Improving Race Relations in a Public Service Agency: A Model Workshop Series

By Hudson, J. Blaine; Hines-Hudson, Bonetta M. | Public Personnel Management, Spring 1996 | Go to article overview

Improving Race Relations in a Public Service Agency: A Model Workshop Series


Hudson, J. Blaine, Hines-Hudson, Bonetta M., Public Personnel Management


With a generation or two, the steady natural increase of the African American population, Asian American immigration, and the dramatic increase of the Hispanic population through both births and immigration will change the racial/ethnic "landscape" of the United States (Bureau of the Census, 1991). However, while the United States has always been diverse with respect to race, racial diversity has never meant racial equality - and, as American society becomes increasingly diverse, the persistence of racial equality max undermine both the economic and the political viability of the nation itself.(1)

Although a generation has passed since the end of the "Civil Rights Revolution," individual acts of racial discrimination and structural racism remain barriers to racial equality and racial justice in contemporary America. The American workplace, profit and non-profit, is a primary institutional setting in which problems related to race can and must be identified and addressed.

Review of the Research Literature

Organizations committed to combatting racism and racial discrimination in the workplace must determine the most effective and cost-effective means of addressing these problems. In this context, how race and race relations are conceptualized, the extent to which race relations are considered problematic, and the existence of programs/strategies that can be used effectively to improve race relations - and the degree to which organizational leaders are aware of such programs - are key determinants of how this commitment can be operationalized.

Ironically, a general review of the academic literature on race and ethnicity in modern organizations reveals that little research has been done on these issues.(2) This comparative "lack of interest" has been attributed to the belief on the part of many academicians that race relations were a subject of interest only to African Americans and other people of color, not a societal evil.(3)

Such avoidance of discussion is counterproductive and even dangerous for a variety of reasons. For example, racism in the workplace seems related directly to increasing incidents of violence. However, scapegoating and other manifestations of hostility between racial/ethnic groups can be countered - proactively, if possible - through programs that address and, ideally, improve "intercultural" or "multicultural" awareness, race relations and racial attitudes. Franklin (1991) suggests that such programs must be designed to "...reconstruct the sinews that bind people together...by cultivating an ethos of social regard." Solomon(4) adds that, unless such steps are taken, "...attitudes harden, problems escalate, and resolutions become more difficult."

Rather than deny racial/cultural differences, some organizations have anticipated the consequences of this demographic shift and have chosen to recognize diversity as a source of strength than as a source of weakness. Such organizations have initiated programs designed to challenge stereotypes; to identify and explore group similarities and differences; to reduce competitive tensions by facilitating intergroup communication; to impart a sense of value and empowerment in the pursuit of shared organizational goals; and to improve productivity by ridding the workplace of prejudicial and discriminatory behavior.(5) Through such programs, stereotypes deriving from ignorance can be uncovered, confronted and eliminated. Exchanges of information and perceptions between co-workers (including formal and informal opinion or attitudinal surveys) make the various groups more knowledgeable of one another - as individuals and as groups.

Finally, the shift from the homogenous workforce of the past to the heterogeneous workforce of the future poses major challenges for both workers and managers. To meet those challenges most effectively, diversity programs must begin with senior managers.(6) Once such programs become established on and impact the policy-making and administrative levels, the effective management of diversity can produce measurable benefits for the committed organization or agency. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Improving Race Relations in a Public Service Agency: A Model Workshop Series
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.