Friday, April 08, 2011

Racism and Work

My girlfriend is in a social work class, and the topic was racism. In the section, an argument was made that if a person is racist, they should be fired. An interesting point, and it sure sounds good, but really, is this the best thing?

Now, I am not a racist (or any more racist than any other normal White male is racist), and I do not support racism, but at the same time, I think equal rights goes both ways. For example, suppose a White and a Black person work in an office. Every day, they work together, go to meetings together, and maintain a purely professional relationship. This is okay, right? Now suppose that on weekends, the White puts on white robes and a hood, and the Black rallies with a militant group against Whites. Should these men be fired? 

According to the social work book, yes. That racism both men have can carry over into the work place, causing tension and other such problems. To a degree, this is true. If  you talk hate on Saturday and Sunday, why wouldn't you talk more have Monday through Friday? It would be awfully hard not to, you have to admit. 

By this same account though, what if these people did maintain a professional relationship? What if they made the conscious effort to not let their personal lives spill over into the workplace? If, between the hours of 9 to 5, they worked together and were productive, wouldn't that be the same as if neither one were racist? Why should their weekend activities cost them their jobs?

And that is the dilemma. Both men are racist, but they don't act racist when it counts. Can this even exist? Why can't it? The way I see it, this is a common occurrence. How many people do you know personally that complain about "Those damn niggers" or "That stupid Honky," and then that person helps out the other race or goes to work with that person? My guess is you know many people like that, and it happens often.

I truly believe that, when it counts, people's good senses can triumph over their personal beliefs. Yes, it doesn't always happen, and that's why we have the glass ceiling and all, but at the same time, firing a person for being racist OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE is like firing a person for volunteering for an organization that the company does not like. It just doesn't make sense. Following the method described in the book, good workers will be fired for being bad people (racism, sexism, and homophobia are bad. No discussion on this topic). And with a highly competitive job market were good workers are valued and a single bad mark on a record could be the difference between a job and no job, why should "extracurricular activities" screw over someone?

Look, racism is bad, no matter how you cut it. I really think the world could do better with it if people could just get along. But that's never going to happen. Instead, take the small victories and what you can get. If being a racist doesn't interfere with work, it should be none of the business's concern, as long as no illegal activity is involved. Let a person do their own thing. Just have the report on my desk by 5 p.m.

Am I right? Or a moron of epic level? Let me know! Leave a comment or contact me to let me know what you think! 


Mary said...

I completely agree and I actually know a *TON* of people like this. Not saying any names but I know a few guys who talk absolute SHIT about black people, yet they work with alot of black people at their job. While they're working, you would never guess they're racist. To be honest, I think being a secret racist is quite common.

gman said...

I agree.

Firing a person for their racist beliefs is a form of discimination in itself.

Employees should be accountable for their actions in the workplace, not their personal beliefs and values.

Anonymous said...

You're full of shit...but that's nothing new.

10swords said...

Mary: Partly the inspiration for this.
Gman: Exactly.
Anon: Care to explain?