Discrimination: Black, White and everything in-between

Depending on your background, what you consider to be racism may vary. You might think it's your skin color that makes it harder for you to find a good job or housing, or you may believe that you're lucky to be to color you are.

Scientifically speaking, skin color and heritage has little to do with a person's abilities or even his or her experiences in life. In the United States, there are dozens of skin colors and racial profiles most commonly grouped into Black Americans, Caucasian Americans and Latinos.

What is racism?

Racism exists when someone gets treated differently because of his or her perceived race. This may be implied by the color of a person's skin, his or her hair texture or other characteristics associated with race. The reality is that racism is still prevalent throughout the country, and it isn't just White-on-Black racism or discrimination.

Can Caucasians face discrimination?

Yes, just as anyone of any other race could face discrimination, Caucasians can, too. Having a paler skin tone doesn't guarantee a life free of racism or discrimination. For example, a single pale-skinned person in a neighborhood of dark-skinned people could be singled out for being different, just as the reverse is possible.

What can you do if you face discrimination because of your race?

No matter who you are, you deserve to earn your living in a workplace without racial discrimination. It's not appropriate to name-call because of a person's race or to discriminate because of his or her perceived heritage. In fact, the law forbids employers from discriminating against applicants or employees because of their race or color. They may not consider these characteristics when hiring, firing, promoting, training or participating in other parts of the job or employment process. Title VII also makes it illegal to discriminate because of assumptions based on race. For example, discriminating against a White person because "they are all racist," or against a Black person because "they are all uneducated," violates the law in the same way as discriminating due to skin color or physical features.

No two racism or discrimination cases are the same. They affect all people, White, Black, Latino, Asian and others. It's not fair for employers to discriminate, and no one should have to deal with coworkers who harass or discriminate against them. Workplaces are supposed to be safe environments, but they can only be safe if people report trouble on the job.

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