The Subtlety of Modern Racial Harassment

To be sure, there are still cases of very blatant racial discrimination and harassment in the workplace. These types of things are illegal, and all workers are supposed to have the same opportunities, but they do happen. 

On the whole, though, this type of racism is much less common than it was 60 years ago. Don’t mistake that with it being gone. A lot of the time, it just means that things are more subtle than they used to be. 

Gaslighting is common

One reason for subtle racial harassment is that people want to gaslight their victims and deny that what they did was wrong. They’re looking for plausible deniability. They understand that what they’re doing is no longer socially acceptable or legally permitted, so they make sure they have a cover story ready. 

For instance, someone at work may make racial jokes at your expense. They do it every day, even when you ask them to stop. It creates a hostile work environment. When you complain to HR, though, the other person has a ready answer: They say that their comments were just a joke. They say you’re taking it too seriously. They may even accuse you of misinterpreting it or blowing it out of proportion. 

Both of you know what really happened. You know that your perspective is valid. But you’re now faced with a situation where that view is being countered, and this can make it more difficult to find a proper resolution. 

What should you do?

Even when it’s subtle, racial discrimination and harassment are both illegal. You need to know what legal options you have to protect your rights. If you’ve faced racial discrimination at work, you can fight back. An attorney can help you learn more. 


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