Recently, a former Strategic Partner Manager at a large social media company decided to resign from his position after experiencing racial discrimination at work. He had been one of a small percentage of the company’s black employees, many of whom he shared these frustrations with. He attempted to raise awareness on their encounters through a company forum post, but his employers did not show the support he was hoping for. As a result, he decided to address his experiences on social media, discussing the subtle ways large corporations may be racially marginalizing their employees:
Putting the company first – The former employee expressed disappointment in how the company had chosen to prioritize its brand over the well-being of its staff. Ultimately, his employers discouraged him from “doing black stuff” at work, and they removed the forum post he had written to raise awareness.
A lack of racial diversity – He also noted how the company’s lack of racial diversity can contribute to experiences of marginalization, pointing out that black employees only amounted to 4 percent of the staff population at his workplace. Feeling outnumbered may make it even more difficult for employees of minority races to speak up when a majority of the company may not relate to their experiences to begin with.
What this means for employees of minority races at large corporations
Signs of racial discrimination at work do not have to be limited to violence and hostility. This former Strategic Partner Manager’s experience shows that there are many subtle ways employees may feel racially marginalized at work, namely by being discouraged from discussing their encounters.
If you think you are experiencing racial marginalization at work it can be helpful to discuss it with fellow minority race coworkers whom you trust. Not only can this help you find an empowering support system at work, but can also help validate your experience should you decide to file a claim of discrimination.