The article “McDonald’s sued over Claims of Racism” by LoboscoKatie highlights on the issue of racism at McDonald’s. However,when viewed on a larger context, the article is an illustration ofracism in the workplace. In the following critical response, theessay analyzes how the article exposes the issue of workplace racism.
McDonald’s is alleged to have racially discriminated workers atthree of their stores in Virginia. The article informs that tenformer workers of McDonald’s have filed a lawsuit against thefranchise. The ex-employees claim to have lost their jobs because oftheir race. It is alleged that close to 15 African American workerswere sacked in May 2014. All the ex-employees lost their jobs on thesimilar day, a move that followed the hiring of white workers to thefranchise. Upon questioning the reasons for their job loss, thefranchise owner said that the ex-African American workers failed tofit in McDonald’s profile. Earlier on supervisors are said to havecomplained that the franchise had too many African Americans workingin the Virginia stores. Although the franchise claims to have apolicy against discrimination on the basis of race, the ex-workersclaim that despite filing complains to management on discrimination,no measures were taken to investigate.
Research shows that racial discrimination in the place of employmenthas exacerbated over the past decade (Dugan, 2014:1). Regardless ofethnic minorities outperforming white British learners in education,the minorities are still denied equal opportunities as whites. Theyare poorly represented in workplaces, which can be explained asoutward discrimination. According to Dugan (2014:1) in most districtsin Wales and England, there has been a rise in ethnic discriminationin employment, as compared to employment for white Britons. Furtherresearch acknowledges that ethnic minorities are poorly representedin close to all professions, despite having the same education levelas their white counterparts (Hirsch, 2015:1). Haughton (2015:1) alsosupports the findings that racial bias is a key factor when hiringemployees in most UK organizations. The under-representation ofethnic minorities in workplaces is a form of workplace racism. Thisis because individuals who are not white are not given the sameopportunity as whites. Just like Lobosco’s article (2015:1)demonstrates, McDonalds sacked its African American employees andlater employed white employees. This is a clear indication that whenit comes to employment the white ethnic group is preferred to otherpotential workers.
In depicting the issue of racism, the article uses specificillustrations to demonstrate how ex-African American employees at theMcDonald’s franchise were racially discriminated against. Forinstance, one of the ex-workers notes that they were informed they“didn’t fit the profile” (Lobosco, 2015:1). The statementindicates that due to their race, blacks are not considered asemployees who blend in McDonald’s. This raises important issues ofinsiders/outsiders. The words insider and outsider are used todescribe how people relate to specific socio-cultural spaces. Aninsider refers to the individual that belongs and is accepted in aparticular socio-cultural space (Lewis, 1998:17). It also regards tosomeone who fits in the order of things. Contrary, the outsider is anindividual that does not belong (Lewis, 1998:17). These are peoplewho enter and occupy the space of insiders. The insider and outsiderare concepts, which perfectly expound the issue of racism atMcDonald’s. It is apparent that the white supervisors view AfricanAmericans as outsiders, as they do not fit, while whites areinsiders. Hence, the outsiders are sacked to create room for theinsiders, who fit in the company’s profile.
It is ironic that often when there are incidents of workplaceracism, they are usually perpetrated by the people workers look up tofor protection from such form of prejudice. According to Lobosco(2015:1), an “ex-worker and plaintiff Katrina Stanfield said shewas regularly harassed and remembers a supervisor saying it is toodark in here”. In addition, the ex-employees decided to file alawsuit because they lost their jobs after supervisors claimed that“too many black people in the store” (Lobosco, 2015:1).Naturally, it is expected that supervisors are in the front line inprotecting their employees from racial bias at work. As Haughton(2015:1) explains that bosses ought to have a trustworthyrelationship with their workers hence, they are able to disclose anyform of racism they may encounter. However, when the oppositehappens, it becomes easier to exclude minorities from workplaces.This is because the minorities lack the support they depend on fromtheir seniors to deal with workplace racism. The article does a goodjob in demonstrating how supervisors are in the forefront in theexclusion of minorities. The concept of exclusion refers to theomission or segregation of some people from a group. By claiming thatthe franchise has too many blacks, or it is dark, these are wordsthat outwardly exclude African Americans from McDonald’s.
The article raises an important question of assimilation. Based onthe racial discrimination of African Americans at McDonald’s, onecannot help but question the possibility of minorities becomingassimilated into workplaces. Lobosco (2015:1) makes it clear thatwhen a workplace prefers one race (whites) over others, it becomesimpossible for people of a different race to be assimilated into thecompany. Shain (2013:63) notes that in the management of ethnicdifferences, UK policies have been founded on an array of ideologieslike assimilation. Assimilation refers to the practice of thecultures of a host nation by immigrants. It further refers to asituation involving the “loss of minority culture” in order totake up that of the majority culture (Nandi & Platt, 2013: 26).Many minorities are already assimilated into the culture of majorethnic groups in their countries. Hence, they adopt similar livingand working lifestyles. As such, it would be expected that workplacesreadily accept minorities in their places of employment. However,constant prejudice based on race makes it apparent that it isimpossible for ethnic minorities to become assimilated at work.
In conclusion, Lobosco’s article demonstrates the issue ofrace/racism. In specific, the article is a discussion how racialdiscrimination happens at workplaces. Research shows that ethnicminorities in the UK are under-represented at places of employment.Despite having better academic qualifications than their whitecounterparts, it is difficult for a minority to get employed.Contrary, white Britons are easily accepted in workplaces. Suchracism is expounded by the theoretical concepts of insider/outsider,exclusion and assimilation. Minorities continue to be victims ofracism because they are considered as outsiders, or they do notbelong. Supervisors play a key role in enhancing the exclusion ofminorities from workplaces. Last, it is impossible for ethnicminorities to become assimilated into workplaces because theycontinue to be referred to by their race.
Dugan E, 2014, Britain’s hidden racism: Workplace inequality hasgrown in the last decade, Independent. Retrieved from:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britains-hidden-racism-workplace-inequality-has-grown-in-the-last-decade-9898930.html
Haughton J, 2015, How to spot racism in the workplace, CharteredManagement Institute. Retrieved from:http://www.managers.org.uk/insights/news/2015/august/how-to-spot-racism-in-the-workplace
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Lobosco K, 2015, McDonald’s sued over claims of racism, CNNMoney. Retrievedfrom: http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/22/news/companies/mcdonalds-lawsuit-racism/
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