Be the Change

UEI College is committed to supporting racial equality.

We stand in solidarity with the African American community for social justice. 

Ivan W.

Ontario Campus Finalist

In this day and age, prejudice and discrimination should not be tolerated. Especially in the workplace and there are laws established to prevent this from happening.  Racial discrimination describes the treatment of individuals based on race and ethnicity that is not equal in nature.  Many people of color experience unfair treatment due to race in the workplace which is a social injustice.  In this paper, I will share the story of my sister in law whose previous employer violated anti-discrimination laws and how I plan to support racial equality for all. 

 

In the case of my sister in law, over a period of two years, she was singled out by her boss as the only African American employee which made her workplace environment difficult.  During the two years she worked for this company she was told her natural hair was not work-appropriate, derogatory statements about African-American people were made in her presence, her work was judged more harshly than others, her hours were reduced without notice or reason, and she was passed over for promotion although she was the most qualified both educationally and experientially.  She tried to speak to human resources, but they told her that it was just the personality that her boss had and she needed to deal with it.   Eventually, the situation became so unbearable that she had to quit her job. After quitting and sharing her story with a few people she decided the employer needed to be held accountable.

 

My sister in law spoke with a lawyer and she had evidence of the harsh treatment that she received. She was able to prove the harassment from her former employer with emails and text messages. Speaking to a lawyer and reliving the moments of harassment was very hard for her. When she reached out to former coworkers about the harassment and to speak to her lawyer she was brushed off. She was told that she was overreacting, and some people are just racist because they do not know any better.  After a year-long legal battle, she won her workplace harassment lawsuit.  When I asked her why it was so important to sue her employer, she said, “it’s the principle of the situation.” She wanted her employer to know that they cannot get away with treating people of color unfairly.  She was pleased that the company was forced to be accountable for their treatment towards her.  The lawsuit helped her find people that have dealt with similar issues in their jobs. She also was able to grow in the process and learn how to recognize harassment.

 

As an African American male, it is important that I commit myself to further the fight for racial equality.  To do this I must be willing to learn about the culture of other people, be proactive as a parent by speaking with my children about race, don’t allow or participate in biased conversations or behavior, and stand against racism.  I must constantly be thinking about how racism impacts everyone I care about and be a role model for future generations.  Additionally, and most importantly I need to continue to pray and seek God’s guidance as I navigate this difficult topic and try to heal from the past and present injustices.

 

It is unfortunate that we do not live in a perfect society and people of color are still facing racial discrimination.  Treating people badly based on race, age, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability moves us away from being a socially just society.  We should be at a point where everyone is given equal opportunities and rights.  It is important that we move away from the “us vs. them” mentality and understand that we are all in this together.  We must work as a team to understand others, be accepting of differences, and stand up for what is right. 

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