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The Changing Face of Discrimination

Posted by tdepp on January 5, 2009

Back in the old days, discrimination was pretty clear.  Racial epithets.  Horrible, boorish sexual harassment.  Firings because you were “old” or “disabled.”

Today, most businesses and many workers are far too smart to call someone the N-word or continually touch someone in places they have no business touching.  Our society has made some advancements–fortunately.

But discrimination still exists.  And more often than not today, it is subtle.

What if you’re a young black woman in a predominately white workplace and your supervisor says you must take a course on “cultural sensitivity”?  Sounds to me like a backhanded way of saying, “You’re not differential enough to white folks.”

The problem, of course, is proving discriminatory intent.  As a lawyer, that’s what I need to show.  But my gut feeling–and my client’s–is that they have been treated in a discriminatory manner.

Whether the law will catch up with these subtle forms of discrimination and harassment is another matter.  I hope so.

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