Research Paper: Racial Discrimination

Pages: 8 (2474 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Race  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] In this respect, these aptitude tests resembled the 'literacy tests' used to prevent all blacks from voting in many Southern states before 1965 (Craig 43).

Since the purpose of the tests was obviously to prevent blacks from being hired, the Court found them illegal, even though the company denied any racist intent. It reaffirmed this in 1975 in Albermarle Paper Co. v. Moody, in which another company was using aptitude tests to screen out prospective black employees. I ruled that "once the complaintant made out a prima facie case of discrimination" using statistical evidence, the burden of proof then shifted to the employer to justify its policies. Statistical tests will demonstrate a discriminatory effect that is not a matter of random chance, even though the employers may deny that they had any discriminatory intent. This standard now applies to every company with more than fifteen employees (Craig 44). Although the Supreme Court attempted relax these provisions against indirect discrimination in Wards Cove Packing Co (1989), Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1991 which applied the standard set in the Griggs and Albermarle cases.

Solutions and Recommendations to Racial Discrimination

Employers and employees often do not know the legal definitions of discrimination, or the major court decisions related to it, but these should be incorporated into any training and education program about the causes and consequences of racial discrimination. These may be more severe that investigations by state and federal agencies, of legal damages in court cases. In fact, studies find that "current antidiscrimination laws provide either modest or no relief to most plaintiffs; only a few plaintiffs secured substantial compensatory damage awards" (Goodman-Delahunty and Foote 72). Organizations may receive greater damages due to negative publicity, hostile reactions from customers and the media, as well as loss of productivity and morale in the workplace. For these reasons, all organizations must have "clear policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race" and procedures to investigate and resolve complaints. Policies and training programs have to "address multiple forms of discrimination and harassment" against minority groups, with the awareness that if one type of discrimination exists all the others are likely to be a problem as well. If these are tolerated or ignored, it will "increase the likelihood of the target seeking legal redress" (Settles et al. 146). These policies must include prohibition of racial jokes, insults, segregation and exclusion from social events, all of which will cause lower "morale and productivity" and higher turnover. Mentors should also be trained and assigned to all new employees, regardless of race. All policies for selection, promotion and evaluation should be made free of discrimination, including "unconscious bias," while a confidential complaint process must be put in place with "prompt and comprehensive examination of the complaint, and appropriate remedies of any discriminatory behavior." Minority employees also need peer-group social support networks (Settles et al. 147).


In U.S. history, racial discrimination was the norm going back to the days of slavery, and was especially directed against blacks, although other minority groups such as Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans have certainly been victims of it. Even today, the majority of complaints of racial discrimination in hiring, evaluation and promotion come from black workers, while black women are also more likely to be victims of sexual harassment than white women. None of this is in American history, since blacks were openly denied equal opportunity in employment and education until the 1960s, and numerous studies today show that racial discrimination is an ongoing problem, no matter than many whites are in denial about this. In the past, blacks and Hispanics were relegated to unskilled labor, particularly in agriculture and services, while being denied the opportunity to own land and businesses or to be promoted to managerial and professional positions. Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, this was simply the norm in the United States, and even now the country is still dealing with the legacy of centuries of racial discrimination. Racial discrimination, harassment, segregation and exclusion have severe effects of the physical and mental health of those who suffer from them, ranging from high blood pressure and heart disease to Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. They open an organization to lawsuits and all the negative publicity associated with them, and also damage the morale and productivity of minority employees and result in higher turnover rates. According to the Supreme Court, an organization may be guilty of racial discrimination in practice even though there is no overt, obvious intent, while many studies show that racial prejudices and stereotypes are often unconscious. Even if they are not openly expressed and recognized, however, they still have an impact on the actions of individuals and organizations. For all these reasons, then, all employers should have clear and consistent policies banning racial discrimination and harassment, as well as a confidential system for reporting and resolving complaints before they reach the stage of litigation or investigation by government agencies. Black employees especially also need a program of mentoring and peer-group support to facilitate their adjustment to white-dominated organizations. Everyone should recognize that here is a long and unpleasant history here, and no matter whether white Americans like it or not, this still has an effect on life in the contemporary world.


Bruce, Tamara A., "Racial and Ethnic Harassment in the Workplace" in Foegen-Karsten, Margaret (Ed). Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Workplace: Issues and Challenges for Today's Organizations. Praeger Publishers, 2006: 22-50.

Craig, Ronald L. Systematic Discrimination in Employment and the Promotion of Ethnic Equality. Brill NV, Leiden, 2007.

Delahunty-Goodman, Jane and William E. Foote. Evaluation for Workplace Discrimination and Harassment. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Feagin, Joe R. Systemic… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Racial Discrimination.  (2011, April 6).  Retrieved August 26, 2019, from

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"Racial Discrimination."  April 6, 2011.  Accessed August 26, 2019.