Sex, Age, and Race Discrimination in the 2010s
Discrimination is not the only most significant factor influencing contemporary opportunities but also a significant factor shaping the economical status of a nation. Despite many claims about the Obama era being “post-racial,” most scholars have a consensus on the fact that racism is still flourishing and wide-ranging statistical evidence undoubtedly seems to confirm this position. A new wave was felt when Barrack Obama ascended to presidency as the first African-American to become the President of USA. Many believed that United States had broken its historical manacles of racial segregation. However, current reports and studies prove otherwise.
Nevertheless, it is imperative to realize when and how discrimination does play a part in the allocation and distribution of resources and opportunities. Though key icons such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King have received accolades worldwide for the significant role they played in initiating significant fight again race, age and gender discrimination, these forms of discrimination are still significant barriers in the modern world in the 2010s. Racial, age and gender discrimination led to rise of feministic movements in the 19th century and the abolitionism movement in 18th century in United States, in effort to end what was termed as social injustice. Though the movements created vital platform which would help end all manner of discriminations, the eradication of these vices remains a great challenge in the modern world. Researchers who look at current manifestations of racism have perceived that the dimensions of racism have changed since the 1960s. Before 1960s, most cases of racism were explicit, direct and unambiguous. However, in the modern era there are different forms that these discriminations are occurring. This study intends to investigate, discuss and examine the evidence of sex, age, and race discrimination in the 2010s in four main domains: accommodation, credit markets, hiring and consumer markets. This paper aims to provide key findings and debates within each of these expanses of research.
According to Kamali (2010), “racial discrimination refers to unequal treatment of persons or groups on the basis of their race or ethnicity” (2).Racial discrimination is a historical issue in American society that has taken many other forms that have gone beyond “black and white” in terms of whom it has affected. At various instances and to varying levels, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos and other Americans of different color have been exposed to significant levels of racial discrimination (Kamali 12). The nature and extent of racial discrimination have significantly changed in different regions of the world, although historically some of the most ruthless discrimination has occurred in the American South.
When defining racial discrimination, several scholars distinguish between disparate impact and differential treatment and, and as a result creating a two-part definition. Differential treatment takes place when person or groups are treated unequally for the reasons of their race (Kamali 7). While on the other hand, disparate impact happens when persons or groups are treated equally according to a prescribed set of rules and measures but when the latter are conducted in a manner that favor members of a particular group over another. Kelly versus Covance Laboratories limited is a good example of a case that has brought major attention to racial discrimination in 2016. Kelly was a Russian national was warned because of speaking Russian in the place. The contents of the case brought out significant facts on racial discrimination after Employment Appeal Tribunal found that Ms. Kelly’s case was not a racial discrimination case.
Age discrimination occurs when an employer considers age as a determining (and negative) aspect in a job-related decision (Kunze, Stephan and Heike 264). For example, age discrimination can occur when an organization or a company denies an applicant a job based on his/her age. Similarly, age discrimination occurs whenever an employer is denied training, leadership role, promotions, or any other reasonable opportunities in the work place based on age (Kunze, Stephan and Heike 264). There are several factors that may lead to age discrimination, including mythologies and cliché about older workers, poor knowledge, and ageist attitudes. The most common stereo-types about older workers are that older workers are less creative and productive compared to younger workers; that older workers tend to be more expensive compared to younger workers; that older workers are quite rigid and slow to adapt to changes than younger workers; and that older workers want to retire early, that they are reluctant in conducting their duties.
This is a form of civil rights violation based on person’s sex (or gender) and takes place in many forms, including discrimination as a result of pregnancy, sexual harassment and unequal rewarding of pay for women who undertake the same jobs and duties as men. In 2012, an employment tribunal established that actions of employees, in Otomewo versus Carphone Warehouse case, were an act of sexual harassment after employee took their managers iPhone and updated his Facebook status, “…I am gay and proud”. Even though the plaintiff was not gay as ascertained by the court, the action by his employees to update Facebook status without his knowledge was considered harassment on the basis of sexual orientation displayed embarrassing comment to his friends and relatives. In other cases, pregnancy discrimination occurs when employer treats female employee unfavorably due to an illness she succumbs as a result of her pregnancy.
Causes and Effects of Discrimination
Discrimination might occur in different forms which may include; intentionally denying or delaying promotion, paying worker less compared to others in the same rank, giving poor performance reviews, denying reasonable benefits, retrenchment, layoffs and other forms of unfair singling out of individuals for reasons that affect the individual’s condition of employment. In current times, following the Civil Rights assertions, integration in sectors including, employment and education has continued sluggishly so that many researchers believe that little has changed.
Immigration has been the main factor affecting racial discrimination in several ways. In every wave of immigrants, the newest groups of immigrants have often been compelled to take the least desirable and lowest-paying jobs. In most cases, the new immigrants are at the mercy not only of Native Americans but also of the other immigrants who came before them. Currently, there is a migration disaster that is affecting majority of European countries. Once the immigrants are accommodated in their new countries, they increase pressure on the available resources and prompt defensive reaction from the natives.
The four domains in which discrimination is propagated include:
Discrimination in the place of work has had the most profound and prolonged influence on the group of people it has affected. Minority groups have been constrained to low-paying menial jobs that offer little or no opportunity for advancement and are at times even hazardous (Kamali 47). In the past, minority groups were constrained from the skilled jobs, which were more pertinent to provide employee union protection and better opportunities for advancement than unskilled occupations. On the professionalism, minority groups have had to fight on two issues: first to get admission to the best institutions providing educational programs essential to pursue quality training, and secondly for employment and progress within the profession. Unfortunately, even those who have luckily obtaining good jobs have likely experienced some forms of job discrimination, whether in the form of lower wages, lack of promotion, lack of appreciation, poor or work environment. On the other hand, women especially in the minority groups have had to fight against both gender and racial discrimination.
Many researchers have interviewed African-Americans and other racial minority groups about their experiences with unfairness in the major areas of their lives. A vital research revealed that more than one-third of blacks and nearly 20% of Hispanics and Asians claimed that they had personally been overlooked for a job or promotion on the basis of their race or ethnicity (Schneider and Nancy 767). However, majority of white Americans believe that a black people today have the same chance of getting a job as an equally competent white person, and only a third think that discrimination is a significant reason why blacks have little, income, lack employment, and are poor compared to the white. Though there some remarkable change in the labor force perspective of racial minorities, there are still significant disparities that indicates racial segregation in the labor market.
As a result of increased competition, many companies are seeking to get young employees because they are considered more creative and active compared to older workers (Kamali 93). In the bid by many companies to attain vibrant working force, many older workers have been laid-off or retrenched to be replaced with young innovative task force. On the other hand, young employees have been denied or delayed promotion as result of their age. In most cases, older employees are given bigger post based on their age rather than qualification.
In most cases, the older members are considered weak and no longer capable of doing their jobs better. As a result, they are denied many privileges which are accorded to younger members of the society, who are considered strong and active. This has seen the older member denied access to vital areas such as health services, current technology, decent jobs, property right, education programs, promotion and other vital livelihood opportunities on the basis of their age (Kunze, Stephan and Heike 283). Phrases such as “new faces are needed”, or “we need young innovative minds” have become common in the current times in major organizations where the young employees are considered significant to the organization production. Such phrases indicated a culture of age discrimination in the automation era.
Several researchers have examined the level with which discrimination is shaping modern labor market disparities. African-Americans are twice as likely to be jobless as whites, and their wages with that of the Hispanics continue to lag far behind those of whites (Kamali 28). Some experimental audit investigations focusing on employment decisions have consistently establish strong evidence of racial discrimination, with vital estimates of white preference over the blacks ranging from 50% to 240% (Simpson, George and Milton 36).Studies agree that majority of those who perceive high levels of discrimination are more susceptible to depression, hopelessness, anxiety, and other psychological health outcomes.
Statistical investigations on hiring outcomes likewise express large racial disparities in major areas of human development (Simpson, George and Milton 46). Current evidence from statistical investigation show that black men spend considerably more time searching for jobs, acquire less occupational experience, and experience less stable hiring than do whites with otherwise equivalent qualifications (Flores 264). Black male high school graduates are more likely to experience involuntary unemployment than whites with similar characteristics and that this inequality increases among those with higher levels of education (Flores 264).
Residential segregation based on race remains a prominent feature of the modern American cities. In fact, African-Americans are discriminated from whites in 2010s as they had been at the beginning of the 20th century, and degrees of segregation seem unaltered by growing socioeconomic status (Schneider and Nancy 767). Although residential segregation appears to have reasonably decreased as from 1980, the African-Americans and other minority groups in the American society continue to experience discriminative patterns of housing placement clearly different from whites. The extent to which discrimination brings racial disparities in accommodation has been a key concern for social researchers and housing agents (Schneider and Nancy 767). However, some current studies have shown that collective levels of discrimination against blacks declined slowly in both rentals and sales since 1990. Residential discrimination against Latinos, particularly in housing sales dropped, although Hispanics faced rising levels of discrimination in rental markets. Although there is significant development, the rate with which racial minorities encounter segregation treatment in rental searches suggests that discrimination remains a significant barrier to housing opportunities.
Some studies have shown that whites possess approximately twelve times the wealth of blacks; in fact, whites near the bottom of the income distribution possess more wealth than blacks near the top of the income distribution (Simpson, George and Milton 13). Available evidence imply that Hispanics and blacks face higher denial rates and less favorable conditions in getting mortgages than do whites with similar credit characteristics (Simpson, George and Milton 121).
Current studies have established that blacks pay more interest rates on the mortgages (0.5% higher) than do whites and that this disparity continues with controls for income level, date of purchase, and age of buyer (Kamali 92). Considering the range of variables associated with risk of default, loan characteristics, and cost of default, and individual and neighborhood characteristics, African-Americans and Hispanic applications were 80% more likely to be denied than were those from their whites counterparts. Vital Audit sources conveyed significant evidence of mortgage segregation, conveying that black testers are less likely to obtain a quote for a loan than are white testers and that in most occasions they are given less time to repay their loans, which are quoted with higher interest rates, and are provided with less education and less information than are comparable white applicants (Kamali 45).
There are several significant disparities in consumer transaction. Some current investigations have established that African-Americans and Hispanics were unduly subjected to financing hike charges at car dealerships, with minority groups paying an average of $339 more than their counterparts (whites) with similar credit characteristic (Kamali 21). Additionally, other studies have established countless circumstances in which their African-Americans respondents reported experiences of segregation, ranging from poor service in hotel industry to discriminating surveillance in retail stores to direct harassment in public facilities. There is consensus among different studies that discrimination in consumer markets continues to exact both psychosomatic and financial costs on minority groups. Several studies on consumer discrimination considers a wide range of circumstances in which the minority groups get poorer service or probably pay more compared to their white counterparts. Although there are few individual occasions which represent devastating experiences in and of themselves, the buildup of such experiences over a lifetime may signify an important source of prolonged stress.
Discrimination has also been reported in the institutions of high learning. Some significant surveys have shown that lecturers and administration discriminate student on the basis of their race. This supports the argument that racism has some profound impact on the general quality of education obtained by students in the minority groups (Flores 264). A greater number of reported crimes against the youths substantively reflect racial and ethnic biasness. Even in the lower levels of education, there are great disparities among different races in United States. African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans children join first grade with lesser knowledge, weak reading capacity, lower level of oral language, and weak mathematical skills, compared to their Asian-American and Euro-American counterparts (Flores 264). There is big education gap between the minority and majority groups evident in the higher level of education as a result of early disparities at the foundation level of education. The majority groups end up dominating the labor industry because they have better knowledge and competence compared to their minority counterparts.
African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans when compared with the Pacific-Islander and Euro-Americans are more likely to attend institution with lower quality of education. In the current times, there are high cases of high school drop-outs among the African-America student compared to Euro-America and Asian-American students (Kamali 168). Educational surveys have established that the rate with which African-American students are dropping out of school compared to those of Euro-Americans is high(Kamali 168).
Though there is significant development in addressing age, sex and racial segregation since the beginning of new era (2010s), there is significant evidence of discrimination in major areas of human development, not only in American society but worldwide. The whites and non-whites, even when they are compelled to work together in one organization, they do not often take time to know one another well. There are still numerous obstacles to appropriate interaction among different racial and ethnic groups. General statistics on income, economic status, living standards, education, employment, accommodation and health continue to demonstration great disparities between whites and the non-whites, especially African-American and Latinos. What seems to be missing in majority of these studies is the appreciation and acknowledgment of the daily lived experiences of racism and the refinements of the racial worldview as they impact on individuals. Racism can be considered “worldview” because the tenets of white superiority and black inferiority are profoundly engraved in most Americans’ minds that they have become second nature. Perceived discrimination may weaken vital efforts or performance in education or the labor market, which brings about negative outcomes. However, the problems caused by age, gender and racial discriminations can be addressed through putting more emphasis on integration in all three levels.
Flores, Elena, et al. “Perceived racial/ethnic discrimination, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and health risk behaviors among Mexican American adolescents.” Journal of Counseling Psychology 57.3 (2010): 264.
Kamali, Masoud. Racial discrimination: institutional patterns and politics. Routledge, 2010.
Kuhn, Peter, and Kailing Shen. “Gender discrimination in job ads: Evidence from china.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 128.1 (2013): 287-336.
Kunze, Florian, Stephan A. Böhm, and Heike Bruch. “Age diversity, age discrimination climate and performance consequences—a cross organizational study.” Journal of organizational behavior 32.2 (2011): 264-290.
Schneider, Elizabeth M., and Nancy Gertner. “‘Only Procedural’: Thoughts on the Substantive Law Dimensions of Preliminary Procedural Decisions in Employment Discrimination Cases.” New York Law School Law Review 57 (2013): 767.
Simpson, George Eaton, and J. Milton Yinger. Racial and cultural minorities: An analysis of prejudice and discrimination. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.