There is an excellent, disturbing article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune. It is called "Coded Prejudice is cloaked dagger" and was written by Dehleen Glanton. The topic is how racism and discrimination has mutated in the workplace.
Even though the dangers of overt racism have been discussed by companies for years, and hopefully some corrections have been made, this story highlights a more insidious form of discrimination with some disturbing examples.
A woman in a small medical office is called a "reggin" by her supervisor. She claims not to get the term at first, but feels the negative reference when she hears it.
According to the story, Federal officials say they have seen increased complaint levels involving coded terms and images in the work place.
-- "Welfare queen"
-- "crime ridden neighborhood"
-- "full blooded Americans"
-- "you people"
-- "that one in there"
-- "alternate lifestyle"
-- "family oriented employer"
All of these are words that have gotten someone in the workplace in trouble, or cost someone the opportunity to hire qualified talent. The story ends by citing the Racial Slur Database which purportedly defines 2,649 slurs. Their mission: 'helping to make the world a better place."
Highly freaking unlikely.
Yesterday I read a great discussion about a blog on "Fistful of Talent" discussing recruitment of talent from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community. This morning I read this.
I believe we have made progress, but apparently we still have a long way to go.