Comparing and contrasting experiences of people from different backgrounds that include education, gender, age, race, social status, and other variables is essential for understanding the diversity as well as the range of life struggles or successes individuals face. In order to explore this, interviews with two individuals have been conducted: a female African American (Ms. J) aged 35 and an elderly white male aged 68 (Mr. K). The current analysis is focused on the comparison of the experiences of the interviewees and the interviewer to get a deep understanding of other people and their perceptions of life experiences.
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After interviewing Mrs. J, it became evident that she has experienced numerous instances of oppression and discrimination being a black woman. Having a college education, she was unable to find a prestigious job because she married early and had an entire family for which to care. In the area of employment, Mrs. J has not been listened to and considered as a not valuable worker because of her race.
For example, she mentioned that her white male coworker referred to her as “that angry black lady,” which was hurtful to her because such phrases perpetuate both race and gender stereotypes. From my own perspective, I have never experienced discrimination of which Mrs. J has told, which is a positive thing, which requires the understanding of privilege as a variable that affects the lives of many people.
The experiences of Mrs. J suggest that African-American women belong to a vulnerable population since they lack resources and opportunities to exceed in life. As mentioned by Cheeks (2018), navigating race issues in the workplace is a complex and multi-dimensional problem for women of color because they are often misunderstood. The acknowledgment of issues affecting the black community is present in the majority of workplace settings; however, the support for the emotional well-being of such workers is on a low level. Mrs. J said that she always tried not to have an adverse emotional reaction to discrimination; however, there were situations in which she was severely stressed.
Resolving discrimination in the workplace is a matter of both institutions and individuals. Hurtful words addressed to Mrs. J should have been prohibited in the organization in which she works. From the perspective of people, they should educate themselves about the history of racism and discrimination in order to be more sensitive to the issues associated with race problems. With the range of current social issues that are based on race and discrimination, organizations should implement anti-racist policies to protect workers and establish an environment of tolerance.
Mr. K spoke of his life with a positive outlook and said that he has always been respected in his community and thought of as a reliable and honorable man. Being in the military allowed Mr. K to receive numerous privileges and support programs from the government as well as finding a high-earning job after retiring from the army. The stability of Mr. K’s job along with his army past ensured that he was a valuable member of his community and was respected for his contribution.
The interviewee mentioned that when he wore his military uniform on celebrations such as the Fourth of July, he had a lot of people coming up to him and thanking him for his service, which is an extremely positive thing. In the workplace, Mr. K has never experienced discrimination and was highly respected and promoted to higher positions throughout his career.
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The experiences of Mr. K are similar to my personal ones since both of us have never had any issues with racial or any other kind of discrimination. This can be explained by the fact that the interviewee is from a completely white family, which represents the majority in the United States. Mr. K also mentioned that when his daughter was lost at an amusement park, which is a significant event, it took ten minutes for the police to find the girl.
However, the cases of missing black and brown children are left unnoticed and under-investigated (TeamEpicReads, 2018). Therefore, the experience of Mr. K is polarly different from the one reported by Mrs. J, which points to the significant gap in acceptance and support for individuals from different backgrounds, genders, races, and ages.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the background of people plays a defining role in how they are treated in society. The differences that exist between the experiences of two interviewees, Mrs. J and Mr. K, show that the African-American workforce is still undervalued and misunderstood, especially when it comes to women. The challenges that the woman of color interviewed for the paper faces suggest that there should be both individual and institutional efforts implemented to ensure that equal treatment and equal opportunities exist for people of different backgrounds. Problems of African-American women are particularly complex to address in the modern environment because they combine race issues along with gender issues.
Cheeks, M. (2018). How black women describe navigating race and gender in the workplace. Harvard Business Review. Web.
TeamEpicReads. (2018). Why aren’t missing black and brown children a national priority? Web.