Discrimination Is a Persisting Problem

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey (Krogstad & López, 2016), a majority of Black and Hispanic respondents reported experiencing discrimination on a regular or occasional basis (71% and 52%, respectively). Considering members from all ethnic groups, roughly 130 million people are targets of race-based discrimination in America (Lee, Perez, Boykin, & Mendoza-Denton, 2019; Kessler, 1999).

“Even when all other differences are eliminated or accounted for, studies show that ethnic minorities (compared to White people) are treated with more suspicion in public places (Schreer, Smith, & Thomas, 2009), considered less desirable as romantic partners (Mendelsohn, Shaw Taylor, Fiore, & Cheshire, 2014; West, 2018; West, Lowe, & Marsden, 2017), less likely to receive offers of employment (Bertrand & Mullainathan, 2004; Booth, Leigh, & Varganova, 2012; Pager, 2003), judged more harshly for crimes they commit (Sommers & Ellsworth, 2000; West & Lloyd, 2017), more likely to be shot by police officers (Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2007; Plant & Peruche, 2005), and less likely to receive adequate care from physicians (Green et al., 2007).” (West & Eaton, 2019, p. 111)

“Even when other differences are eliminated or controlled, women (compared to men) are offered less pay for the same work (Auspurg, Hinz, & Sauer, 2017), offered less informal support when joining organisations (Milkman, Akinola, & Chugh, 2015), less likely to be offered high paying jobs and more likely to be offered low paying jobs (Neumark, Bank, & Van Nort, 1996), offered fewer leadership positions, disproportionately offered risky or precarious leadership positions (Bruckmüller, Ryan, Rink, & Haslam, 2014; Ryan et al., 2016), and less likely to be greeted or approached by servers in stores (Bourabain & Verhaeghe, 2018).” (West & Eaton, 2019, p. 111). Women are also less likely to be offered jobs in university settings (Moss-Racusin et al., 2012).

Discrimination has adverse effects on the individuals who are experiencing it and on society as a whole. For individuals, being a target of discrimination leads to depression, anxiety, stress, poor physical health, aggressiveness, low self-esteem, low life satisfaction, poor academic performance, and reduced productivity at work. On a societal level, discrimination leads to higher turnover rates and increased sick days in the workplace, increased crime, higher levels of incarceration, and increased healthcare costs. Discrimination also leads to “loss of talent” because gifted individuals belonging to marginalized groups drop out of educational institutions or fail to advance to leadership positions in companies.


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