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Race: Still Relevant?

Chandrea's picture

I was interested in Gross' statement about how a white factory worker named Gabe Blum asserted that black men were the most intelligent and honest of workers but didn't have access to more job opportunities simply because of the color of their skin (47). It makes me think about how some people think we actually live in a post-racial society. I find it hard to agree with that idea because of the institutional racism that still exists in our world. It's subtle racism - the policies we maintain in certain instituational settings may not be made purposely to discriminate against a particular group of people, but the outcome is that it does. I volunteer at an organization where I help my clients access social services, and I was helping one of my clients apply for a job at a retail store. The questionnaire on the store applications are unnecessarily tedious and repetitive, but at one point it asked for my client to identify her race. Although it was ultimately her decision whether or not to disclose that information, I still felt annoyed that that was even a question. Why did I have this nagging feeling that if she indicated that she is black, it would be a huge factor in whether or not she would get the job? If a white man were competing with a black man to get a job, who do you imagine would get the job? I acknowledge the fact that other factors are considered when employers look at different applicants but can we really say that race has nothing to do with it? I feel like this situation would have the potential to involve racism, but it's so subtle. I'm not even sure if it's really there.