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The Unique Experiences of People From Different Races and Age Groups

Personal and professional experiences of each person are shaped not only by their behavior but also by their inherent traits and the surrounding environment. Thus, people from different age categories, races, or genders may encounter various problems during their everyday lives. Two people were interviewed for this paper – a 38-year-old man who immigrated to the United States from Iraq about seven years ago and a 21-year-old Latina woman. The purpose of the conducted interviews was to see the unique experiences of people from different races and age groups about workplace discrimination and the impact of significant historical events.

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Experiences

The life stories of the interviewed persons vary significantly from one another and my (the interviewer) personal experience. However, we were also able to find some commonalities in our described events. The first interviewee was a man who described himself as Arab, Iraqi, and Muslim – the three adjectives that helped him to define his race, ethnicity, and religion. He finished a medical college in Iraq, working as a physician before immigrating to the United States. Currently, he also works at a medical organization, although he had struggled to get his degree recognized in the US. Moreover, his job search also had many issues, and the man believed that his “non-white” sounding name had an impact on that. This connection between negative public responses and foreign-sounding names is discussed in a study by Giulietti, Tonin, and Vlassopoulos (2019), who find that this issue is common in the US.

Discussing the changes in racial tensions, we agreed that we both encountered hostile responses in the workplace from some individuals. His experience of workplace discrimination was strongly affected by the recent immigration ban and rising immigration levels from non-Western countries to North America (Diamond & Almasy, 2017). The interviewee noted that, during the introduction of the ban and its media coverage, he became frightened of the idea that he would be deported as well, despite being a legal citizen of the US. The man stated that this significant event greatly affected how he communicated with colleagues and patients. However, he recalled that most of his current team did not change their attitude, although some workers would allow themselves a rude remark about his religious practices, his accent, or his appearance. The interviewee reported feeling saddened by the increasing negativity and thinking that he was powerless due to the strong effect of the regional conflict. He did not react in the situation but reported some of the worst comments to higher officials.

The second interviewee’s experience was influenced by a combination of her traits – she was a young Latina woman who had entered the workforce after finishing high school. At the moment of the conversation, she worked full-time at a waitress at a local café and part-time as a secretary at a small law firm. Her main goal was to earn enough money to continue her education and to gain independence. The interviewee experienced significant discrimination when trying to find a job. She said that her young age and a lack of experience or higher education limited her choice of vacancies and led to many unsuccessful applications or job interviews. We agreed that our ethnicity also played a prominent role in this process – during conversations with human resources, we were asked about our immigration status, place of birth, and similar invasive questions.

Additionally, the young woman described the amount of sexual harassment and pressure from older workers that discouraged her from reporting any of the instances to the management. There is evidence of a positive correlation between ethnic discrimination, sexual harassment, and women’s attitude towards reporting (Halim, Moy, & Yoshikawa, 2017; Nelson, Sendroiu, Dinovitzer, & Dawe, 2019). Young female workers may be worried about their careers, choosing to treat discriminatory actions as a part of the environment. However, older women may also have similar fears, which is indicative of gender as a prevalent factor.

Commonalities and Resolution

The shared experienced between the interviewees and me reveal the effect of public discourse and international events on individual lives. Such decisions of the administration as the immigrant ban affected not only people wishing to enter the country but also its citizens of many years or even US-born individuals. Furthermore, it is clear that people of color can find similarities in their workplace discrimination stories – the fear of losing one’s position, helplessness, and the inability to respond to comments. Bias is a part of many industries, and women and non-white persons experience it often.

As for ways to mediate or resolve conflicts, both interviewees noted that a significant shift in people’s perceptions had to happen to change the situation in the long term. The institutions and organizations have to educate employees and foster a culture of non-discrimination, providing secure channels for reporting. Moreover, it is vital to address the public opinion on events and discuss them to dispel unfounded fears.

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Conclusion

Overall, this experience has demonstrated the effect that people’s perceptions and biases have regarding people’s inherent characteristics. Non-white ethnicity is a frequent basis for discrimination, which substantially impacts people’s job opportunities as well as their wellbeing. Young age is a surprising trait that also leads to negative experiences as it is perceived as a lack of knowledge and effort. Both interviewees reported being affected by recent events surrounding immigration, which shows the importance of such decisions for both citizens and non-citizens.

References

Diamond, J., & Almasy, S. (2017). Trump’s immigration ban sends shockwaves. CNN Politics. Web.

Giulietti, C., Tonin, M., & Vlassopoulos, M. (2019). Racial discrimination in local public services: A field experiment in the United States. Journal of the European Economic Association, 17(1), 165-204.

Halim, M. L., Moy, K. H., & Yoshikawa, H. (2017). Perceived ethnic and language-based discrimination and Latina immigrant women’s health. Journal of Health Psychology, 22(1), 68-78.

Nelson, R. L., Sendroiu, I., Dinovitzer, R., & Dawe, M. (2019). Perceiving discrimination: Race, gender, and sexual orientation in the legal workplace. Law & Social Inquiry, 44(4), 1051-1082.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, August 15). The Unique Experiences of People From Different Races and Age Groups. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-unique-experiences-of-people-from-different-races-and-age-groups/

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StudyCorgi. "The Unique Experiences of People From Different Races and Age Groups." August 15, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-unique-experiences-of-people-from-different-races-and-age-groups/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Unique Experiences of People From Different Races and Age Groups." August 15, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-unique-experiences-of-people-from-different-races-and-age-groups/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Unique Experiences of People From Different Races and Age Groups'. 15 August.

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