And workforce exclusion is not just a function of hiring decisions. Minorities often find themselves excluded from “in-groups” constituent of their workforces, solely because of their minority identities. Take a look around the lunchroom at your workplace. Is it segregated? Think about the people decision-makers in your workplace socialize with, choose as neighbors, or otherwise commune with after work. (If you are employed in the legal field are you blushing yet?)
Social Scientists and other academics have done good and important work documenting and describing the phenomenon of Social Exclusion. For example, Social Identity Theory offers a relatively robust rubric for understanding how and why people tend to form groups with others who share even arbitrarily preferred identities, excluding those who do not, thereby reinforcing the perceived validity of their preferences, in a kind of self-congratulatory, in-group feedback loop.
Unfortunately for minorities, this means that even if a person clears the hurdle of the hiring desk and makes it into a workforce, the person will often still suffer social exclusion from in-groups empowered to determine the trajectory their careers.
Now if you are thinking that this is all tremendously unfair, I agree. You should also know that the social exclusion of minorities in the workplace is really nothing more than discrimination – a quieter form of bullying.
Now with whom will you sit in the lunchroom today?
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