Workplace racism is one of those things that you’d think is dead in 2019, but it’s really not. It’s shown in more subtle ways and these are referred to as microaggressions.
A microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group
From personal experience, I’ve heard people who come from a more privileged openly talk about how racism is no longer an issue anymore, and that things are better now. Whilst shouting these beliefs they also refuse to listen to personal accounts of racism or microaggressions because we’re not in the 1960s anymore.
We may not have the ‘N’ word being shouted at us every day but there are a lot of subtle ways that racist acts and beliefs are practised. I’m focusing on the workplace as it’s one of the spaces where it happens a lot and it’s not talked about enough.
Kandola states in his book Racism at Work: The Danger of Indifferent:
“Modern racists do not express negative views about minorities – that would be unacceptable. But they do fail to express any positive views and will fail to offer any support when it is needed.
“To be honest, I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that a lot of this subtle racism isn’t as subconscious as you might think – they just know they can do it without ever being picked up on it.”
I could write an essay on my own experiences alone of racism in the workplace, but here’s a list so it’s easier to read:
- Making no effort to pronounce someone’s name properly.
- People touching your curly or kinky hair without permission.
- Being called sassy for being confident.
- Managers being openly hostile or wary of speaking to you and being comfortable around their white colleagues.
- Constantly being overlooked for promotion or recognition, when you’re putting in the same/or even more work than white colleagues who are receiving praise and reward.
- Contract extensions going to mainly white colleagues when every POC who could have been considered had higher review scores (actually happened recently).
- People imitating accents from other races and cultures.
- Being made to feel bad or guilty for calling out someone’s blatant racism.
- When someone constantly interrupts you.
- Being expected to speak on behalf of your race or religion.
All images are taken from Unsplash