenticity at work to conform to conventional standards of executive presence. ‘You’re like a chameleon, constantly changing the way you are.” African Americans tend to change the way they look and act to conform to the traditional ideas of professionalism. This evidence showcases how people of color feel we have to change ourselves to please managers and colleagues. According to Vital Smarts, a leadership training company, approximately 2/3 of victims of discrimination said that discrimination in the workplace has affected their engagement, morale, interest, mental health, and desire to advance. This is affecting people’s mental health and confidence in their work environment. How are people supposed to do their job and become successful if they are constantly encountering racial bias and discrimination? We need to change companies’ structures to help attack racial bias.
Companies need to examine their hiring practices and seek feedback from minority employees to prevent discrimination and improve workplace culture. Companies need to prioritize pouring money into diversity training and put new policies and standards into place to prevent racial discrimination from happening.
Title VII (7) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a law that “[makes] it illegal to discriminate against someone based on race, color, religion, national origin or sex. This law also protects employees against retaliation for going forward with a claim regarding discrimination in the workplace.” It’s heartbreaking that it has been 67 years since this law was introduced and racism is still happening. Title VII was recently invoked by a Black woman suing Amazon for racial discrimination. She was offered a role that was one pay grade below the job she had interviewed for, yet asked to perform senior manager duties. Some people may argue that the Civil Rights Act is working because people can claim racial discrimination without getting punished. However, true progress would live in a scenario where this highly qualified Black woman could apply her unique resources toward bettering her work environment as a senior manager without having to fight her employer in court for equitable justice. This is showing how this Civil Rights Act is not being enforced. The right to call out foul play is not the same thing as fair play.
In conclusion, racism towards African Americans in the workplace is unacceptable. To change this, we need to invest in diversity training for companies. Also, companies should consult with minorities to reduce racial discrimination. To be active and fight this problem, visit whitehouse.gov/contact/ to write a message for the executive branch encouraging them to prioritize the enforcement of Title VII. Let’s fight for justice and end racism together!