In fact, the research cited here finds relatively few women and minorities in the positions most likely to lead to the top -- the "pipeline." The critical career path for senior management positions requires taking on responsibilities most directly related to the corporate bottom line." (Dol.gov) Future promotions to the next job level through regular promotions are difficult to attain.
This issue has become a major concern that Human Resource professionals will have to address more and more often as globalization demands a more diverse labor force. The NAACP and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) each point out that blacks and other minorities who have been properly educated and are properly qualified are having less difficulty finding well paying white collar positions, but they then realize that those jobs are heavy with 'glass ceilings.' Cure all diversity training initiatives by desperate Human Resource departments have not succeeded in dealing with the underlying racial discrimination. Ironically, racial discrimination claims filed by minorities statistically have been consistently dropping over the course of the past few decades. However, specifically associated claims for racial discrimination in regard to promotion have been growing over the same period of time. Although diversity related initiatives address racial sensitivity issues, they do not in most cases address racial discrimination regarding promotion or advancement.
These are not new twentieth or twenty First century problems W.E.B. Du Bois's Free Press way back in 1903 made an announcement to the people and the souls of the 'colored folk' when he wrote "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the Color Line." (Ashton) Throughout the nineteenth century, the topics of slavery and race superiority were a big enough problem for the state that it led to the bloodiest war ever fought here on American soil. The war was actually a legal attempt to correct a blatant wrong and there have been many attempts to legally control the color line since. Consider the three-fifths rule of our Constitution, slave trade bans, limits on the expansion of slavery, the Fugitive Slave Act, Emancipation, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the civil-rights revolution. Apparently all have failed. Although we now have our first black president, the number of blacks on the boards of Fortune 500 companies is still a clear indication that our nation has a long way to go. "African-American, American Indian, and Hispanic-American men believe that within their groups not enough individuals are earning the degrees that business needs. On the other hand, they also perceive that even those who have these credentials face brick, opaque, and thick glass ceilings that block their advancement to senior level decision making positions. A survey of senior level male managers in Fortune 1000 industrial and Fortune 500 service industries shows that almost 97% are white, 0.6 are African-American, 0.3% are Asian, and 0.4% are Hispanic." (Dol.gov)
As demonstrated by the new power brokers, there are many examples of African-Americans and other minorities that have crossed the barrier we understand as the color line, however, the majority of black Americans and other minorities may never even come near the magic boarder. Society has and will continue to change. "Demographic experts say recent population shifts indicate that by the year 2030 whites will be a minority in the United States. Concomitant with this alteration of racial dominion is the matter of spatial density… 'urban areas will hold half of all people by the year 2000,' and that by 2020, '3.6 billion people will inhabit urban areas while 3 billion will remain in rural areas." (Smith)
When we talk about minorities advancing, are we only talking about black and Hispanic-Americans? Anti-immigrant racism is just as big a problem in the advancement of national diversity acceptance and greater representation by minorities in mid and upper levels of business and political managerial org charts. "Fortune 500 companies are white; 95 to 97% are male. In Fortune 2000 industrial and service companies, 5% of senior managers are women -- and of that 5%, virtually all are white." (Dol.gov)
Be it in the work place or in general social settings, white America continues to discriminate. "The color line concludes that, nearly 120 years after the Chinese Exclusion Act, immigration policy continues to reflect racial bias. The report points to a disturbing pattern or racism visible in the application of U.S. immigration laws, and concludes that those who are African, Asian, Latino, or Caribbean are more often detained, deported, and denied legal status and protections. In particular, the U.S. government has implemented a program of anti-immigrant legislation that justifies racial discrimination against immigrants, both by law enforcement officials and civilians. The climate of racial hostility towards immigrants is fostered by laws and practices that effectively tolerate racial discrimination in the workplace, in civil society, in schools, in access to social services, and in access to legal protections." (Duke)
Data extracted on: November 20, 2009 Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
After the devastating attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, immigrants of Middle Eastern decent and many who worshipped as Muslims were suddenly stereotyped and became regular victims of what the black community considered to be racial profiling. Targets of racism expanded after 911 in the same way that occurred to Americans of German, Japanese and Italian decent during World War II and specifically following the Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese. The United States and America have practiced situational discrimination for hundreds of years. "The Gulf War intensified anti-Arab hostility in the United States. Before the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, ADC had recorded five anti-Arab hate crimes for the year. Immediately after the invasion, from August 2, 1990 until February 2, 1991, ADC recorded 86 incidents." (Akram, 2002) Americans under fire often resort to racial profiling, discrimination and isolationism. Minorities traveling on New Jersey highways were very well aware of law enforcement incorporating regular harassment stops on Latinos, blacks and now those of Middle Eastern decent. In related escalations, hate crimes also increased against immigrants of color under the Bush administration but continue under the current administration.
It appears that the white community demonstrated xenophobic motivations after 911 under the Bush administration, but electing a black president has not redirected the national leadership in regard to racist polices. The color line has historically promoted racism and new immigrants of color may now understand the plight of African-Americans a little more clearly. "Immigrants, and those perceived as immigrants due to their race, continue to suffer from employment discrimination. Legislative provisions written to safeguard workers, who appear "foreign" from discrimination, remain unenforced. Immigrant workers also remain vulnerable to workplace abuse and exploitation, and often face greater challenges in attempting to fight for fair working conditions." (Smith) The Latino population has become the new largest minority group as of the latest complete census. "Heightened military and law enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border have escalated human rights abuses of migrants and people of color in the Southwest and other regions of the United States." (Smith) Those considered immigrants or refugees will continue to endure unfair treatment in our criminal systems.
Is President Obama Correct?
Except for the first family, being a minority has many disadvantages including being a social outcast. "This social dynamic result in events being in chaos, with those excluded lacking information about correct means and channels unless they make extraordinary efforts to overcome these barriers. The logic of this Whiteness versus 'lesser than' practice is used to control who gets what and who is automatically overlooked or denigrated. Given that the Whiteness or lesser-than logic is so ingrained in the social cognitions driving behavior, promoting equal opportunity for being included is at the core of the emerging discourse on inclusion. Racism is perniciously perpetuated through discourse practices that include formal and informal policies, verbal, nonverbal, and written practices, what is said, and especially what is not said or practiced." (Lee) Throughout history, the only way to overcome this stigma has been education. The process of educating particular groups in a society has been one successful solution for raising a particular group out of poverty and also establishing new economic opportunities.
In other words, a viable solution for eliminating the color line is to better educate the minority groups that are below it as well as teaching new understanding of diversity to those in the majority above it. A good example of education creating opportunity is how, in the late 1990's, college educated black women began to chip away at the income gap of their white counterparts based on past U.S. Census Bureau reports. Obviously there is still room for improvement. "Considerable gaps remain between whites and blacks, the report showed. The differences sometimes narrow as education and family stability increase. The median income of all black families ($25,970) was only 58% of that of all white families ($45,020). But married-couple black families in which both husband and wife were wage earners took in 84% of the income of similar white…