What role should racial difference play in the American
workplace? As a nation, we rely on civil rights law to address this
question, and the monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964 seemingly
answered it: race must not be a factor in workplace decisions. In
After Civil Rights, John Skrentny contends that after
decades of mass immigration, many employers, Democratic and
Republican political leaders, and advocates have adopted a new
strategy to manage race and work. Race is now relevant not only in
negative cases of discrimination, but in more positive ways as
well. In today's workplace, employers routinely practice "racial
realism," where they view race as real--as a job qualification.
Many believe employee racial differences, and sometimes immigrant
status, correspond to unique abilities or evoke desirable reactions
from clients or citizens. They also see racial diversity as a way
to increase workplace dynamism. The problem is that when employers
see race as useful for organizational effectiveness, they are often
in violation of civil rights law.
After Civil Rights examines this emerging strategy in a
wide range of employment situations, including the low-skilled
sector, professional and white-collar jobs, and entertainment and
media. In this important book, Skrentny urges us to acknowledge the
racial realism already occurring, and lays out a series of reforms
that, if enacted, would bring the law and lived experience more in
line, yet still remain respectful of the need to protect the civil
rights of all workers.
Subjects: Sociology, Management & Organizational Behavior, Law
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