ADMS 3450 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Human Capital, Reverse Discrimination, Physical Attractiveness
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Whites/European Americans: Chapter 7
HISTORY OF WHITES IN THE UNITED STATES:
•In the past, a common complaint about such courses was that they effectively and, at times,
purposely excluded people of color or represented them in a derogatory manner.
•White ethnic groups faced considerable overt discrimination and exclusion in their early years in the United
•Clashes between Irish, German, Polish, and Italian immigrants, conflicts over work, and residential
segregation were common. There was a pecking order for Whites, with the earliest immigrants, the
English, at the top, followed by Germans, Irish, Italians, and Poles.
•The English viewed later White immigrants as dirty, immoral, unintelligent, and dishonest (terms
quite similar to those used for Blacks and immigrants of color), and sought to avoid interacting with
them at work and in the home.
•White ethnic groups encouraged and capitalized on the fear and antipathy of high-status Whites
toward Blacks, using it to "become insiders, or Americans, by claiming their membership as Whites"
designating Blacks as the "other."
The Past Transiency and Current Meaning of "Race" for Whites:
•White ethnic groups were segregated from one another; certain jobs were reserved for members of one
ethnic group and other jobs for other groups. Italians were perceived as likely to engage in criminal activity,
a stereotype that remains to some extent (e.g., mobsters).
•Irish Catholics, many of whom had fled Ireland in the face of religious persecution, faced open hostility and
exclusion. In response, they formed social, political, and labor organizations to resist discrimination and
played key roles in the formation of the American Federation of Labor.
•Brodkin suggests that White ethnic groups "became White" in several ways: through overt actions of
the government, their own recognition that the way to become American was to assert their
Whiteness (in contrast to Blacks), intermarriage with Whites from other groups that diluted the
group differences, and through the invisibility of their ethnicity.
•Distinctions between native and immigrant Whites were no longer recorded, allowing immigrants to
become further incorporated into the "White" category, although some overt discrimination against certain
ethnic groups remained.
•One advantage is the ability of Whites to behave badly without such behavior being attributed to all Whites.
Because Whites are the dominant and majority group, they are less likely to be viewed as homogeneous
(e.g., in-group heterogeneity and out-group homogeneity.
History of Whites as Allies of Diversity:
•Whites have participated in the quest for equality for Blacks, American Indians, Latinos, and Asians--as
abolitionists, hosts, and workers in the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves, participants in boycotts,
marches, and sit-ins, and as educators and researchers.
•Whites worked (and some- times died) along with people of color. Despite their differences with Black
women activists, White female suffragists often pursued rights for Blacks along with women's rights to
•Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of race and national origin and thus is applicable to Whites.
Indeed, Title VII is used considerably less by Whites than by people of color, simply because Whites are far
less likely to be targeted by intentional employment discrimination (e.g., disparate treatment).
•Although Whites are often underrepresented in jobs primarily occupied by people of color, such jobs are
likely to be lower paid and less desirable than those commonly performed by Whites.
Race Discrimination against Whites:
•The EEOC concluded that a White complainant was subjected to racial harassment over a period of two
years by both managers and coworkers who used various racially derogatory terms when referring to
complainant. Evidence showed that management generally condoned racially related comments made by
African American super- visors and coworkers who frequently voiced a "Black versus White" mentality at
the work place.
•Black Health Technicians refused to comply with the White nurse's orders while following the orders of
African American nurses; that one Health Technician told complainant that she would not take orders from
a White nurse; and that Technicians screamed, banged on doors, and blocked complainant's exit when
complainant asked for assistance.
Discrimination against Whites in Favor of Hispanics:
•Alleging that it had fired a White, non-Hispanic meat cutter based on his race and national origin and
replaced him with a less-qualified Hispanic employee.
Termination of Whites for Refusing to Comply with Discrimination against Minorities:
•Virginia because she complained about race discrimi- nation. The DM, a White female, e-mailed
Defendant's Chief Operating Officer in expressing her concerns about the exclusion of African Americans
and other racial minorities from management positions.
•Discrimination against members of one group is commonly accompanied by discrimination against
members of other groups, including Whites, in some cases.
•The White population is declining as a percent- age of the total as a result of immigration and higher birth
rates among people of color.
•According to the Census Bureau, the term White refers to those whose origins were any of the original
peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa and includes those who labeled themselves Irish,
German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab, and Polish, among others.
EDUCATION, EARNINGS, AND EMPLOYMENT:
•Average educational levels of Whites are higher than those of Blacks and Hispanics but generally lower
than those of Asians.
•Whites were less likely to be laid off than non-Whites, and Asians were less likely to be laid off than
Blacks and Hispanics. 36 These differences persisted even after controlling for differences in business unit,
occupation, and job level, and individuals' performance rating and tenure.
•Income differences between White men and White women reveal gender-based disparities that are
present across racial and ethnic groups but that are exaggerated because White men's incomes are
generally higher than the incomes of minority men.
•Contributing to the male/female earnings gap is the fact that White women work fewer hours even when
working full-time and have shorter tenure than White men
RESEARCH ON WHITES AND DIVERSITY:
•Whites are the numerical majority and so race differences in experiences, outcomes, and opportunities were
not generally considered by most researchers for a long time.
•Most of this research has focused on people of color, using Whites as the "norm" and comparing minorities
to Whites. Researchers have reported differences between Whites and minorities in terms of income,
promotions, performance evaluations, training, opportunities for mentoring, and job- related attitudes (e.g.,
job satisfaction, attitudes toward affirmative action programs, and organizational commitment).
Similarities and Differences in the Experiences of White Women and Men:
•Race and sex affect one's opportunities, experiences, and outcomes in organizations. Patriarchal
systems disadvantage White women as they do other women.
•Male immigrants of color were denied citizenship and White women experienced differential treatment as
•White women were unable to own property, enter into contracts, or make decisions about themselves or, if
married, about their children. Although they were White, they were also women and subject to patriarchal
systems and ideals.
•Because White women generally marry White men, married White women's current economic status
benefits from White men's higher earnings and occupational status, making their individual
disadvantages less obvious than those of women of color.
•When viewed as individuals, how- ever, White women's earnings and occupational status indicate
similarities between their experiences and those of other non-dominant groups.