Discrimination, diversity, affirmative action and racial justice

Diversity, discrimination and racial justice in the workplace have always been ongoing topics. In recent years, affirmative action (or positive discrimination) shed a new light on racial justice, some perceiving it as a plain form of discrimination, that is, to discriminate against a group of people to benefit another. Various definitions can be found online regarding racial justice and racial discrimination. The following video takes you through a tour of equality, diversity and discrimination in the workplace. Think about your own experience in the workplace, have you seen or experienced similar discrimination?

Many organizations and governmental bodies have created and sponsored the fight against racial discrimination. One such organizations is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with a Racial Justice Program that strives to create equality  by putting an emphasis on groups who have seen their rights restrained in the past. The ACLU's statement is as followed:

"The ACLU Racial Justice Program aims to preserve and extend constitutionally guaranteed rights to people who have historically been denied their rights on the basis of race. The Program is committed to upholding racial equality and combating racism in all forms".

One way to cope with racial justice at work was the introduction of affirmative action in the 1960s. But what is affirmative action?

By definition, affirmative action (or positive discrimination) is the policy of favoring members of a disadvantaged group who are perceived to suffer from discrimination within a culture.

The following video gives a good overview of affirmative action:

The concept of affirmative action was introduced in the United States as a way to combat racial discrimination in the hiring process, and by 1967, the concept was expended to include sex. The affirmative action treaty signed on March 6th, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy reads that government employers "not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin and take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin".

Over the years, polemics have been growing against affirmative action, some arguing that positive discrimination defeats the purpose of its implementation to not discriminate against certain groups.

Some of the concerns are addressed in the two videos below. Should we move from a race based affirmative action to a need based affirmative action; and finally, should there be whites-only scholarships?

Racial justice in the workplace has always been an issue and remains one as of today. Is there a way to be fair when companies have to meet quotas and ask for employees to provide anonymous and optional information regarding their gender, race and color? What is the point of gathering such optional and anonymous data if employers claim to not hire based on race, color, creed, national origin or sex? Is it really the case?

Racial Profiling by Police

Racial profiling is the practice of observing certain characteristics like race, ethnicity, religion or national origin as indicators of criminal behavior. Studies on racial profiling show that it is a less effective way of apprehending what would be criminals. It also alienates police officers from the community they are protecting.
Racial profiling is a violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Nevertheless, there is much evidence in the news of police officers using this as a tool for targeting suspected criminals despite if the individuals are engaged in criminal activities. Most people would agree that those of color are treated differently from their white counterparts. When White America is exposed to the same biases of racial profiling then, we will see an end to this illegal practice.

Police officers would be more successful if they applied behavioral profiling (also known as criminal profiling). Drug courier profile would include spare tire in back seat to make room in trunk or good-guy decals such as pro-police stickers; instead of racial profiling to targeting suspected criminals. What are your thoughts on behavioral profiling vs. racial profiling?

Seattle and Racial Justice

On April 2014, the Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has signed an executive order affirming the City's commitment to the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), expanding the program's work to include measurable outcomes, greater accountability, and community-wide efforts to achieve racial equity throughout Seattle.

The Initiative works within City government and with community leaders to get to the root cause of racial inequity: institutional racism. The RSJI's goal is to make Seattle into a city where...

Some of you might applaud the Seattle government on the RSJI for it does give a nice ring to the idea of equality and racial justice. However, there are also opposing view. The RSJI can be viewed by some as the city maneuver to impose socialistic views and policies on its constituents. Libertarians could state that RSJI is an assault on traditional and constitutional American values such as self-reliance, equal justice, and individual liberty.

Here is a video of the opposing view:

The debate remains open, and it is up to you to make your own opinion on racial justice in the workplace.

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