Adoption Stories from Adopted the Movie - A Feature Film by Barb Lee

January 29, 2008

Why do some people discriminate against their own race?

Filed under: Race and Identity,Racism — Tags: , , — Catherine @ 4:19 pm

From Race In The Workplace:

We’re used to thinking of racial discrimination as something that occurs between people from different racial groups.

But is it possible for a person to engage in racial discrimination against a coworker of his own race? It’s not as common, but it can happen. I recently spoke to the restaurant industry trade publication QSR on this topic.

So, what would possibly cause a person to engage in same-race discrimination?

1. They buy into negative stereotypes about their own race

All of us have been inundated throughout our lives with racist stereotypes perpetuated by the media and other social institutions. It’s impossible not to have internalized some of these racist beliefs — even those about our own racial group.

But some folks have internalized these negative beliefs to a far greater degree than others, turning these beliefs into outright racial self-hatred. These people genuinely believe negative stereotypes about their own race, and this leads them to discriminate against those like themselves.

2. They think it’s a good career move

If you can’t beat’em, join’em, as the cliché goes. In a workplace where people of a certain racial group are already being discriminated against, joining in the discrimination could be seen by some as a way to climb the corporate ladder:

Van Kerckhove says some instigators might also see race-on-race harassment as a way to politically advance themselves in the company, but that racial discrimination—even if it’s inadvertent—has to be present initially.

“That could happen in a workplace where there already is racial discrimination”

2 Responses to “Why do some people discriminate against their own race?”

  1. jayme hansen says:

    First, I want to thank you for making these excellent points and observations about this touchy subject. We hear about discrimination in the work place where someone of color complains about something and the occasional Caucasian person talking about reverse discrimination. When same race discrimination occurs, most people view it as comical or dismiss it as a disagreement between 2 people of the same race/ culture. I have felt and seen alienation between people of the same race and in rare occasion straight out attacks. I believe that same race discrimination has been more prevalent in recent years due to the Americanization and the loss of ethnic identity that is spurred from discrimination and stereo types. The attacker does this to show that they are unlike the race they are attacking albeit it may be their own.

    1. They buy into negative stereotypes about their own race
    Most of us have heard blonde jokes at the office and at the HS gym but in reality we know that the color of a person’s hair has no bearing on how smart they are or their sexual aggressiveness. In correlation, the public often labels all Asians under the same category and non Asians who judge us often have some really stupid ideas of how we are. In stead of thinking of what they say, many non Asians often blurt out very offensive questions and “proven facts

  2. beckie3173 says:

    I agree with just about everything you both say. I just have to add a point that I don’t believe was touched on. Territory. Period. I’ve often felt it and couldn’t put it into words until I was older. Almost a very gutteral, basic competitiveness seems to come out when especially more than one Korean adoptee is in a group of non-adoptees and I’d venture to say I’ve seen this happen more in women than with guys. Has anyone else experienced this?

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