Social problem according to Mooney, Knox, & Schacht (2012) refers to the existence of an undesirable behavior or perception that at least a few people can spot. A social problem would probably be identified by the affected group that the feels the oppression against those who perpetrates it. The American society is ethnically diverse and this condition has brought about the issues of racial discrimination where the dominant or in-groups discriminate against the minority groups. The Latinos for instance, are discriminated against and this may affect their pursuit of professional deployment in the corporate institutions. The problem begins at education level and translates into career development. The majority groups dominate their minority counterparts and this is evident from the legal practice, the field of academia, and politics. Racial discrimination was mainly brought into the limelight by the civil right movements of the 1950s headed by the renown Martin Luther King Jr. King advocated for equal rights for all Americans regardless of color or race.
Blalock, Kanter, and Pfeffer, argue that at the workplace, coworkers from the same race are more likely to abuse each other than both the minority and majority groups would among them (cited in Stainback, 2009). Nonetheless, “Latinos often find themselves in positions where they are supervised by Whites and as such, Whites are more likely to report an experience of racial discrimination when working for a non-White manager” (Stainback, 2009, p.24). Racial discrimination has penetrated the workplace and this further compounds the multiplicity of race and racism issues in the US. This research paper explores the perception the racial discrimination exists at the workplace by taking special case of the Latinos and how the social well being of the American society in general has been compromised.
In order to investigate the thesis of the paper, the directions taken will be dependent on answering the following research questions:
- Is racial discrimination a social problem in the US?
- Why is it important to study racial discrimination at the workplace?
- How are the Latinos affected by racial abuses in the society?
- What are the negative impacts of racial discrimination in the American society?
Racial Discrimination at the Workplace as a Social Problem
Research on racial abuses at work is important as it not only acts is enlightenment medium to the society but also serves as source of information for the American regime. Racial discrimination at the workplace is harmful to the economy as it kills delinks employers-employees loyalty. This in turn leads to increase in the number of people looking for jobs. The Latinos are affected in the professional development since, “Latinos often gain employment in declining fields of work, which have traditionally relied on poorly educated African Americans and whites” (Sanders, 2012, p.57).
Scholars have shown that being able to identify race-based discrimination at work affects the composition of races working in a given organization. Stainback (2009) notes “Among Blacks and Latinos, the effects if racial composition on employer loyalty are partially mediated; however, we do not find an association between racial composition and employer loyalty among Whites” (p.24). The workplace is experiences racial groupings as the minority combine to increase their workplace identify in order to appear as the most proximate race to an exceptional social bond within a premise. Races from the majority working in an environment dominated by the minority are reported to have lower job satisfaction levels and the dissatisfaction wanes on introduction of job control mechanisms (Stainback, 2009).
Most studies seek to understand the dynamic nature of the workplace and racial discrimination of majority and minority groups. For instance, Fox & Stallworth (2009) studied the negative consequences of workplace bullying that result from the creation of negative emotions. “The proposition that racial/ethnic minorities would report higher levels of general bullying than whites was supported only for Hispanics/Latinos,” (Fox & Stallworth, 2009, p.453). The minority groups in a workplace environment counter racial abuses more aggressively than the Whites. There is general perception that reported victims of racial discrimination would not get justice even if litigation measures were initiated. This is because victims of workplace bullying are convinced that no measures would be taken even if they report.
Consequently, Kmec & Trimble (2009) report workplace discrimination by looking at how recruitment drives wage determination are carried out. Latinos working in the public organizations give their views on job information and have a positive view on salary increment. This arises because during recruitment of staffs, they do not consider racial identities and as a result, racial stereotyping and racial scrutiny do not have chance. This is with the exception that “The case of an outsider providing job information to an applicant is the only situation in which a contact’s race/ethnicity cannot ‘interfere’ with the job attainment process” (Kmec, & Trimble, 2009, p.276).
Job opportunities are spread across the American states. The professional development of the Latinos may be curtailed by their unwillingness to relocate from their where they live as a community to other areas (Sanchez & Viscarra, 1995). In other words, personal preferences in career development impinge on inferences on race-based issues and intent to relocate. Sanchez & Viscarra, (1995) conclude that “organizations interested in diversifying their workforce may encounter additional obstacles when attempting to recruit Hispanics residing in areas heavily populated by their respective ethnic subgroup,” (p.56).
Addressing Racial Discrimination in the Workplace
Racial abuses can be reduced by looking into ways of creating cultural interaction and cultural diversity to change the perception of the people. In order to change how people perceive issues, the people must be willing to understand their cognitive behaviors. The human perceptions can be changed by altering the psychological intelligence to retract from the stereotypes in the society and blind-following of traditional and negative values. Racial distinction of us against them still persists in the typical American society (Frazier & Tettey-Fio, 2006). The notion translates into provision of benefits of economic, political, and social nature.
The behavior of human beings towards racism can be understood within the context of the theory of authoritarianism. Racist behaviors are personal, based on hate, and emotional attachments. All these propagate hatred as observed by Sanchez & Viscarra (1995), which explains why racial abuses emanate from the groups that find pleasure in dominating others. Cognitive tenets and values are a product of psychological mindset, which determine how people view the world. According to Fox & Stallworth (2005) individual ideals come from the way people categorize other using cultural patterns with regard to what can be seen, felt, or touched; things like religion; and political preferences. These categorizations are products of social constructs on how the society functions.
Consequently, racism within the cognitive account arises from the comprehension of the historical events. The oppression of the past years create a lasting impression on the people and this only aggravates hatred and racial inequities. Those who faced oppression are bitter while the oppressors are viewed as enemies. For example, racism in the South of the US in the 1950s was mainly in form of segregation. The African American children were not allowed to go to school yet education was an empowerment.
Researchers have focused on the individualistic engagements to explain racism and how it causes stereotypical behaviors and discrimination. However, curbing racial abuse in the society should not take an individualistic approach; but, the view of the problem as a group phenomenon whose “starting point is typically an individualized understanding of racism as product of individual belief or cognition” (Fox, Prilleltensky & Austin, 2009, p.197).
Structural functionalism theory is a sociology theory, which examines how the society works. This is done by focusing on the built relationships of the various institutions upon which the society runs. The institutions may include law and governance, religion, and academic achievement. These institutions describe a successful person in the society. In the American society, the Whites were the first to liberate them from ignorance. They attended school, and run the government and all these become social institutions to belittle to less educated and less privileged. As a result racism came about; hence, structural functionalism theory suits the explanation of how racism began.
The Latino form part of the minority groups in American and due to who face racial abuse and discrimination at the workplace. This research affirms that the Latino are discriminated against at the workplace due to the dominance of the American society by the White majority. In order to solve the problems faced in the 21st century, race and racism should be condemned with the strongest terms possible. Structural functionalism theory holds that the society should be understood within the context of social systems. The systems are the modalities of fulfilling the human social inequities. For the survival of and development of social sanity, there are duties that ought to be carried out for the fulfillment of the certain wants. Using the structural functionalism theory, the people can be mobilized to create goods and services jointly to create a correlation between productivity and social sanity in the society.