Racial bias and discrimination at work can take on many forms. Some instances of wrongdoing are blatant and easily recognizable. Others, such as microaggressions, are less obvious and harder to define.
According to Business Insider, microaggressions are statements that seem innocent on the surface but are actually quite damaging to individuals. If you are subject to microaggressions at work, you might feel isolated from your peers, as though you do not belong. These feelings contribute to a toxic work environment, which can affect your life in many ways. The following are a few common microaggressions that have no place in a professional environment.
Confusing two different co-workers of the same race
It can be challenging to remember the names of all your co-workers if you work for a large company or corporation. However, when co-workers of the same race are constantly confused for one another, despite vast differences in their appearance, the problem is a lot more serious. When someone deprives you of your identity, it is belittling. And when the person makes no attempt to remember your name, it is also insulting.
Questioning a person’s nation of origin
One of the great things about America is the diverse ethnic makeup of its citizens. Asking where a person of color is really from expresses ignorance and assumes that only white people can be American by birth. Discussions of ethnic makeup and background at work should be avoided in most cases, as it is very easy for a person to make an ignorant statement without meaning to.
Treating a disabled co-worker differently
Employers must make certain accommodations to ensure disabled workers have what they need to perform their job duties successfully. However, disabled people do not want or require special treatment when it comes to other matters. While it might seem like telling a disabled person is an “inspiration” is a positive thing, it is also quite patronizing.