The changing face of racism?

Feb 18 2009 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Is racism in the workplace less of an issue today than it was twenty or thirty years ago? To be perfectly blunt about, I'm not sure that any white male is capable of answering that question.

That's why a recent interview in Computerworld with Earl Pace (founder of the Black Data Processing Associates), who is well qualified to speak to racism in the white-collar world, is so compelling. As he puts it, racism isn't less of a problem, just more of a subtle or sophisticated one.

This is an interesting stance to take on an age-old problem, and one that I would agree with. What it particularly interesting in the interview is how Mr. Pace takes the position that it's not realistic for African-American IT engineers to simply be "IT engineers" instead of "black IT engineers." What makes me ponder here is this: who exactly is hung up on race in the workplace then? I'm going to have to guess that it likely isn't black people.

If you've looked at the byline to this post, you likely noticed my last name (or perhaps you didn't). As a tech professional with some Hispanic background, I can assure you that it's usually not me that will apply the "Hispanic engineer" moniker, but rather others who graciously do it for me.

The point is this: most of us who don't necessarily fit into the mold of the majority in the workplace don't see ourselves as set apart from the rest of the crowd. We see ourselves as IT engineers; perhaps it's time for others to let us be IT engineers. Not everyone has the stomach to stand up to such issues and call a spade a spade when it's necessary. For those who can or do, Mr. Pace is a very good model to follow with respect to advancing one's career without having to advance a cause.


Older Comments

If I wrote an article with the summary paragraph as follows, it'd never get published (online or off).

'Is racism in the workplace less of an issue today than it was twenty or thirty years ago? To be perfectly blunt about, I'm not sure that any black female is capable of answering that question.'

Double standard??!


I agree with your statement and it is true. Racism is the biggest factor to destroy the work environment inside the office. It retards the progress of the company as well as person too. It must be ignored and there should be strict rules to avoid it.

charles usa

Racism in the workplace still exist. I am an Engineer and I do something better than everybody else, the feedback I get is that we have to do it better next time, and my boss is always praying for me to fail. I get very good feedbacks from people that are higher up than my boss, but it looks like that my boss wishes that it did not happen


I have a friend who worked for a Paper Distributor in Philadelphia, PA, where one of the owners who is Italian fowarded an e-mail that she had received from her employee, who is Jewish and this e-mail was a racist e-mail towards Muslims which talked about how all Muslim people need to go back to the Middle East and leave America and how all Muslims are terrorist. This particular owner responded to the e-mail by fowarding it to other employees within the company which said to continue to foward if 'you the reader' agreed with the message. How can an owner morally do this and not think about the customers of theirs who may be Muslim or of the Islamic religion? Also this company has a retail store in a urban area of the city where African American shop at who are of the Islamic religion. If you knew about this companies racist views, would you support this company and their efforts to make profits off of the Muslim community? Would you work for this company knowing how they feel about Muslims and their religion and who allow their employee's to send racial e-mail? As far as I know, no one involved with the e-mail distribution received any kind of discipline for this incident. Their Human Resouce Manager did not think it was necessary. My friend eventually quit her job there because of this companies lack of response and lack of discipline toward racism in the workplace and discrimination towards people in general who are not of there skin color.

friend of someone who experience racism in the workplace