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The Issues of Racism and Sexism in The Workplace Today

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The workplace is a place where millions of Americans spend 8-10 hours a day completing their daily job duties in order to provide for themselves and their families. Many companies across the country enforce strict rules and guidelines when it comes to the diversity within the workplace and the manner their employees should act. Of course these rules are set for the world to see that particular companies do care about the racism and sexism that persist within the world. Giving the public an understanding and sense of relief that certain companies care about such problems is a great way of fooling the public. Racism and sexism persist within majority of workplaces in the United States according to surveys and personal testimonies from victims on the west coast all the way to the east coast. Evidence shows that the mistreatment of minorities is still occurring the workplace today. Gender inequality is a cancer of the workplace as well, women usually are the ones being affected. The treatment of women in the workplace has come along way, however, there is still such a far distance to travel until the treatment of women in the workplace changes. Racism and sexism are still factors in the workplace that must be changed in order to better the working environment for millions of Americans. 

The United States of America was literally built off the backs of African slaves in the Confederate South between the 17th and 19th century. During this time period racism was at an all time and these values were embedded into people to actually think that the mindset of hating or believing you are better than the minority was true and powerful. People are taught these things from the mainstream media, their parents and peers. Fast forwarding into the 21st century in the year 2019, racism is still a cancer plaguing the United States. Racism begins with the people entertaining and supporting racist behavior however, what are the chances that a company can determine if someone is racist or not? Nine times out of ten an interviewer won’t detect racist behavior from a possible candidate for an open position. According to that thesis, companies don’t know that their workplace is filled with people who come from a racist background because they won’t display that kind of behavior at the time of an interview. Women of color are victims of racism and discrimination on a daily basis within the workplace especially black women. At one point in time in American history women, even if they were white, weren’t even allowed positions in the workplace. The workplace at one point in time was completely male dominated. This was a time when the man was the main breadwinner of majority households in the country. The woman or wife mainly stayed in the house and took care of those responsibilities while the male was at work. It is now 2019 and not 1955, American women have transformed the workplace due to their increasing presence within many businesses and companies across the country. 

Racism in the workplace is a difficult subject to discuss, whether you’re an employee or a manager but that conversation must be sparked in order to figure out ways of preventing racism amongst women of color within the workplace. Racism and sexism are two of the biggest issues within the workplace because living in a country built off of it increases the chances of that behavior and mindset plaguing its way into the workplace. Employees can’t sit around and wait for management or corporate to step in and change the workplace environment. The employees must be the one who enforce the change and make the proper people aware that this behavior is going on within their company and change must be brought to the table. For example, the recent teacher strikes that took place throughout the country was sparked by the employees. Even though their cause dealt with pay and benefits the employees made it their responsibility to change their workplace. Sexuality and the workplace are two different entities that shouldn’t coincide with each other because the workplace isn’t a place for sexual behavior. Homosexuality is a touchy subject in the workplace. Most companies ensure that homophobia is not allowed nor tolerated in their workplaces but of course there still is a presence of homophobia occurring within the workplace today. At the end of the day, no matter how a person chooses to live their life respecting them as human being should always be first. Understanding a person’s story and background can explain their actions towards certain people in the workplace but that doesn’t justify their actions or remarks to people living the way they live. As employees, they must understand that we are all here to perform a job and whatever they do outside of the workplace is nobody business but theirs. 

When dealing with racism, gender inequality and homophobia in the workplace finding a way of tackling the issue is very important. First of all, the change begins with the employees themselves because everybody should be held accountable for the actions that take place in certain workplaces. Many employees find allies within their coworkers to determine who supports them and who doesn’t. It’s pretty easy to tell the mindset and behaviors of the individuals who will not ally with the people that have been affected by the racism, sexism and homophobia that occurs. Holding people accountable for their actions will produce the change certain people want to see within their workplace. At a point in time, enough is enough and the propers actions must be taken in order for the correct changes to be made to rid out of all the racist and sexist people within the company. Of course, there are some individuals who choose to stay silent with their ordeals and experiences in the workplace. These select few of individuals are given hotlines and other channels of resources to deal with such behavior occurring and affecting them first hand. Understanding a person’s privacy must be respected at all times and doing things in a secretive and private way is simply their choice. That’s why certain companies in the country offer these forms of therapy for their employees. Minorities within the workplace experience discrimination on a daily basis. Whether it’s coming from their coworkers or management the disappointing actions should be prohibited within the workplace. Having a prejudice towards someone or a group of people is a common character trait amongst many Americans. Unfortunately, some are unaware to the fact that they display prejudice characteristics whether it be the way they communicate or simply by the way they look at another individual. Certain aspects of the workplace isn’t going to change anytime soon if the employees wait for someone else to jump in and save them from discrimination. The problem with attacking discrimination and being successful in it lies within the values of American society. Living in a nation that deals with racism and discrimination outside of the workplace will eventually lead to it filtering into the workplace because the people that work their have lives outside of work. Who knows what some of our coworkers do outside of work but it’s a strong possibility that their actions outside will always filter inside because he or she isn’t the only one participating in racist and discriminatory events. 

Discrimination within the workplace is something that is tearing the integrity of many companies apart. When reports of racism and discrimination start sparking up within certain companies, these reports often lead to these companies losing in performance and overall success. In a time where everything is in reach of being obtained mainly due to technological advances over the last ten years reports of discrimination and racism are constantly being reported because this change needs to occur within the workplace Stereotypes are a dangerous way of assuming a person’s actions or thoughts depending on the situation at hand. There are thousands of stereotypes that are associated with all kinds of people from all walks of life. The problem concerning stereotypes is that it always finds it way in a conversation. However, these conversations can take place at the workplace and disrespect the person the stereotype is associated with. We are living in a time where people aren’t at tough as they use to be; some would say the United States has become soft on a few issues. People are hyper-sensitive these days and certain phrases and stereotypical observations and comments could leave a coworker sad. “Being black” in the workplace is truly an uphill battle for the majority of black people working in corporate America. The battle between staying silent and voicing your opinion is a common battle that most employees deal with. On a daily basis, black people are reminded who they are and where they come from in the eyes of the majority. However, those point of views are often misconstrued by the majority and the minority must act in a certain way in order for that stereotypical observation to be false and broken. The tough part about this problem in the workplace is that many coworkers view the world different from the way the minority experiences it. For example, workplace conversations are slippery slopes especially when the topic is controversial. An example of a controversial topic would be the overall treatment of blacks by law enforcement officers. To some, the minority, this topic of conversation is important and vital to figuring out a solution for black and brown people. However, the majority, feels as if the topic isn’t that important and will be quick to change the subject because it’s not “workplace appropriate”. Negative stereotypes on specific groups of people forces certain individuals to act a certain way because 9 times out of 10 the majority will use a certain stereotype against you. 

Sexism is a phenomenon that’s been occurring since the beginning of time. By definition, sexism is a prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender. Sexism can affect anyone, but it primarily affects women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another. For example, “Get back in the kitchen”, is a sexist, offensive and stereotypical comment that should never be made to any woman. However, phrases such as these do find their ways into the workplace and therefore bringing a sexist vibe to the workplace. This would make any woman uncomfortable within their workplace trying to complete their daily job requirements. It might not be what you signed up for but it’s definitely the place you applied to work so change the culture and atmosphere. The Women’s Rights Movement of the 1970s was a special time in the fight for women’s rights in America. Feminism began making waves through the country like wild fire. These women were demanding other women to take charge of their future and destiny. Basically trying to form a new way of doing things for women instead of the traditional housewife, take care of the kids lifestyle. Sex was everywhere in the 1970s and women were becoming sexually liberated by the day. Of course, women wanted their voices and opinions to be heard out of the bedroom so millions of them took to the street demanding that women liberate themselves sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally. August 31st, 1970 TIME Magazine published an article detailing the demands of women across the country titled, “Who’s Come a Long Way, Baby”. What a time to be alive as women take the forefront’s of the battlefield in order to take down the powers that be. ‘They want equal pay for equal work, and a chance at jobs traditionally reserved for men only. They seek nationwide abortion reform — ideally, free abortions on demand. They desire round-the-clock, state-supported child-care centers in order to cut the apron strings that confine mothers to unpaid domestic servitude at home. The most radical feminists want far more. Their eschatological aim is to topple the patriarchal system in which men by birthright control all of society’s levers of power — in government, industry, education, science, the arts (TIME Magazine, 1970).” One of the amazing features of the Women’s Rights Movement of the 1970s was the lack of attention on race between women. They came together as one no matter what race, religion or values they instilled. Many of them felt that they were being treated like second-class citizens. Despite making up more than half the American population, women were not admitted to colleges at the same rate as men or allowed equal pay or job opportunities. 

Now as we fast forward into 2019, women are still at a disadvantage within the confinements of the workplace. They still make less money then men do and also their voices and opinions aren’t taking into deep consideration such as a man’s opinion. We still find less woman holding executive positions within their represented companies. Men have dominated this part of the workplace for many years and still do today. Sexual harassment is something that should never be tolerated nor justified no matter the reason or cause. This phenomenon occurs within the workplace at a rate that some would believe is fabricated. The workplace is an interesting place because it seems as if the problems occurring within society trickles down into the workplace. Does society play a factor into the working environments in the country? Yes! If a person was to sit down, read and digest the current problems the workplace have been seeing more and more of they would have a firm connection between society and the workplace. Sexual harassment is a serious problem occurring within the United States and around the world as well. Gender inequality is a serious problem within the workplace and society as a whole. Making someone miss out on opportunities basically because they’re a woman is shallow and weak upon the person calling the shots. Gender inequality is a problem within the workplace that must be fixed as soon as possible. Women deserve the same opportunity that are giving to men on a daily basis. Gender inequality effects the household in a way that some probably won’t understand. In this economy today a one income household depending the salary could make it tough on the person and his family. 

Racism and sexism are still factors in the workplace that must be changed in order to better the working environment for millions of Americans. Discrimination in the workplace is not only stereotypical, but it’s physically and mentally draining. Sexism still impacts the world’s view of gender inequality. It is affecting many businesses in America and still today women continue to fight for a position. In order for us as a nation to overcome the racism and sexism that takes place in the workplace we must tackle it first within society. Of course, companies can have meetings and seminars proclaiming that they run a racist and sexist free environment but at the end of the day the big guns in corporate have no clue of the possible racist and sexist act that take place on a regular business day. 

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