17 April 2012
Racism is the belief that one’s own race is superior to another. It is one of the major problems going on in America right now and has been for some time. Many people may not even be aware of how racism is still negatively affecting our schools, workforces, and society as a whole. The United States is thought of as the land of opportunity, where people of all different races and ethnic backgrounds can live together in peace, but racism poses a major issue to this actually being a reality. Racism is still an enormous problem in the United States and occurs more frequently than one might think. All you have to do is turn on the television, go to the evening news report, and more often than not you will hear a story that deals with some kind of discrimination or hate crime.
“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 remains one of the greatest achievements in United States history. It had implications internationally, making racial discrimination illegal, but its effectiveness in the employment domain remains contestable.” (Stainback 2005) Racism in the workplace can have such a negative effect throughout the entire organization. In the United Kingdom for example, racism has been shown in the nursing field as well as the metropolitan police. “There is a glass ceiling preventing promotion and black and minority ethnic managers feel they have to work twice as hard and have twice as many qualifications to succeed.” (Coombes 2004) This inequality in the medical profession stems all the way back to the medical school application and testing process. If racism is apparent in the testing process it definitely will exist throughout the profession after qualification. “Racial discrimination damages both those discriminated against and those doing the discriminating.” (Smith 1993) The consequences of racism in the healthcare field are endless. Workers who are discriminated against will have a low-morale, feel humiliated, and may show no confidence. This can lead to physical problems like high blood pressure as well as low marks in work performance. “Racism may be underreported for the same reasons seen with workplace bullying: fear of making matters worse, belief that nothing will be done, concerns regarding confidentiality, fear of victimization, and concern about being labeled as a troublemaker.” (Mistry and Latoo 2009) In the medical field, working together is so important. Countless lives are at stake every day so racial discrimination needs to be taken out of the equation in order for services to be consistently rendered at a high level. Organizations may lose quality workers if this issue continues to go unnoticed. “In medicine this results in the double loss of a specialty losing highly motivated people and gaining those where enthusiasm may be low.” (Coombes 2004) This could mean that we are settling for second best when it comes to our health, which is one of the most important things in life. The policies to keep racism out of medicine are there but need to be put to better use. “Despite legislation and procedures, to address racism at work, healthcare organizations are slow in introducing and supporting the policies for race equality.” (Sheikh 2001) The solution to institutional racism includes many areas with many different approaches. One approach is the STEEP model presented by John Dovidio. The four steps in the model are structured support, training and education, experience, and personal commitment. Individuals need to be educated on racism at the earliest time possible and need to commit to fighting it. The support of management, as well as constant interracial contact, is also necessary. Many people are oblivious to the amount of racism that still exists in the world today. “The hardest attitude to change is the one you don’t know you have.” (Dovidio 1993) This could possibly be why racism is still a major problem today as...
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