Racial Discrimination at the Workplace - Experiences of Micro-Assault, Micro-Insult, and Micro-Invalidation, and how These Affected Employee's Sense of Self-Esteem – Essay Example

Cultural Interview I interviewed a black woman, Martha, who worked in a cell phone company. She worked in a workplace with a diverse personnel belonging to a myriad of ethnic groups and races; however, whites were in majority. Martha shared with me her experiences regarding the racial discrimination she had to face at the workplace. She also shared her counseling experiences with a counselor who belonged to the white race.
Martha told that she had to face discriminatory attitude in every walk of life, especially in the workplace, as compared to white women in the industrialized countries. She told that no matter how modern and liberal the society had become, people still had not been able to come out of the so-called pride and prejudice system regarding gender and race. According to her, white men were given high level job positions in her workplace; while, employees of Color, and especially women of another race or other underrepresented minority groups, were given low level positions, due to which there often arose interpersonal conflicts and the overall organizational culture got affected. Complaints by women of Color regarding discrimination were not even heard. Due to this fact, there were a lot of discrimination cases at her workplace that went unidentified, because the victims were always sure that they would not be given an ear and their problem would never be solved. The reason for this was that the offender was always someone who was at a higher job level, or was of the other race.
Martha started seeing a white counselor when she thought that she could no longer bear the racial attacks upon her anymore. To her dismay, she had to bear micro-aggression from the counselor, since he also belonged to the white race. Being the opposite gender added fuel to fire. Micro-aggression encompasses discriminations that people do intentionally or unintentionally to insult or humiliate the people of color (Sue et al., 2007). The counselor preferred to give appointments to white people, and treated Martha as a second class citizen. Martha was unable to understand what her fault was in belonging to another race. When counseling a person from this group, I would consider whether the counselor’s own psyche is free of racial bias or not. I believe that it is very important for a counselor to be free of pride and prejudice, when it comes to counseling people of Color (Constantine & Sue, 2006, p. 241).
I found the white counselor-client of color dyad very interesting, as it helped me understand what differences were responsible in restricting the two to communicate with one another effectively. Significant points of interest in the counseling were Martha’s experiences of micro-assault, micro-insult, and micro-invalidation, and how these remained invisible while affecting her sense of self-esteem, especially during counseling. In short, Martha shared with me the fact that society had not been able to come out of racial discrimination, and she had to face racism, not only at her workplace but also when she went to the counselor.
Constantine, S.G., & Sue, D.W. (2006). Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings. USA: John Wiley & Sons, 2006.
Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J. M., Holder, A.M.B., Nadal, K.L., & Marta, E. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life. American Psychologist, 62(4), pp. 271-286.