This discrimination that is based on race, gender, or ethnicity has been completely outlawed in various legal acts and regulations. However, there are many situations suggesting that prejudicial attitudes exist at the unofficial level. They often manifest themselves in the work of businesses, especially the decisions that are taken by employees. In particular, one can refer to the case of Reginald Pitts. This African American is an HR manager in the company GAF Materials (Bell 54).
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He was supposed to buy many gift cards for the employees of this enterprise, and he decided to do it in Wal-Mart. These purchases cost $ 13 000. In turn, this person was arrested on suspicion of giving a forged check to the shop assistant (Bell 54). The cashier did not want to process the transaction. However, the checks offered by other customers did not cause any concern, even though these buyers also wanted to spend large sums of money. Thus, Reginald Pitts came to the conclusion that the employees of Wall-Mart did not trust him only because he was a black person. Thus, one can say that prejudices can still have a substantial impact on the decisions of many people.
The manager, who was involved in this incident, said that he did “what he had to do” (Bell 54). This statement can be interpreted in several ways. In particular, it can imply that there are some tacit or unwritten rules according to which an employee is obliged to pay more attention to the checks given by African-American customers. In particular, this worker should focus on the checks that exceed a certain amount of money, such as $10 000.
So, in this case, one should concentrate on the policies adopted by the management of this supermarket. At the same time, this conflict can be explained by the personal convictions of this manager and his biases against African Americans. For instance, this person could be convinced that blacks were more likely to commit crimes. Moreover, he did not believe that Reginald Pitts could be a representative of a local company. Therefore, he assumed that the checks offered by this customer could be forged.
It should be noted that African-American employees of this supermarket informed Reginald Pitts that other checks were processed without any problems. By doing so, they could provoke retaliation. There are several reasons why these people attracted Reginald Pitts’ attention to these malpractices. One can assume that they regularly observe racial discrimination in the past. Therefore, they could no longer tolerate this behavior of managers and co-workers. Moreover, they could assume that senior executives would be more willing to focus on the needs of affluent clients such as Reginald Pitts.
Overall, one can argue that the employees of this supermarket are affected by the so-called aversive racism. In other words, they try to avoid interactions with racial minorities. For instance, they may be unwilling to serve the needs of black clients, especially if they give checks for large sums of money. In their opinion, this strategy can help them reduce potential risks such as monetary losses. In this case, it is also possible to mention the social identity theory. It implies that people crave a sense of belonging to a certain group that can be marked by racial boundaries (Herman and Fatima 38). As a result, they can discriminate against people who do not belong to this group (Herman and Fatima 38). For instance, they can be prejudiced against African Americans.
Apart from that, one should refer to the social categorization theory. According to this framework, individuals tend to divide other people into different groups. This classification can be based on various criteria, such as gender, nationality, age, ethnicity, or race. Moreover, a person can assume that the representatives of certain groups have some inherent characteristics, such as the willingness to violate the law (Hepburn 43). Very often, black people become the victims of such stereotypes. In turn, managers should eliminate such behaviors if they want to avoid any conflicts with clients who will not tolerate any forms of discrimination.
One should note that the experiences of Reginald Pitts are familiar to the representatives of the so-called non-dominant groups. As a rule, this term is applied to describe those individuals whose social and political power is very limited. They can be victimized in several ways. For instance, they are often believed to act in a deviant way. Sometimes, they often encounter the distrust of other people.
Certainly, one should not overlook the role of the fundamental attribution error. In particular, people may believe that the traits and behavior of an individual can be attributed only to one factor, such as race. Nevertheless, this perception can make individuals overlook the complexities of people’s moral principles, worldviews, and values. As a rule, they believe that the actions of individuals are determined by the factors that are outside their control. In many cases, they concentrate on race and ethnic background.
Overall, the attitudes of employees could have influenced their treatment of many African-American buyers. In particular, they could regard them as a potential threat. However, they were not viewed as valued customers who could substantially increase the revenues of the supermarket. It is possible that this store incurred considerable losses, but they went unnoticed because some clients did not complain of such practices.
Several methods can minimize the risk of such events in the future. It is necessary to develop step-by-step instructions that employees should follow. At first, the managers should be expected to examine the check offered by clients. The race or ethnicity of buyers should be irrelevant to them. If a customer wants to spend a large sum of money, this person should be warned that this transaction will take more time.
However, it is not permissible to call police officers if there is no tangible evidence indicating fraud or forgery. Additionally, management should stress the idea that such discriminatory practices can lead to greater losses. For instance, a wealthy client, who has faced discriminatory attitudes, may refuse to use the services of this organization. So, in the long term, the company can be deprived of considerable revenues that can be much greater than $ 13 000. It is one of the pitfalls that should be avoided.
This case indicates that racial discrimination continues to affect the attitudes of many people. Such situations require the attention of business administrators who need to refute the stereotypes that can be accepted by many individuals. This strategy is essential for attracting customers and minimizing potential losses. This goal can be achieved by providing additional training to workers. These people should know how to treat buyers in a respectful way.
Bell, Myrtle. Diversity in Organizations, New York: Cengage Learning, 2011, Print.
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Hepburn, Alexa. An Introduction to Critical Social Psychology, New York: SAGE, 2003. Print.
Herman, Casakin, and Bernardo Fatima. The Role of Place Identity in the Perception, Understanding, and Design of Built Environments, New York: Bentham Science Publishers, 2012. Print.